THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND — At Fillmore East (review)

THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND — At Fillmore East album cover Live album · 1971 · Blues Buy this album from MMA partners
4.5/5 ·
js
Those who know the Allman Brothers Band well know that there are two distinctly different versions of the band, the first version with Duane Allman and Berry Oakley, and the second version after Duane and Berry had both died in separate motorcycle accidents. The second version of the band was/is a talented rock band, but no match for the first version of the band. The original Allmans led by brother Duane were an absolute force of nature, one of the most creative and talented groups of their generation. The fact that the early Allmans were called a rock band probably had more to do with their hippy garb and their gigs with other rockers, but listen to the music, there is actually very little rock to be found, instead you will hear plenty of blues in swing time, some jazz fusion, southern RnB, and a touch of country too. Whereas many others in their peer group were following the blues rock of Cream and Hendrix, the Allmans were charting their own hybrid combinations that did not sound like anyone else. Their first two studio albums got some attention, but it wasn’t until they released the incendiary “At Fillmore East” that people began to recognize what this group was capable of. This only makes sense because the Allmans were first and foremost a very live act. These guys knew how to jam and improvise in ways that other groups could only imagine. The Brother’s improvs were not always your typical two chord hippy jam, they often went off on tangents that showed diverse influences from Indian ragas, soul jazz, rock fused bluegrass and creative creations of their own that are hard to define or label.

Side one of “At Fillmore East” opens with a trio of blues numbers, on “Stormy Monday” they show their interest in soul jazz when the band goes into a double time swing while Gregg Allman knocks out a B3 solo in the style of Jimmy McGriff and Jack McDuff. On side two’s “You Don’t Love Me”, the band hits their trademark locomotive groove and now we are on our way. Side three is the jazz side with the lengthy Santana sounding, “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, taking up much of the side. Side four closes out the album with the hard charging groove of “Whipping Post”, an all-time Allman Brothers favorite. Each of these lengthy jams usually contain side variations and excursions into styles that I can’t describe because they don’t fit any known genre. The whole band was extremely talented, but Duane Allman was one of the most creative guitarists of his generation, possibly topped only by Jimi Hendrix, his fellow super nova who burned so bright for a couple of years and then suddenly left us. If you want to hear the Allman Brothers at their very best, "At Fillmore East" is the one,
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