The Allman Brothers Band: Allman Brothers at the Fillmore East (Atlantic)

QUESTION: GIVEN 76 minutes 26 seconds of the day to do sweet flaming all, what would you do (a) attend one and a bit funerals (b) sit through three juicy, undefended due-cares at the local magistrates (c) work out what you’re going to do for the next 76 mins 26 sees.

If you’re into the fact that the Allmans are one of the better variety of rock ‘n’ roll bands, or you’re willing to be swayed, then I can tell you that this very live package is a nourishing, and extremely juicy way to laze away one 19th of a day.

The show kicks off with ‘Statesboro Blues’ — Statesbro, Georgia, that is. A little less metallic than the Taj Mahal outing, but as funky as you like, and such a positive forceful blow. Brother Duane squeals out some edible slide guitar, and Gregg’s sleepy, sleazy vocals speak out all over the place. Willie Cobb’s ‘You Don’t Love Me’ takes up side two, and is maybe the one track that doesn’t justify such lavish treatment by Father Time (19 mins) Still, there’s such delightful six string repartee between Duane and Dicky Betts that it’s worth tolerating the one or two slack moments. It’s really smart playing between both these        guitarists, complementing each other’s differing styles so much, and climaxing in wild ascending scales.

Side three with ‘Hot Lanta’, and Betts’ ‘In Memory of Elizabeth Reed’ offer the most instantly appealing Brothers, busy, slick city blues with all that 1970 bustle and urgency — like a street full of screwed-up cabs.

If I can pick favourites from this package, I’ll plum for ‘Done Something Wrong’, which I feel the Yardbirds did a very long time ago. The guitar is so similar to that of Beck’s (during those brilliant days) and so is the whole chunky handling of this blueswail. Good to be reminded of the old ‘birds every now and then.

The mammoth version of Gregg’s ‘Whipping Post’ (22 mins) is the complete Allman showcase, rapping into everything except wah-wah kitchen sink. Seventy-six mins, 26 sec, well spent.

© Roy HollingworthMelody Maker, 18 September 1971

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