The ALLMAN BROTHERS – ” At Fillmore East ” Recorded 12th-13th March 1971

Posted: March 23, 2016 in Classic Albums, MUSIC
Tags: , , ,

Capricorn

On this day 12th March in 1971: The Allman Brothers Band played the first of two nights at the Fillmore East in New York, that were recorded & released as the group’s landmark, breakthrough, double live album, ‘At Fillmore East’ (Capricorn Records) – widely regarded as one of the best live recordings ever; Rolling Stone ranked it #49 on their list of ‘The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time’; the session was produced by Tom Dowd, who condensed the running time of various songs, occasionally even merging two performances into one track; it was one of 50 recordings chosen in 2004 by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry…

At Fillmore East was the first live album by the American rock-blues band the Allman Brothers Band, and their third release overall. Produced by Tom Dowd, the album was released in July 1971 in the United States by Capricorn Records. As the title indicates, the recording took place at the New York City music venue Fillmore East, which was run by concert promoter Bill Graham. The release features the band performing extended jam versions of songs such as “Whipping Post” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” When first commercially released, it was issued as a double LP with just seven songs comprising four vinyl sides.

At Fillmore East was the band’s artistic and commercial breakthrough, and has been considered by some critics to be one of the greatest live albums in rock music.

At Fillmore East was recorded over two nights — March 12th and 13th, 1971 — for which the band was paid $1250 each show. The shows were typical performances for the band, and regarded as slightly above average by drummer Jai Johanny Johanson. Ads for the shows read: “Bill Graham Presents in New York  Johnny Winter And, Elvin Bishop Group, Extra Added Attraction: Allman Brothers. While Winter was billed as headliner, by the third night the Allman Brothers were closing the show.

Allman Brothers

Tom Dowd produced At Fillmore East; he had previously worked on their second studio album, Idlewild South. He had recently returned from Africa from working on Soul to Soul, and stayed in New York several days to oversee the live recording. “It was a good truck, with a 16-track machine and a great, tough-as-nails staff who took care of business,” recalled Dowd. He gave the staff suggestions and noted the band had two lead guitarists and two drummers, “which was unusual, and it took some foresight to properly capture the dynamics.” Things went smoothly until the band unexpectedly brought out saxophonist Rudolph “Juicy” Carter, an unknown horn player, and Thom Doucette on harmonica. “I was just hoping we could isolate them, so we could wipe them and use the songs, but they started playing and the horns were leaking all over everything, rendering the songs unusable,” said Dowd. He rushed to Duane during the break to tell him to cut the horn players; while Duane loved the players, he put up no fight with Dowd. The final show was delayed because of a bomb scare, and did not end until 6 am.

Each night following the shows, the musicians and Dowd would “grab some beers and sandwiches” and head to Manhattan‘s Atlantic Studios to go over the performances. Set lists for following shows were crafted by listening to the recordings and going over what they could keep and what they would need to capture once more. “We wanted to give ourselves plenty of times to do it because we didn’t want to go back and overdub anything, because then it wouldn’t have been a real live album,” said Gregg Allman, and in the end, the band only edited out Doucette’s harmonica when it didn’t fit. “That was our pinnacle,” said Dickey Betts later. “The Fillmore days are definitely the most cherished memories that I have. If you asked everybody in the band, they would probably say that.”

The Allman Brothers Band finished playing the two-night stand 45 years ago this month, March 12th-13th, that would become their classic album, Live at the Fillmore East. Produced by the great Tom Dowd, the double-LP set cemented the Duane Allman/Dickey Betts and Great Southern tag-team as one of the greatest guitar duos in rock history thanks to their daredevil performances on “Whipping Post,” “Statesboro Blues,” and “You Don’t Love Me”— all still part of the Southern jam/boogie repertoire.

Allman Brothers

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