Saturday, March 13, 1971

The Allman Brothers Band record a classic live album: March 12-13, 1971

First posted 3/12/2012; updated 9/7/2020.

At Fillmore East

The Allman Brothers Band


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Recorded: March 12-13, 1971 and June 27, 1971


Released: July 1971


Peak: 13 US, -- UK, -- CN, -- AU


Sales (in millions): 3.0 US, -- UK, 3.0 world (includes US and UK)


Genre: blues rock


Tracks, Disc 1: (Click for codes to singles charts.)

  1. Statesboro Blues (Willie McTell) [4:17] (6/24/89, #26 AR)
  2. Trouble No More (McKinley Morganfield) [3:43] *
  3. Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’ (Gregg Allman) [3:27] *
  4. Done Somebody Wrong (Elmore James, Clarence Lewis, Bobby Robinson) [4:11]
  5. Stormy Monday (T-Bone Walker) [10:19]
  6. One Way Out (Elmore James, Marshall Sehorn, Sonny Boy Williamson) [4:55] (12/2/72, #86 US) *
  7. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (Dickey Betts) [12:59]
  8. You Don’t Love Me (Willie Cobbs) [19:24]
  9. Midnight Rider (Gregg Allman, Robertt Payne) [2:55] (12/22/73, #19 US) **

Tracks, Disc 2:

  1. Hot ‘Lanta (Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks, Jai Johanny Johanson) [5:20]
  2. Whipping Post (Gregg Allman) [22:53]
  3. Mountain Jam (Donovan Leitch, D. Allman, G. Allman, Betts, Oakley, Trucks, Johanson) [33:41] *
  4. Drunken Hearted Boy (Elvin Bishop) [6:54] *

* Added to the 1992 double disc release The Fillmore Concerts

** Added to the 2003 double-disc Deluxe Edition reissue, along with tracks added to The Fillmore Concerts.

Rating:

4.433 out of 5.00 (average of 21 ratings)


Quotable: “One of the best live albums in rock history.” – Tom Moon, 1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die

“The pinnacle of the Allmans and Southern rock.” – Stephen Thomas Erlewine, All Music Guide


Awards:

About the Album:

“For fans of Southern rock or jam bands, this is a must: the Allmans live at the peak of their powers.” SY “The classic version of the Allman Brothers Band graced the planet for a period that was all too brief – from 1969 through…1971.” AMG3 The death of guitarist Duane Allman in a motorcycle accident at age 24 created “one of the great ‘what if’s’ of rock history, as one can only surmise what heights he might have reached.” AMG3

“The group did their best work in a live setting” AMG3 and was “just beginning to generate national attention when it pulled into Manhattan’s Fillmore East auditorium for its first headlining stand in March 1971. All four shows from the run…were recorded” TM and edited into “the justifiably lauded At Fillmore East double-record set [later on 1 CD] released on Capricorn Records in the summer of 1971.” AMG3 The album “transformed this fast-rising curiosity from Macon, Georgia, into one of the truly great American rock bands of all time.” TM

“Whereas most great live rock albums are about energy,” AMG1 At Fillmore East is an “unbeatable testimony to the Allman Brothers’ improvisational skills,” RS500 how the group “connected with the crowds…and how the reciprocal energy gave birth to rock’s greatest live double LP.” RS500 It “is like a great live jazz session, where the pleasure comes from the musicians’ interaction and playing” AMG1 on “lengthy improvisational jams” NRR and “loose and free-floating solos.” TM “The thrashing first choruses of Statesboro Blues and Trouble No MoreTM showed “that the journey can be more interesting than the simple attention-grabbing refrain.” TM

The dual-guitar attack of Duane Allman on side and Dickey Betts on six-string was at “its hair-raising peak, fusing blues and jazz with emphatic force.” RS500 “When one finishes his climb to the mountaintop, the other begins, taking "Whipping Post" and "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" to new frenzied plateaus. Just when that settles down, along comes organist (and vocalist) Gregg Allman, working out on a hot-sounding Hammond B3 to extend the marathon a bit further. (Check out his romp through the eight-minute "Stormy Monday.") .” TM

Of note is “a powerfully emotional rendition of Whipping Post sung by Gregg Allman. That song became a touring standard for the band.” NRR “It’s stretched out to twenty-two minutes of jamming” SY and while that will have some “reaching for the stop button by minute ten,” SY this is “pretty fat-free” SY “as far as that sort of thing goes.” SY

The “album that brought the Allmans so much acclaim is as notable for its clever studio editing as it is for its performances. Producer Tom Dowd skillfully trimmed some of the performances” AMG1 “with an ear toward making the album as strong as possible for the home listener.” AMG3 Of course, even edited, “the music isn’t necessarily concise (three tracks run over ten minutes, with two in the 20-minute range).” AMG1

Depending on one’s point of view, Dowd either “should’ve left them well enough alone,” AMG3 since this is “not necessarily an ‘accurate’ documentary of the concert experience” AMG3 or, “far from being a sacrilege, this tactic helps present the Allmans in their best light.” AMG1 It “showcase[s] the group’s terrific instrumental interplay, letting each member (but particularly guitarist Duane and keyboardist/vocalist Gregg) shine.” AMG1

In any event, the album in its original format “established the Allmans among the rock elite” TM and “remains one of the best live albums in rock history.” TM

The Fillmore Concerts

At Fillmore East was not the last word on the classic ABB’s live recorded legacy;” AMG3 more material “from the same Fillmore sessions” AMG3 showed up on “1972’s Eat a Peach, …the two volumes of The Duane Allman Anthology (1972 and 1974) and the ABB’s Dreams box set (1989). It all added up to two-plus hours of prime live Allman Brothers Band with Duane kicking the group up to stratospheric heights, but it was also rather piecemeal…In 1992, along came The Fillmore Concerts, which seemingly remedied this situation with a two-CD set…combining music” AMG3 “from the two Fillmore shows that originally comprised At Fillmore East and the concert portions of Eat a Peach, plus one track (One Way Out) from a Fillmore show from a couple of months later.” AMG2

Dowd transferred “the 16-track masters from each show…to digital,” AMG2 restored the edits done for At Fillmore East, and remixed the material. “The sound is sterling and the two-hour-plus running time makes this a dream for fans of the band, as well as an improvement on the original releases of this material.” AMG2

“Dowd’s revisionism…sometimes did no favors to the music; for example, Rudolph ‘Juicy’ Carter’s sax detracts from Hot ‘Lanta.” AMG3 “Where In Memory of Elizabeth Reed is concerned – Dowd edited the version here together from two different performances, first and second shows, the dividing line being where Duane Allman’s solo comes in.” AMG2 It is “mixed lower than on the version listeners first heard in 1971 – as a result, the power and beauty of the solo doesn’t stand out quite as effectively.” AMG3 “Not that this is the only concert album where this kind of editing has been done, but the original…contained a single take of the song, and some purists may prefer that.” AMG2

Live at Fillmore East: Deluxe Edition

“In 2003 came the ‘Deluxe Edition’ of At Fillmore East, and they arguably got it right this time. Out the window went the…Fillmore Concerts remixes and alternate takes… [in favor of the] At Fillmore East versions that first dazzled listeners during the year they were recorded.” AMG3 The additional material added to The Fillmore Concerts is all here as well, most notably “the definitive version of Mountain Jam with Duane’s stunning solo after the drum break, culminating in his moving take on ‘Will the Circle Be Unbroken.’” AMG3

“It’s all sequenced logically, with the bluesy stuff kicking things off and the band stretching out and reaching for the heavens as the set progresses. This is the ABB at its thrilling apex…and it’s all presented in a handsome, high-quality package with a nice essay by Dave Thompson and photos both familiar and never before seen. One could conclude that this is yet another repackaging of live Allmans material by a mega-label attempting a quick cash-in. But for a…listener seeking to experience the best of the Allman Brothers Band’s greatest incarnation – with Duane Allman at the very heart of the music – there is no better package than this.” AMG3

In any format, these performances run “circles around more than 99 percent of the guitar albums ever released” AMG2 and “remain the pinnacle of the Allmans and Southern rock at its most elastic, bluesy, and jazzy.” AMG1

One final note – the deluxe edition of 1972’s Eat a Peach features a second disc of live recordings from the June 27, 1971 Fillmore East concert. Two of those songs – ‘One Way Out’ and Midnight Rider – show up on both collections, but the other seven songs on the Eat a Peach deluxe edition are unique to that collection.


Notes: Original 1971 release was a double album of seven songs that fit on 1 CD. The 1992 2-CD set The Fillmore Concerts added five more songs, including “Trouble No More” and “Mountain Jam,” which were originally released on Eat a Peach. Finally, in 2003, a 2-CD Deluxe Edition set was released that included everything on The Fillmore Concerts plus the song “Midnight Rider.”

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