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The Big House Museum Preserves the Allman Brothers Band's Legacy

By S. Mathur

The Allman Brothers Band are one of the legendary bands of the 1970s and the founders of a style that came to be known as Southern Rock. The Big House was where they lived and practiced in the early years from 1970-73.

It is now a museum and Maggie Johnson, Office Manager and Director of Marketing, explains its significance: "The Big House was the base of operations for The Allman Brothers Band; they began and ended tours here, did business here, but also made the house a loving and welcoming environment for everyone involved with the band."

The Allman Brothers Band and their label, Capricorn Records, began a musical revolution "and Macon was at the start of it all," says Johnson. The Big House was where they composed many of their big hits like 'Please Call Home,' 'Blue Sky,' and 'Ramblin' Man.' The band had a unique sound because their original lineup included two lead guitarists, two drummers, a bass player, and a keyboard/organ player, says Johnson: "Most bands had never seen this type of combination and it proved to be very influential in the music world." Duane Allman is considered one of the greatest guitar players of all time, along with Jimi Hendrix and Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin.

In fact, four of the guitarists from the band - Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks - are among the 100 Greatest Guitarists of all time picked by Rolling Stone. The list of achievements and honors is long, and spans four decades. In 2012 they were awarded a Lifetime Achievement Grammy. In the same year, they received the key to the Beacon Theatre in New York City. These reflect the group's place in rock history and in the hearts of music lovers.

The Allman Brothers Band is also significant because of their social values, says Johnson, and they are "known for being an important part of southern integration. Although segregation was no more in the early 70s, racial tension was still high, especially in the south.

The Allman Brothers made statements through their music with an integrated band and music that was influenced by black artists. The band was chastised by southerners who did not believe in integration. Even though they had struggles, The Allman Brothers Band was still able to persevere and lead people to a sense of acceptance of their brothers and sisters of different races through their music."

Museum exhibits include memorabilia, photographs, awards and personal items belonging to band members. Some of the rooms - bedrooms, a living room, the kitchen - are maintained to show how they appeared when they were in use.

The gift shop is worth a visit, and has some historic pictures of the band members as well as t-shirts with the famous Eat a Peach logo. The Museum space can be rented for special events. The spacious backyard is surrounded by shade trees and is the perfect space for parties, concerts, wedding receptions, and corporate events.

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