The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings

by: The Allman Brothers Band

Generally considered the career breakthrough, and some would even say pinnacle, of the Allman Brothers' career, the 1971 concert album At Fillmore East was a huge success for the band. A landmark of classic rock, At Fillmore East, recorded over several nights in March 1971, captured the live intensity and almost psychic group interplay between the bandmembers, largely centered on the guitar tête-à-tête of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts. Also integral to the Georgia band's sound were the bluesy, soul-inflected vocals and organ playing of Gregg Allman, on whose shoulders much of the band's future would rest after the tragic death of his brother Duane in a motorcycle accident in October 1971, a mere four days after At Fillmore East was certified gold. However, despite the group's undeniably innovative mix of rock, country, blues, and jazz, it was producer Tom Dowd who helped craft the live sessions into a remarkably kinetic and timely album. Dowd, who had previously helmed the group's second album, 1970's Idlewild South, skillfully edited the group's various performances together, maximizing the best bits and, as in the case of "You Don't Love Me," combined the first section with the last section to form a concise, masterful take. The 2014 six-disc box set The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings brings together all of the unedited recordings the Allman Brothers made during their two-night, four-show stand at the Fillmore East. That means longtime fans get four versions of the band's set opener, "Statesboro Blues," as well as other cuts the group repeated each set. Thankfully, the Allman Brothers rarely played a song the same way twice, and every track here holds something surprising and unexpected to discover. Also included is the group's June 1971 show closing out the Fillmore East for owner Bill Graham, who had decided to shut the venue down. Combine all of the music here, much previously unreleased, with John Lynskey's heartfelt and informative liner notes detailing all of the concert drama, both on stage and off, and The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings ends up working as both a completist anthology and a joyful rock tribute. ~ Matt Collar

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