The Allman Brothers Band Reviewed

The Allman Brothers Band Reviewed

The Allman Brothers Band

At Fillmore East Deluxe Edition (Mercury)

The Allman Brothers Band

Live at the Atlanta International Pop Festival (Epic/Legacy)

The Allman Brothers Band at Fillmore East was always a hack job. Nineteen stitches from "You Don't Love Me," the jazz caress of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed," and 23 long, hard lashes of blues history on "Whipping Post" make the case otherwise, of course. Yet the Allmans helped usher in the era of bootlegged concerts, and as such, even at the time of its release, the now legendary Fillmore set was a truncated sampler of the band's live sovereignty. Compare the double LP's original 78-minute run time to that of the newly restored Deluxe Edition at 134 minutes. Overseen by Bill Levinson, who invented CD box sets with Eric Clapton's Crossroads and the Allman Brothers' Dreams, the 2-CD Fillmore Deluxe edits back in outtakes from the March 12 & 13, 1971, concerts that found their way onto 1972's succeeding Eat a Peach, and the pair of Duane Allman anthologies that appeared after the guitarist's death. The original, edited Fillmore remains undeniably electrifying, but the restoration makes sense and is equally awe inspiring, if not more so. "You Don't Love Me" still fades out "Whipping Post" loosening its juggernaut, but now "Stormy Monday" slides into the forever ripping "One Way Out," while "Whipping Post," "Mountain Jam," and Elvin Bishop's "Drunken Hearted Boy" end the set as they did all those lifetimes ago. Simply having "One Way Out" reunited with its kin improves the legendary album immeasurably. Recorded eight months before the initial Fillmore stand, the 2-CD Live at the Atlanta International Pop Festival features more or less the same set list as Fillmore. Recorded over two days and clocking in at almost 155 minutes, it's an altogether earthier performance, particularly Berry Oakley's turn at the mic on "Hoochie Coochie Man" and the rain delay during "Mountain Jam." Nevertheless, wrapping with 28 thumping minutes of the second show's "Mountain Jam," Atlanta proves once again that this jazz collective populated by bluesmen on a rock & roll bender was the ultimate fusion.

(Fillmore) ****

(Atlanta) ***

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