The ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND – ” Fillmore East February 1970 “

Posted: July 22, 2021 in MUSIC

The Allman Brothers Band, Fillmore East, February 1970, The band played 27 titanic shows at promoter Bill Graham’s storied Fillmore East in Manhattan between 1969 and 1971, releasing 1971 recordings in July of that year for the classic “At Fillmore East” live LP.

But an earlier, raw and hungry era of the band is heard on the newly released “Bear’s Sonic Journals: Fillmore East, February 1970,” recorded by Grateful Dead soundman Owsley “Bear” Stanley when the Allman Brothers opened for the Grateful Dead on February 11th, 13th and 14th.

Listening back more than 50 years later, it’s easy to hear why Stanley was so passionate about these recordings.

In particular, the February 14th performance of “Mountain Jam” even with a reel-change gap, is a towering, 35-minute testament to the band’s rich, complex interplay, especially dual-drum tactic of Jaimoe and Butch Trucks under the twin-guitar attack of Dickey Betts and Duane Allman, who died the year after these recording were made.

“I would rather have some of it,” Semins said. “I would rather have every last Duane Allman solo, even if it’s cut up, than not have it at all. And that was the approach that we took with this.” There’s a potency to this collection that comes from a combination of the band playing in prime form, Stanley’s crisp and clear recording, and the energy of a New York City audience ready for whatever the Allmans throw at them.

“I think it’s the electricity they felt from the audience who seemed to really appreciate what they were doing,” Holman said. “You’re playing through as good a sound and lights (system) as there was at that point, and (you had) the ability to play multiple nights in the same room where you’d get really used to what the room sounds like – and it was a really good-sounding room from a musician point of view.”

You asked for it, so here it is! The Owsley Stanley Foundation & the Allman Brothers Band are pleased to present Bear’s complete recordings of the Allman Brothers Band at the Fillmore East in February 1970 in CD format. Available at the Big House Museum, this Deluxe Edition, 3-CD set will include the already-released compilation CD along with 2 CDs of the source material from all three nights — the complete set of Bear’s Sonic Journals from each show as played on February 11th, 13th, & 14th, 1970, including all three complete versions of the earliest known live concert recordings of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” We also expanded the booklet to include more photos from these historic nights, taken by Bear’s good friend, Amalie Rothschild. The photos include an extremely rare shot of Bear in the soundbooth, up in the balcony overlooking the stage.

Important Note: These recordings were not previously released on CD in their entirety because they contain significant flaws, primarily due to reel changes in the middle of songs. We released them last summer as high resolution downloads, but many of our listeners preferred to have a physical copy. We get it; we’re the same way. Moreover, it was Bear’s wish that these recordings (especially the February 14th show) be released in whole because they are sonically pure and include important, previously unreleased material of the band with Duane in his prime.

“We have Owsley’s emails where he writes about how good they were, and he didn’t know the Allman Brothers,” said Bill “Hawk” Semins, an attorney who serves on the Owsley Stanley Foundation’s board of directors and executive produced the set with Holman.

“That was the first time the Allman Brothers had played with the Grateful Dead, and he (Stanley) has got tremendously good ears and recognizes talent and they immediately captured his fascination,” Semins explained. “There are a lot of opening acts where we don’t have the tapes, there are lots of times where he tapes over them. But he knew these tapes were special and he had written about it to other folks and he had held onto them for 50 years.”

A single-disc set collecting highlights from the three nights was released in 1996. That’s been re-packaged alongside Stanley’s raw recordings, complete with gaps for reel changes and a couple of cuts.

“We’re all completists at the foundation and the idea of releasing the entire set, reel gaps and everything, was what Owsley wanted,” said Semins. 

Produced and recorded by the Dead’s Sound Engineer, Owsley Stanley. The recordings feature the line-up of Duane Allman (Lead & Slide Guitars), Gregg Allman (Vocals, Hammond B-3 Organ), Dickey Betts (Lead Guitar), Berry Oakley (Bass, Vocals), Jaimoe (Drums, Percussion), and Butch Trucks (Drums, Tympani).

  • 3 CD Set
  • Bear’s complete recordings of the Allman Brothers Band from these historic shows on February 11, 13, & 14, 1970
  • Expanded 16-page booklet, including rare band photos and a photo of Bear in the soundbooth
  • Complete versions of the three earliest known live concert recordings of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”

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