The original Allman Brothers Band had to be seen and heard live to be fully appreciated, and in 1971 I was fortunate to see them twice. Now we know that year to be bittersweet, a time of commercial and critical breakthrough as well as tragic heartbreak, but before either transpired, that year the Allman Brothers Band played multiple shows at Bill Graham’s Fillmore East music hall in New York City which were recorded. By that time the second Allman Brothers Band album Idlewild South had breached the Top 40 sales plateau for the first time, and bandleader Duane Allman had by then recorded the now-legendary Layla album with Eric Clapton as Derek and the Dominos. As a result, Duane Allman quickly was gaining a reputation as the premiere slide guitarist, and the band fronted by him and younger sibling Gregg Allman on vocals and organ headlined four shows over two nights in March at the Fillmore East as well as the venue’s closing night in late June 1971.
Even if you have collected the original Allman Brothers Band Live at Fillmore East (ranked impressively at 349 all time by Rolling Stone magazine on it’s Top 500 All Time list), the Eat a Peach live sides, the Duane Allman Anthologies 1 and 2, and the Dreams box set, there were fifteen additional live performances at the Fillmore East in 1971 that had never been released on vinyl until 2014 as The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings. Available as four vinyl records on the 45th anniversary of the original’s release, it is every note by the Allmans from the March and June shows. Notably, the entire first show on the first night, never available before, now comprises the entire first disc. In this classic rock interview, Gregg Allman and original guitarist along with Duane, former member Dickey Betts, recall the legendary performances. – Redbeard