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The Allman Brothers Band: Fillmore West '71

Just six weeks prior to their historic concerts in New York City's famous Fillmore East, which became their seminal At Fillmore East double live album, The Allman Brothers Band played a weekend of warm up gigs opening for electric Hot Tuna at Bill Graham's other legendary music club, the Fillmore West in San Francisco, California. These concerts were also recorded, and tucked away in a vault for many decades, but now being made available from the master soundboard reel to reels just in time for the bands 50th Anniversary.

Soundwise, these recordings, which are from 1/29/71-1/31/71 (three nights), are pretty damn good, but don't expect the near pristine quality of the At Fillmore East album. As long as you go in with that expectation, you'll marvel at the performances and very strong audio sound. The band didn't change up their set too much on those early tours, so most of the songs made famous on the Fillmore East album are also here, the band just really changing up a song or two each night and the rest staying intact from night to night. Each show featured "Statesboro Blues" to kick things off, and it doesn't vary much from each performance, followed by a snarling, bluesy "Trouble No More", both tracks short, sweet, and to the point on all three nights. "Don't Keep Me Wondering' " is also kept at just under 4-minutes, the similarities to the East recording rather close, but then is when we start to experience some of the nuances of the Allman's set each night with "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed". This Dickie Betts instrumental tour-de-force varies in length from night to night, anywhere from 11-minutes to near 15, with Duane Allman and Betts' solos spiraling with a vengeance and taking different twists & turns each performance. On the first evening, the rootsy "Midnight Rider" comes out for a spin, followed by a lengthy "Dreams", but on the show from the 30th, both of those are scratched in favor of the blues classic "Stormy Monday". For night three, "Midnight Rider" and "Dreams" are back, along with a venomous "Hoochie Coochie Man", complete with a Berry Oakley vocal, while the mammoth jams of "You Don't Love Me" and "Whipping Post" feature in the back end of the set on all three nights, lengthy guitar, Hammond organ, and drum solos abound all over the place. "Hot 'Lanta" also makes an appearance on the 31st as well. Gregg is in fine vocal form throughout, and in fact, these are some of the best performances I've heard from him from that time period. As a bonus, on disc 4 you also get a herculean version of "Mountain Jam" from a year earlier in New Orleans that hovers around the 46-minute mark, Jamoe & Butch Trucks doing their colossal drum battle and both Duane & Dickie getting plenty of time on their own to solo.

Magical stuff here from a band that were pretty much untouchable in a live setting. Though we've all heard those songs before, the Allman's, much like the Grateful Dead, rarely played their songs the same each night, so plenty of these tunes will sound quite different than their first cousins over on the At Fillmore East double live album. In short, Fillmore West '71 is a mandatory purchase for any Allman Brothers Band fan.


Track Listing
Disc 1, 1/29/1971
Statesboro Blues
Trouble No More
Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
Midnight Rider
Dreams
You Don’t Love Me
Whipping Post


Disc 2, 1/30/1971
Statesboro Blues
Trouble No More
Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
Stormy Monday
You Don’t Love Me
Whipping Post


Disc 3, 1/31/1971 Part I
Statesboro Blues
Trouble No More
Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’
In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed
Midnight Rider
Hoochie Coochie Man
Dreams
You Don’t Love Me


Disc 4, 1/31/1971 Part II
Hot ‘Lanta
Whipping Post
Bonus Track:
Mountain Jam Live At The Warehouse, New Orleans, LA 3/13/1970 (first release of this version)

Added: July 29th 2019
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Score:
Related Link: Band Facebook Page
Hits: 571
Language: english

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