At Fillmore East


I must admit I cringed a little when I saw this, the first Southern Rock album on the list, coming up.  See I’ve never been much of a fan of Southern Rock, or the South for that matter.  Maybe it was growing up in Northeast Ohio on a steady diet of folk, British rock, and Motown classics thanks to mi madre, or maybe it is the less than lukewarm reception my alma mater, the Ohio State University, gets from its counterparts in the SEC during football season.  Or perhaps it is my liberal, humanistic viewpoints that stand in stark contrast with the conservative southern bible-belt majority.  Regardless, I always feel out of place whenever I drive even as far south as Cincinnati (man I hate those “Hell Is Real” billboards on I-71 S), which is what prompted me to redraw the Mason-Dixon line at Stringtown Road in Grove City (just a few miles south of my beloved C-bus) a couple of years ago when the Buckeyes were playing the Bearcats in the Sweet 16.

But I digress.  My point is that I’ve never much cared for Southern Rock.  I’ve always associated the genre with bands like Lynyrd Skynyrd, who obviously can’t spell (my only good memory of Lynyrd Skynyrd is Ohio State fans hijacking a cover of “Sweet Home Alabama” played by a bar band in New Orleans by screaming “Fuck you, Alabama” on every chorus…good times!) and are responsible for the worst joke in rock ‘n roll (Hey, play some “Freebird” man!).  So knowing nothing about the Allman Brothers Band, I assumed it would be in the same vein, and I was very surprised to instead find a very competent jam band rooted in the blues, but with some jazz influences.  Actually, I read recently that Duane Allman studied Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue”, and it shows on his extended solos.  He and guitarist Dickey Betts really carry this record, especially on the long cuts like “You Don’t Love Me” and “Whipping Post”.  All throughout, Duane Allman shows some incredible guitar chops, and it truly is a shame he died so young.  This is only the second live album so far on the list, and having read in Joe Oestreich’s rock auto-biography “Hitless Wonder” I realize that there is no such thing as a true live album, so I wasn’t surprised when I discovered that there is some studio magic at work here, mixing different takes together to pair the best solos with the vocal performances and such, but it’s done in such a seamless way that it isn’t noticeable.

I paid $12.99 for this album at the Barnes & Noble on Sawmill Road, and it pained me to buy it there and pay that much (I have actually stood in Barnes & Noble and scanned items’ barcodes on my iphone and then purchased the items cheaper on Amazon), but it was the edition I wanted and it was right there in my hand.  Several editions of this album exist, including alternate four channel mixes and an extended version with more tracks.  This is the original two-channel stereo mix, pretty much as it was when it was first released on vinyl.

Other lists: “Whipping Post” is #393 on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time (and it specifically cites the live version from this record as the definitive version).  Duane Allman is #9 and Dickey Betts is #61 on the list of the 100 Greatest Guitarists.  Gregg Allman is #70 on the list of the 100 Greatest Vocalists and the Allman Brothers Band is #53 on the list of the 100 Greatest Artists.

My favorite track: “You Don’t Love Me”

Honorable mention: “Whipping Post”

Quote: “Sometimes I feel like I’ve been tied to the whipping post”