Butch Trucks, drummer and founding member of the Allman Brothers Band passed away on Tuesday night, January 24th. Butch was 69 years young and had shown no signs of slowing down. In the aftermath of the Allman Brothers Band calling it quits a few years ago, Butch grew not one, but two bands from the ashes of ABB, Les Brers and Butch Trucks and the Freight Train Band.
Butch’s contribution to not only the Allman Brothers Band, but to the art of drumming in a rock band can’t be overstated. Phish frontman Trey Anastasio paid tribute to Butch on Facebook and wrote “No one sounded like him. I’ve always been a firm believer in the huge impact that the drummer has on any great band, and that was certainly true in the case of Butch and the Allmans. Rest In Peace, Butch. Thank you for your gift.”
In recalling the 45 year legacy of the Allman Brothers Band, it’s hard to pick out any one show or moment to pay tribute to Butch. This passage from the Allmans legendary New Year’s Eve show in 1973 is as good as any in my opinion.
By 1973, the Allman Brothers Band were the hottest touring band in America. Iconic concert promoter, Bill Graham, set the stage yet again for another historic encounter between the ABB and the Grateful Dead. The Allmans Brothers show at Cow Palace on New Year’s Eve in San Francisco (or right outside of San Fran in Daly) was one for the record books. The show was broadcast on the radio across the country and clocked in at nearly 6 hours!
A variety of guests joined the Allmans on the journey into 1974, including Jerry Garcia and Bill Kreutzmann of the Grateful Dead and Boz Scaggs. The closing songs of the marathon three set show was a beautiful rendition of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” into the bands signature jam, “Mountain Jam.” The whole show is gold, but the ending is one of the highlights of the show.
Rest in peace, Butch.