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A Visit to the Big House, The Allman Brothers Band Museum

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Macon, GA – The first day of my road trip to Warner Robins and Macon was about military aviation; the second day was about music, more specifically The Big House – the Allman Brothers Band Museum. I’ve been wanting to visit the Big House for a long time and after the band played their last show a few months ago that desire only grew stronger. Growing up in the south, I’d always heard the Allman Brothers Band’s music but it wasn’t until I was in high school in the late 80’s that I fell in love with their music. I started drifting away from the heavy metal of my peers and listening to the Allman Brothers as their renaissance began. This led me to move backwards through their catalog and eventually led me to get their box set “Dreams.” Their fusion of rock, blues, jazz and more struck a chord with me and ever since the Allman Brothers Band has been my favorite band. It was with excitement and anticipation that I came up to Macon from Warner Robins and drove down Vineville Avenue to #2321. I wasn’t disappointed…

2321 Vineville Ave, Macon, GA - The Big House

2321 Vineville Ave, Macon, GA – The Big House

Why does this house hold so much importance for the Allman Brothers Band and why does it mean so much to the fans who come to Macon to visit it? The museum’s website says it all:

The Big House is at 2321 Vineville Avenue, Macon, GA. In 1969 it was for rent, and by January 1970, it became the house where members of the band, their roadies, friends and families lived until 1973. It was the focal point of gathering in those early years when the magic that is the Allman Brothers Band was just taking shape and radiating from this sleepy Southern town.

2321 Vineville was an important part of the formative years of the band. One can only imagine all of the music that was born in this house and all that its walls heard. The museum staff say that only about 30-40% of what the museum has is on display and that it changes from time to time, so it’s a museum that deserves revisiting. What they have on display is amazing. I toured the museum awestruck; there is so much to see, from instruments and equipment to clothes and mementos with everything in between. (Please excuse the photos below, the museum rightly doesn’t allow flash photography so I used my phone’s camera with no flash – as a result some of the photos are blurry/fuzzy.)

The Hammond B-3 organ in the Rehearsal/Fillmore East Room, it was played by Gregg Allman from 1971-1977.

A Hammond B-3 organ played by Gregg Allman from 1971-1977.

Duane Allman's Gold Top Les Paul (note the Coricidin bottle slides to the left of it) and one of Butch Trucks' drum kits.

Duane Allman’s Gold Top Les Paul (note the Coricidin bottle slides to the left of it) and one of Butch Trucks’ drum kits.

One of Gregg Allman's original songwriting books in the Rehearsal/Fillmore East Room.

One of Gregg Allman’s original songwriting books.

One of Jaimoe's kick drums

One of Jaimoe’s kick drums.

Instruments from the band's renaissance period. One of Jack Pearson's guitars, one of Oteil Burbridge's bass guitars, and an acoustic guitar used by Dickey Betts.

Instruments from the band’s renaissance period. One of Jack Pearson’s guitars, one of Oteil Burbridge’s bass guitars, and an acoustic guitar used by Dickey Betts.

Gibson SG guitars played by Derek Trucks (L) and Warren Haynes (R) and an 18 string (!) bass guitar played by Allen Woody.

Gibson SG guitars played by Derek Trucks (L) and Warren Haynes (R) and an 18 string (!) bass guitar played by Allen Woody.

A close view of Allen Woody's 18 string Modulus bass. Nicknamed "Thor," it was used to start out "Whipping Post" in the early 90's. What an impressive instrument!

A close view of Allen Woody’s 18 string Modulus bass. Nicknamed “Thor,” it was used to start out “Whipping Post” in the early 90’s. What an impressive instrument!

Gong played by Marc Quinones from 1991-2011, signed by members of the band.

Gong played by Marc Quinones from 1991-2011, signed by members of the band.

The bay window area of the Big House where Dickey Betts wrote "Blue Sky." Vineville Avenue is the street outside the window.

The bay window area of the Big House where Dickey Betts wrote “Blue Sky.” Vineville Avenue is the street outside the window.

Dickie Bett's handwritten lyrics to "Blue Sky" hang on the wall in the room where he wrote the iconic song.

Dickie Bett’s handwritten lyrics to “Blue Sky” hang on the wall in the room where he wrote the iconic song.

Along with the lyrics to "Blue Sky" are this tracking sheet to it and "Little Martha," which would be Duane Allman's last studio recordings.

Along with the lyrics to “Blue Sky” are this tracking sheet to it and “Little Martha,” which would be Duane Allman’s last studio recordings.

Duane Allman's bedroom

Duane Allman’s bedroom

Duane Allman's bedroom

Duane Allman’s bedroom

Berry and Linda Oakley's bedroom

Berry and Linda Oakley’s bedroom

The Oakley's daughter Brittany's bedroom. Brittany and Linda Oakley were on the back cover of "Brothers and Sisters" and the dress worn by Brittany in the photo is in this room.

The Oakley’s daughter Brittany’s bedroom. Brittany and Linda Oakley were on the back cover of “Brothers and Sisters” and the dress worn by Brittany in the photo is in this room.

The Casbah/Music room

The Casbah/Music room

The Casbah/Music room

The Casbah/Music room

Another fascinating instrument played by Allen Woody - a custom mandolin bass.

Another fascinating instrument played by Allen Woody – a custom mandolin bass.

Dickie Bett's Gold Top Les Paul guitar

A prototype of Dickie Bett’s 1957 Gold Top Les Paul guitar

A table from the H&H Restaurant in Macon. During the band's formative period "Mama Louise" Hudson, who ran the restaurant, would feed the band when they didn't have money to eat.

A table from the H&H Restaurant in Macon. During the band’s formative period “Mama Louise” Hudson, who ran the restaurant, would feed the band when they didn’t have money to eat.

A check from the H&H Restaurant is on top of the table.

A check from the H&H Restaurant is on top of the table.

The Big House is an amazing museum to visit, it was truly an experience. Not only are there so many amazing things to see, the museum staff is extremely knowledgeable and very friendly; you truly feel like you’re among friends while you visit. It’s open from 11am-6pm and tickets are just $3.75, a very low price for what there is to see. If you are an Allman Brothers Band fan the Big House is a must see. Even if you just love music, the museum is a must see if you find yourself in or near Macon. This may have been my first visit, but it surely won’t be my last!


2 Comments

  1. […] stuff, you can read the blog posts on my visit to the Robins AFB Museum of Aviation and the Allman Brothers Band Museum from this […]

  2. […] Update – 10 January 2015: Road Trip reports and posts on the museum visits have been added to the blog. The cumulative road trip report about what I could hear on the radios can be found here, photos from the Museum of Aviation visit can be found here, and photos from the Big House Museum can be found here. […]

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