The current members of The Allman Brothers Band still perform under its old name, but when the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted the band in 1995 only the six original members were included. It's the music they made from 1969 through 1973 that belongs in the time capsule.

A dynamite blues rock band from the start, the Allmans' distinctive style was fueled by lead guitarists Duane Allman and Dickey Betts trading extended solos and harmonies on top of the rock-solid, driving rhythm section of dual drummers Butch Trucks and Jaimoe Johanson and the "third guitar" bass lines of Berry Oakley, perfectly enhanced by Gregg Allman's bluesy vocals and organ lines.

The group reached its highest peaks at live shows with often-lengthy "jam band" improvisations, combining blues and rock with elements of jazz and country music. Their undisputed 1971 album masterpiece, recorded live At Fillmore East, features outstanding extended versions of Dickey Betts's "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" (13 minutes) and Gregg Allman's "Whipping Post" (23 minutes); both were enduring FM-radio staples of the 1970s.

Somehow the band carried on when Duane Allman, the group's leader and a slide guitar player second to none, died at age 24 in a motorcycle accident on October 29, 1971. They had already been working on their next album, Eat a Peach, so most of its tracks still included Duane's guitar. (Three additional numbers from the earlier At Fllmore East concert comprised 60% of that album's running time.)

No guitarist could replace Duane, but the group decided to add Chuck Leavell, a pianist, to gain another lead instrument. Then, incredibly, bassist Berry Oakley died in another motorcycle accident on November 11, 1972. Oakley was replaced by Lamar Williams in time to finish the next album, Brothers and Sisters, which included their only top 20 hit, "Ramblin' Man," as well as the instrumental hit, "Jessica." Both were written by Dickey Betts, who evolved into the group's unofficial leader.

The Allman Brothers Band got lots of Cat support in the Alley's all-time leading discussion of The Best American Rock & Roll Bands. It's a no-doubter in the top 10 and a strong candidate for the top 5. The evidence is there in the live video of "Whipping Post" from a 1970 performance at the Fillmore East - which will stay on the Home Page through November and then be retired to the Featured Artist Archive.

What are your favorite Allman Brothers tracks and albums? Can you find a better YouTube clip than I did? Do you think the band's post-1973 recordings or live shows stand up to their earlier ones?