Ramblin’ Man: My Incredible Photographic Journey with the Allman Brothers

Kirk West had unprecedented access to the legendary band for over 40 years

Photographer Kirk West has spent a lifetime documenting the Allman Brothers Band. From his start as “a little hippie boy with a Nikon” in 1973 to shooting their final performance in 2014 at New York’s Beacon Theatre, West’s forty-one year relationship with the band included stints as a tour manager. Through it all, he captured intimate, behind-the-scenes moments of the historic band in all of its incarnations.

With a new 300+ page hardcover volume, Les Bres: Kirk West’s Photographic Journey with The Brothers, he pulls back the curtain on over 900 images, many of which have never been published. West was gracious enough to provide Cuepoint a small taste of what his collection has to offer, emailed straight from the heart, with commentary for each photo.

Photographs and Captions By Kirk West

Taken in April of ’74, Gregg came through Chicago with his solo band trying to find his groove. I was just a little hippie boy with a Nikon trying to do the same… I think we both found our groove!
Gregg at Alpine Valley, Wisconsin in 1980. One of his favorite venues.
Dikey Betts hittin’ the note, Alpine Valley 1980
Elvin Bishop telling Dickey to stay in time at an after party. Most folks didn’t get in Dickey’s face like this, but Elvin got lucky, I’d say.
Dan Aykroyd and Dickey at the old Lone Star Café in NYC. It was big fun with the funny big guy. As they say, the blues ain’t nuthin’ but a good man feelin’ bad!
Gregg Allman portrait taken at 3 in the morning in the back of his bus in Highland, Indiana. In 1986, the road was hard playing small clubs with shitty catering, but happy crowds made up for it… most nights.
Dickey and Gregg backstage tuning up at Madison Square Garden for Halloween in 1986.
Warren Haynes & Dickey Betts became an amazing duo rivaling the original pair of string pulls of Duane and Dickey. This pair revitalized the Brothers and set the stage for the next 25 years.
The Beacon Theatre, 75th &Broadway. This was the Allman Brothers home in New York City. They sold out 238 shows in 25 years, it became the Fillmore East of this era. The Brothers at the Beacon was the main event for ABB fans. A must see… must experience event every time!
Gregg with producer Tom Dowd at Criteria Studios in Miami recording ‘Seven Turns’ in February 1990. This was the ABB’s first record in 8 years… it was a hit!
Gregg and friends riding Harleys through the Badlands of South Dakota on a day off in 1990.
Dickey, Butch and Gregg in a hotel room rehearsing for MTV Unplugged in Atlanta., 1990.
Dickey Betts photo shoot for an Alvarez Guitars ad at the Beacon in March of ’93.
Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony at the Waldorf Astoria, NYC, January 1995. Dickey Betts says: “I’m proud to be in New York City tonight, being inducted… ’cause the last time I was in town, I was being indicted!
Derek Trucks played with the band from 1999 until the final notes in October 2014. Derek is most likely the most amazing guitarist of this century. He and Warren have permanently solidified the ABB reputation for all time. Duane and Dickey opened that door while Derek and Warren closed it!
When the Brothers played Red Rocks, they were always taking their music to the heavens up there. It’s a beautiful place for this powerful music.
The End of the Line. The final moments of a 45 year career end at the Beacon Theatre in New York City on October 29th, 2014. Thanks!

Photo provided by Insight Editions from Les Brers: Kirk West’s Photographic Journey with the Brothers. © 2015 Kirk West. All rights reserved. Available via Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other fine retailers.

Top Photo: ABB album cover shoot at the Orpheum Theatre in Boston, April 1992. I got the band in place for 20 minutes and they were gone… along with the days of working nicely with the photographer.