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When you listen to classic rock, blues rock and blues it just always seems like there are so many great bands to be listening to. Back when I first started playing guitar, with my interest in these genres just starting to peak, I mentioned to another musically inclined friend of mine that I was interested in learning to play guitar. Of course his first recommendation of people to listen to was the Allman Brothers Band. I picked up Live at the Filmore East and listened to it non-stop for nearly a month... I was hooked.
That was a number of years but the intricate stretched out jams of the Allman Brothers Band and especially the unique guitar interplay between Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, speaks to me with soulful ferocity. Don't get me wrong, the band still made some great music after the tragic death of Duane Allman, but they just never reached the same peak in interplay again, in my opinion.
As a bit of a tribute to the late great Duane Allman and the Allman Brothers Band in general I thought I would include some clips of them playing live in 1970 that I've been watching on YouTube for a while.
The song is one of my favorites "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed", the venue I believe might even be the legendary Fillmore East (not sure thought, UPDATE: This has now been confirmed as being from the Filmore East Shows) and the band is in great form... such great form that, as was expected, they extended it out to around 12+ minutes... and so it has to be presented in two parts.
These clips come courtesy of craigtheairplaneman and YouTube and come with an interesting story. Apparently Craig is an author who's trying to promote his book Take Me to a Circus Tent. This book is on Jefferson Airplane and looks pretty neat. As a little thank you for uploading the clips, check out his site on the book here: http://www.takemetoacircustent.net/
Here's Part 1:
And Part 2:
I think why I this is one of my favorite songs by the Allman Brothers Band is that it is an instrumental, but there is so much melody, counter melody and harmony that you don't really notice there aren't any words at all. It's just a great bluesy, jazzy jam with so many intricate parts that come and go as the band seamlessly goes from the complete improvisation by one soloist back to crafted accents and flourishes. One of their greatest jam songs in my opinion and these two clips are a great example of that stretched out into a large format live, which is what the Allman Brothers Band always excelled at.
As I said, I'm particularly fond of Duane Allman's guitar work with this band and this song is a great example of that as well. The guitar work in general is impressive, so I'm not knocking Betts at all, but there's something slightly progressive about Duane Allman's blues licks along with tons of soul that makes him stand out.
If this is your first exposure to the Allman Brothers Band then I'd say it's a pretty good one as I prefer them live over their studio tracks (not by much though). This gives a great idea of how this band could take a song, jam for 12+ minutes and have it fly by, all the while exuding tons of emotion and soul.
Also, make sure to check out Craig's book on Jefferson Airplane if you get the chance. It sounds pretty interesting as well.
Oh and by the way, Craig's uploaded lots of other Allman Brothers Band clips to YouTube as well... There's a great performance of "Whipping Post" from this same show I believe (I was going to include it, but that one was in three parts). Check them out when you get the chance.