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Tue, September 24, 2013
The Allman Brothers - At the Fillmore East
The Allman Brothers Band is an American rock/blues band once based in Macon, Georgia. The band was formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1969 by brothers Duane Allman (slide guitar and lead guitar) and Gregg Allman (vocals, organ, songwriting), plus Dickey Betts (lead guitar, vocals, songwriting), Berry Oakley (bass guitar), Butch Trucks (drums), and Jai Johanny "Jaimoe" Johanson (drums). While the band has been called the principal architects of Southern rock, they also incorporate elements of blues, jazz, and country music, and their live shows have jam band-style improvisation and instrumentals.
The band achieved its artistic and commercial breakthrough in 1971 with the release of At Fillmore East, featuring extended renderings of their songs "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" and "Whipping Post" and often considered one of the best live albums ever made. George Kimball of Rolling Stone magazine hailed them as "the best damn rock and roll band this country has produced in the past five years." A few months later, group leader Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle accident. The group survived that and the death of bassist Oakley in another motorcycle accident a year later; with replacement members Chuck Leavell and Lamar Williams, the Allman Brothers Band achieved its peak commercial success in 1973 with the album Brothers and Sisters and the hit single "Ramblin' Man". Internal turmoil overtook the band soon after; the group dissolved in 1976, reformed briefly at the end of the decade with additional personnel changes, and dissolved again in 1982.
In 1989, the group reformed with some new members and has been recording and touring since. A series of personnel changes in the late 1990s was capped by the departure of Betts. The group found stability during the 2000s with bassist Oteil Burbridge and guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks (the nephew of their drummer), and became renowned for their month-long string of shows in New York City each spring. The band has been awarded eleven gold and five platinum albums between 1971 and 2005 and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995. Rolling Stone ranked them 52nd on their list of the 100 Greatest Artists of All Time in 2004.
At Fillmore East is a double live album by The Allman Brothers Band. The band's breakthrough success, At Fillmore East was released in July 1971. It ranks Number 49 among Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time and remains among the top-selling albums in the band’s catalogue. The original album was released in both conventional two-channel stereo and four-channel quadraphonic mixes. This album has been certified as platinum by the RIAA as of August 25, 1992.
Recorded at the Fillmore East concert hall, the storied rock venue in New York City, on Friday and Saturday March 12, 1971–March 13, 1971, the album showcased the band's mixture of blues, southern rock, and jazz. The cover of Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues" which opens the set showcases Duane Allman's slide guitar work in open E Tuning. "Whipping Post" became the standard for a long, epic jam that never lost interest (opening in 11/4 time, unusual territory for a rock band), while the ethereal-to-furious "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed", with its harmonized melody, Latin feel, and burning drive invited comparisons with John Coltrane (especially Duane's solo-ending pull-offs, a direct nod to the jazz saxophonist).
The album was produced by Tom Dowd, who condensed the running time of various songs, occasionally even merging two performances into one track. For example, the first seven minutes of "You Don't Love Me" is from the first show on March 12 and the rest (starting at Duane's solo without the band) is from the second show on March 13. At Fillmore East peaked at No. 13 on Billboard's Pop Albums chart.
The album was also specially remixed for four-channel quadraphonic sound. In the four-channel mix Duane Allman is heard in the left rear channel, Dickey Betts in the right rear channel, Jai Johanny Johanson in the front left channel, Butch Trucks in the right front channel, and Gregg Allman and Berry Oakley both centered in the front channels. The four-channel version uses some different edits and performances of the songs taken from the same concerts. Some of these alternate versions appeared in the 1989 compilation Dreams, although in that release the four-channel recordings have been reduced to two-channels. In 1998 the entire four-channel edition was reissued on CD as a 4.0 (not 5.1) surround sound DTS disc.
Two other songs recorded during the same set of shows, "Trouble No More" and the memorable "Mountain Jam", were later released on Eat a Peach, the latter spanning two sides of the double album, together with a cover of the Elmore James boogie classic "One Way Out" from a different performance at the same venue, on June 27, 1971. The deluxe edition of Eat a Peach includes this performance in its entirety on the second disc.
Those songs were later included in their entirety, along with uncut versions of some, re-edited versions of others, and some previously omitted tracks, on a new release of the Fillmore material entitled The Fillmore Concerts (1992). "Stormy Monday" gained back a harmonica solo; "Don't Keep Me Wonderin'" and "Drunken Hearted Boy" were included as well.
The year 2003 saw the release of a two-disc edition entitled At Fillmore East Deluxe Edition. It compiled all the released versions of the Fillmore material, some material from the collection Duane Allman: An Anthology and the Dreams box set, and remixed the material with a better soundstage than the 1992 release. In 2004 the album was released on SACD, with stereo and surround sound versions.
In 2003 the TV network VH1 named At Fillmore East the 59th greatest album of all time. That same year, it was also ranked No. 49 by Rolling Stone on their list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. It was one of 50 recordings chosen in 2004 by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry. The song "Whipping Post" is part of the The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs that Shaped Rock and Roll list.
None of the pictures of the band for the cover were actually taken at the Fillmore East. The photographer Jim Marshall took the cover shot near the band's headquarters in Macon, Georgia, where the band had relocated from Florida to be near manager Phil Walden's new Capricorn Studios.
Normally the band hated being photographed; the cover of The Fillmore Concerts shows them displaying terminal boredom. However, during the session, Duane spotted a dealer friend, raced over and grabbed a bag of contraband, then returned to his seat, discreetly clutching the stash in his lap. This cracked up all the members, resulting in a memorable image.
The back cover shows their road crew gathered in the same spot with 0.47 lt (16 oz.) cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon beer provided by the photographer as a reward to the roadies for lugging out and stacking the band's heavy equipment for the photo shoot. Their expressions certainly seem to signify their displeasure at having to stack cases for a photo shoot.
1. "Statesboro Blues" (Will McTell) – 4:17
2. "Done Somebody Wrong" (Clarence L. Lewis, Bobby Robinson, Elmore James) – 4:33
3. "Stormy Monday" (T. Bone Walker) – 8:44
1. "You Don't Love Me" (Willie Cobbs) – 19:15 ("Joy to the World" medley in the ending portions)
1. "Hot 'Lanta" (Gregg Allman, Duane Allman, Dickey Betts, Butch Trucks, Berry Oakley, Jai Johanny Johanson) – 5:17
2. "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" (Dickey Betts) – 13:04
1. "Whipping Post" (Gregg Allman) – 23:03
9/23/1970 Fillmore East