Say hello to one of the most talented and beloved bands in rock and roll history, the Allman Brothers. They were the pioneers of what has come to be known as Southern rock, combining jazz fusion and blues to create something so uniquely original. “At Fillmore East” is a showcase of the real Allman Brothers, with their complete legendary lineup of Duane and Greg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Jai Johanny Johanson and Butch Trucks.
Since the original release of this album only has seven tracks, we’re going to focus more on the later edition titled “The Fillmore Concerts,” which contains the full setlist for the shows recorded at the legendary New York City venue in 1971.
The one thing that really strikes me about this live album is how much heart wrenching soul Greg Allman puts into his organ and into his vocals. Nothing is held back, which rings true for the other band members as well, but Greg in particular has a way of pouring himself out in his music. The extended version of “Whipping Post” is a great example of this outpouring, as you can really feel the pain in his heart.
Now as great as Greg is, his brother – the late Duane Allman – steals the show with his larger-than-life slide guitar talent.
On songs like “Done Something Wrong”, “Trouble No More” and “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin'”, Duane flat out plays his guitar like it was another part of his body. His use of slide guitar has been viewed by many as groundbreaking and influential, and there’s no denying that his death (just a couple months after the release of this album) was a huge loss to music.
The long extended jams like “Stormy Monday” and “Mountain Jam” show Duane and fellow lead guitarist Dickey Betts as one intertwined unit, feeding off of each other in perfect impromptu fashion.
For any music lover, this album is a must. If you’re a fan of Dave Matthews Band, Phish or any one of those jam bands, you’re going to want to get to know the Allmans. Their jazz and rock fusion paved the way for many a rock band today. This is soul music at its best.