Posts Tagged ‘A&R Studios New York’

Allman Brothers Band

On April 1st, one of the greatest shows from the Allman Brothers Band’s most incendiary year on stage — a live radio concert from A&R Studios in New York on August 26th, 1971, aired over the free-form FM station WPLJ — will finally be released in official form by the group’s own label, Peach Records. “Oh, man, I’ll never forget that one,” drummer Butch Trucks says when reminded of that broadcast, which came six months after the New York shows recorded for the iconic 1971 double LP At Fillmore East, has been long treasured by Allmans fans on bootleg and is now remixed for the first time from the original multi-track masters. “We were set up in that studio just like we did on stage,” Trucks says of the band, then in its original, classic formation: founding lead guitarist Duane Allman; his younger brother, organist-singer Gregg Allman; second lead guitarist Dickey Betts, original bassist Berry Oakley; and drummers Trucks and Jaimoe.

“But it was better,” Trucks goes on. “Rather than having their backs to me, the front line — Duane, Dickey and Berry — was facing us in kind of a semi-circle, which made it even easier to communicate. When I play, I stare at the left hand of whoever is playing lead. And I get to know what people are playing well enough that when they start going somewhere, once they arrive, I’m already there.”

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And on March 20th, Trucks will be back in Macon with a group called Les Brers — after the song “Les Brers in A Minor” on 1972’s Eat a Peach and derived from a Southern colloquialism for “brothers” — that includes Jaimoe, recent Allmans bassist Oteil Burbridge and percussionist Marc Quiñones and ex-Allmans guitarist Jack Pearson. “We are of the opinion that even though the Allman Brothers broke up, there is a void to be filled,” Trucks explains. “Whatever songs we write and play, it’s going to be coming from that direction, with a lot of improvisation and dynamics — and not knowing where you want to go next.

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“It’s the kind of thing the Allmans did all the time.” Trucks says. “It could turn into a total train wreck at times. But you don’t find new territory by not taking chances. If you’re afraid to dive off the cliff, you’ll never soar with the eagles.”

That was especially true at A&R Studios, when Duane took the occasion to pay tribute to a recently fallen idol: the R&B saxophonist King Curtis, who had played on many recording sessions with Duane and was murdered on his New York doorstep on August 13th, 1971, two weeks before the Allmans‘ broadcast. In an extensive, exclusive interview, Trucks explains how Duane turned his grieving into an epic-medley requiem of Willie Cobb’s 1960 blues “You Don’t Love Me” — an Allmans stage feature — with Curtis‘ 1964 instrumental “Soul Serenade.” Two months later, on October 29th, Duane — just out of rehab for drug addiction — died in a motorcycle accident in Macon, Georgia, the band’s hometown. He was 24.

The Allmans are also reissuing five previously released, vintage gigs through a new distribution deal, including two other, classic Duane-era shows at American University in Washington, D.C., in 1970 and at Stony Brook, New York, in 1971. Meanwhile, Trucks has been busy since the last version of the Allmans, with guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, played its final concerts in October 2014. The drummer leads a group, the Freight Train Band, that features his son Vaylor on guitar — “He’s the little kid on the cover of [1973’s] Brothers and Sisters,” Butch notes — and Berry Oakley Jr. on bass.

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