Debut and early years (1969–1970)
The group moved to Macon, Georgia by May 1, where Walden was establishing Capricorn Records. Mike Callahan and Joseph "Red Dog" Campbell became the band's early crew members. "Red Dog" was a disabled Vietnam veteran who donated his monthly disability checks to the band's cause. In Macon, the group stayed at friend Twiggs Lyndon's apartment on 309 College Street, which became known as the communal home of the band and crew, nicknamed the Hippie Crash Pad. "There were five or six occupied apartments in the building with the Hippie Crash Pad and you would expect they would call the police on us because we were constantly raising hell at three or four in the morning, but they all just moved out," said Trucks. Living meagerly, they found a friend in "Mama Louise" Hudson, cook and proprietor of the H&H Soul Food Restaurant, who ran a tab when they were short of funds, early on made good with proceeds from Duane's recording sessions on the side. The band's image was radical in the just barely integrated Macon: "A lot of the white folk around here did not approve of them long-haired boys, or of them always having a black guy with them," said Hudson. The band performed locally, as well as 80 miles north in Atlanta's Piedmont Park, and practiced at the newly minted Capricorn nearly each day.
The group forged a strong brotherhood, spending countless hours rehearsing, consuming psychedelic drugs, and hanging out in Rose Hill Cemetery, where they wrote songs. Their first performances outside the South came on May 30 and 31 in Boston, opening for The Velvet Underground. In need of more material, the group remade old blues numbers such as "Trouble No More" and "One Way Out", in addition to improvised jams such as "Mountain Jam". Gregg, who had struggled to write in the past, became the band's sole songwriter, composing songs such as "Whipping Post" and "Black-Hearted Woman". The band was originally set to record their first album in Miami with Cream and John Coltrane producer Tom Dowd, who proved unavailable. Instead, they headed off for New York City in August 1969 to work with Atlantic house engineer Adrian Barber in his first producer credit. The Allman Brothers Band was recorded and mixed in two weeks, and proved a positive experience for the ensemble. New York came to be regarded within the group as their "second home." The Allman Brothers Band was released in November 1969 through Atco and Capricorn Records,but received a poor commercial response, selling less than 35,000 copies upon initial release.