As promised, this week’s album of the week is the best live rock album ever recorded – At Fillmore East by the Allman Brothers band. The band formed in 1969 after the breakup of Hour Glass which had featured Duane and Greg Allman (use the search feature to find my earlier post that featured some Hour Glass songs). They released The Allman Brothers Band in 1969 and Idlewild South in 1970, both of which were great but it was their live shows with extended blues and jazz jams that really started to expand their fan base. In 1971 they recorded the live album featured in today’s post and it successfully captured the magic of their live performances. The Allman Brothers place in rock history was firmly established by this album.
Rolling Stone magazine named At Fillmore East the 49th greatest album of all time stating the following about the album:
“Rock’s greatest live double LP is an unbeatable testimony to the Allman Brothers’ improvisational skills, as well as evidence of how they connected with audiences to make jamming feel communal. “The audience would kind of play along with us,” singerorganist Gregg Allman said of the March 1971 shows documented here. “They were right on top of every single vibration coming from the stage.” The dazzling guitar team of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts was at its peak, seamlessly fusing blues and jazz in “Whipping Post” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.”
Our long song Tuesday post this week featured Stormy Monday from this album but you really can’t appreciate its true greatness without listening to it end to end. So let’s listen to the whole album…..
This is a band that was at the peak of its power and we are incredibly lucky to have this live album masterpiece to remember how great they were were. Unfortunately this version of the band would never record again. Two members of the band were lost in motorcycle accidents in the eighteen months that followed the recording of At Fillmore East. We will save that sad story for another day.
On a personal note I am forever sad that I did not get to see the Allman Brothers in their original lineup. Having said that, in a strange way I was reminded of the band at every concert that I attended to in the 70s. No matter what show I was at, someone from the audience would call out a request for Whipping Post. Maybe it was just a southern thing but it made me smile each and every time it happened. If you haven’t listened to the album yet be sure to listen for the iconic original shouted request that triggered all of the copycat requests that I heard throughout the 70s.