I was going through the site the other day, and I said, “Hey, we haven’t reviewed a single live record!!”. Yes, the site is young, and we have just started on our journey, but that doesn’t mean that I am not gonna review live records!! So I decided that I might as well make an auspicious start to my live records reviewing career, by doing one of my favourite live records of all time.
For the uninitiated (who could these be? have you been living on a different planet or what? are you aliens from outer space? are you from the Mhavi tribe of Madagascar?), Allman Brothers Band is a legendary southern rock/blues/jazz band famous for the slide guitar technique of the late great founding member Duane Allman, (also refer to the Derek Trucks Band, whose founder Derek Trucks, has been a longtime member of the Allman Bros Band. He imitated/was influenced by the Duane Allman Slide Guitar tone for a long time).
Goin' Down South!!
However, at the point when this album was released, all the founding members were intact, and one happy family, had released two LPs (The Allman Brothers Band, Idlewild South), and then decided to make a live recording of their works so far. They also decided that they wanted this to be a sort if improvisational jam, a free for all, where the performers just take the basic theme of the studio recordings and then go ballistic. So, this ended up being a 2-disc live set, where we have 20 minute long jams sprayed all over the place!! Of course if you like the slide guitar tone of Duane Allman, this is heaven on earth. Its all about Duane, for a large part of the recording. While many times I would complain about one particular instrument overshadowing everything else, not in this case. They knew what they had going, and they just capitalized on the same.
We have 20 minute long jams sprayed all over the place!!
My favourites are Whipping Post and In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, far and away. If you have heard the studio versions, and liked those, then don’t expect to get the same thing here, coz that was a decade where a live recording meant something other than a booster for the rest of the catalogue produced by record company executives hungry for your hard earned money. In that time, a live recording meant that you were gonna get something you hadn’t got before. While that turned out to be a failed experiment many a time, when it succeeded, you got something godly, like this album. Live records do not mean that you have to show the crowd that you can play the songs exactly like you did in the studio.(Rush, Dream Theater, Pain of Salvation, Porcupine Tree, all the rest of the prog rock wankers, I am looking at you.)
Coming back to the record, I do not think there is much left to say. On the down note though, I do not like the 33 minute Mountain Jam. It is good, but after a point of time I lose the thread and forget the main theme, unlike say, on the 20 minute Whipping Post. They just keep on doodling and doodling. It might provide an erection to hardcore blues rock wankers, but I do not fall in that category, so it falls a little flat on me. Other than that, this sounds very live, very right.
More ALLMAN BROTHERS reviews HERE.
More BLUES/BLUES ROCK reviews HERE.
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