The Allman Brothers Band in 1970 were on the brink of superstardom. They had only been together for 11 months when promoter Bill Graham, who had booked them in San Francisco and New York, invited them back to Fillmore East on a triple bill with Grateful Dead and Love. And fortunately for us, the Dead’s soundman (and early acid progenitor) Owsley “Bear” Stanley had his tapes rolling.
Drawn from Bear’s Sonic Journals titled Allman Brothers Band Fillmore East February 1970, the sonically restored and mastered recordings of the Allman Brothers Band’s performances at the Fillmore East on February 11th, 13th and 14, 1970 were captured by Bear, who is known for the purity of his “Sonic Journal” recordings. The performances feature the earliest known live concert recording of Dickey Betts’ monstrous instrumental number “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” It will be released August 10th by Allman Brothers Band Recording Company (Orchard Distribution).
The original limited-edition mail order only recording quickly sold out and is long out-of-print. This release is freshly restored and mastered from original tapes in Owsley Stanley’s archives, and includes sonic restoration, all new album art and liner notes, including a series of rare band photos from the Fillmore East in February 1970, original cover artwork (“Electric Mushroom”), and new notes from the Allman Brothers Band and the Owsley Stanley Foundation. This is the second release in the award-winning “Bear’s Sonic Journals” series and the first joint presentation by the Allman Brothers Band and the Owsley Stanley Foundation.
Although the Allman Brothers Band in early 1970 had but one studio album under their belt, word of mouth about their incendiary and improvisational marathon live shows had begun to spread. In his new liner notes, ABB authority and Hittin’ The Note magazine editor John Lynskey aptly describes the Allman Brothers Band’s music as a “wicked blend of rock, jazz and R&B that created a dynamic, groundbreaking sound.”
Presented by the Owsley Stanley Foundation and the band — Duane Allman, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Jaimoe aka J. Johanny Johnson and Butch Trucks — Bear’s Sonic Journals captures the nascent group on the rise; they would return to the Fillmore just a year later to record At Fillmore East, which continues to be included in conversations about the best live rock albums ever. This seven-song set includes their take on blues covers that the band would long employ in their sets (“Hoochie Coochie Man,” “Statesboro Blues”), the morphable spin-off of Donovan’s “Mountain Jam,” the ominous Gregg Allman composition “Whipping Post” plus the earliest known live recordings of their show opener, Dickey Betts’ monstrous instrumental “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed.”
“I had no prior experience with mixing their music, so I hope you don’t mind the rough edges in my mixes here,” writes Bear in the original liner notes for this collection. “There was a wonderful feeling at these concerts that made the shows a lot of fun for us all…I had a good time working at these shows, and I hope you will have a good time listening to this historic early Allman Brothers Band.”
As a special bonus for hardcore fans, the full known recordings from all three nights can be downloaded at owsleystanleyfoundation.org.
1. In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed 9:22
2. Hoochie Coochie Man 6:05
3. Statesboro Blues 4:17
4. Trouble No More 4:11
5. Outskirts Of Town 8:30
6. Whipping Post 8:11
7. Mountain Jam 30:46
Author: Buddy Iahn
Buddy Iahn founded The Music Universe when he decided to juxtapose his love of web design and music. As a lifelong drummer, he decided to take a hiatus from playing music to report it. The website began as a fun project in 2013 to one of the top independent news sites.