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In Memory of Elizabeth Reed off of the Eat a Peach Deluxe CD from the June 27, 1971 closing of the Fillmore opens up deliciously smooth and elegant. The band just slides into a relaxed tempo and it’s the most refreshing version of this number I have heard. Here the band is taking its time. The intensity slowly builds like true love making ought to be through this excursion.

The lead work is original and in the moment. The drums splash beautifully in the background as Dickey drives his vision forward with the band having his back all the way. After you play so long together you have a true sense where your band mate is going and you are allowed to listen and get there with them. You can really hear this in Berry’s playing and the drums, oh the drums gently sitting in the mix right where they should be never over powering but well heard. The rhythm section has the anchor and counterpoint in complete subtle sympathetic syncopation.

Gregg jumps in with short chord runs sharply leading the band. The clarity of the mix is perfect with the organ fully heard out front and it chimes and grooves and swaggers righteously. It sounds beautiful, fresh and inventive….then his brother steps up….

Biting, sharp, relentless guitar attacks funk out before sailing off and then returning to a blistering foray all the while Butch, Jaimoe Gregg and Berry keep the tempo locked down as we drift off into a meditative frame punctuated by mid tone arpeggios as the band sways easily like spanish moss….and then the gibsons get vicious, biblical with fierce clean attacks and not overwrought then settling down again for more delicious mid tone punctuations the entire band right there as the drum sticks come forward just a bit then everyone builds together catching fire once more in a tenacious drive while the overall groove stays calm and cool….(how the fuck do you play the guitar like that) fantastic as they perpetuate the drive forward abruptly to the drums briefly and then back to the closing and locking it back down as they close the door on their creation. Holy shit what’s behind that door they just opened and what kind of force, power and vision did they tap into in that graveyard? It’s a thing of monstrous beauty whatever it is and strongly rendered. This is a sublime ferocious and beautiful version of a seminal tune.

In Memory of Elizabeth Reed deserves its own spot in the Smithsonian and for that reason I’m singling it out here. We all know the tune there must be thousands of renditions but this one reads all the passages in such a refreshing calm inventive and fierce manner. The nuanced beginning followed by the expansive meditative dynamic giving way to the fiery crescendos and the thundering close. It’s a standout version at once both mellow and intense with a deep deep groove. Upon hearing it again after so many years with fresh ears it is all too clear while some of us have the good fortune to be totally obsessed by this band and their music…

Eat a Peach – the Deluxe Edition with the second disc devoted to the closing of the Fillmore in June is a freakin’ tour de force. Scorching through the stratosphere Hot Lanta is just fantastic. The mix is stellar and I’ve been listening to it on crappy car and desk top speakers as well as my treasured Polks. Berry is clearly heard and of course the tone of the guitars is so vintage, biting, just the right amount of fuzz not overwhelming to distort the true tone of the notes just scorching. The twin drums are settled in so nicely and everything is heard with the Hammond B-3 building slowly to a crescendo and then punctuating the soul groove.

The way the band and Berry jump out on Whipping Post is serious. Whether it’s my imagination or not it sure sounds up tempo to me. Berry is more than ready to bring it and it feels like he catches the band by surprise as he furiously launches into the opening… so great to hear and it’s a pace that doesn’t let up…. as the boys just go with it – oh my the little touches on the guitar twin attack. I have to stop myself right now or I’ll spend the next twenty minutes celebrating every note, turn, phrase, sound and riff just beautifully rendered together. I mean the tone of that band and tighter than tight. Gregg’s vocals are heard beautifully just right above the mix.

When they slow it down you can hear that B-3 just stalking the band the chords sustaining like wind through your hair. Their gentle segues arrive tear inducing as they reach for the heavens follow. If you don’t get a lump in your throat you don’t know how to listen to music.

Get Eat a Peach back out and it will seduce you with its magic so passionately. I’m so happy that it was captured in real time for all time just a blistering messianic journey to the soul of creation.

It’s mind boggling how a band can sound this excellent, the drive and the power, the determination. Music wasn’t a distraction it was a mission.

Stand Back I’m laser locked on that tune the way it jumps out and grabs you with that riff. The Allman Brothers knew what they were doing and the lyrics “a dagger in my back while she’s calling me honey” just fantastic. Look a lot has been written about the jazz influence on the ABB – granted – and it’s all good and true but don’t forget the funk. They can authentically bring that swing and swagger just funkin, funktastic. Funkified freaks every funkin where they funkin can the ABB throw that groove at a very righteous magnitude with Berry and Butch as far into the pocket with Gregg grinding the soul foundation and Jaimoe painting over the top.

“Hey have you seen my copy of Eat a Peach” wait I can hear it blaring upstairs in my sisters room. As I open the door Amy and her friends are moving to Les Brers as if their lives depended on it – “just don’t scratch it” as the door slams back in my face.

Stand Back – when listening to Eat a Peach and believe me it was almost impossible to get to as I had to pry The Fillmore Concerts out of my player – its beguiling to think, project where and what the band was going to do next had brother Duane decided to stick around for some more studio albums. His contribution to Les Bres alone would have taken that tune to another level and I say that absolutely loving that butt shaking tune that Berry just rumbles through.

Okay so maybe I’m stating the obvious but we really only get Blue Sky, Stand Back and Little Martha as studio cuts from Eat a Peach. It’s an immense rip off by the music gods. I know, I know they are a live band and Duane is more than well represented on the Eat a Peach Album I’m listening to the Deluxe Edition with the June 1971 closing of the Fillmore represented on the second disc. It’s a wonderful compilation with excellent liner notes, packaging and throwback labeling on the discs. But contrast Stand Back, Blue Sky and Little Martha for a moment and hold them in your mind. Each tune is in its own right a different genre. While Stand Back is the fuel injected brothers swaggering through their composition Blue Sky is its melodic counter point. Much like their playing these two songs back to back represent the branches of the tree that was the Allman Brothers. They are two tonal opposites yet together much like Dickey and Duane trading riffs. Of course Gregg is writing here and Dickey is writing there but what brings them together the playing of Duane is a very necessary bridge. Not to draw too fine a point on it but Duane was the glue that kept Dickey and Gregg together and without Duane they blew apart and it’s no one’s fault and their personal vision which they were more than entitled too and deserved were different but Duane was the Fulcrum through which their immense talents traveled.

Considering the emergence of the sound that Dickey was bringing forward (Blue Sky) and the swagger of the ABB (Stand Back) and then Little Martha is it really that far out to imagine an all-acoustic album considering Dickey’s Highway Call effort (which I freaking love) and Duane’s solo work with Sam Samudio as featured on the track Goin’ Upstairs? Would it have been so far out of the question that the Allman Brothers with Duane would have done a record sounding like Taj Mahal melded with their swagger? Considering all their influences that were revealed the above mentioned Highway Call and Gregg’s Low Country Blues would such a collective effort over time eclipsed or outfitted the Dawg Music genre with the power of the blues as opposed to just Django? It’s fascinating to imagine what that would have sounded like.

Much has been written and spoken about Duane and the Trane – John Coltrane and Miles – righteous brothers indeed and Tom Dowd’s jazz cat ways but what about the root of the tree of music as embodied by Little Martha? How much more of that would we have seen and heard (Pony Boy)? What would have Duane’s input done to Jessica and Southbound (songs I am passionate about)?

So here we are with Eat a Peach and we just have three studio cuts that are dynamic and all together different and just the greenest of shoots of the myriad of directions this band would have taken, could have taken, fanning off like a giant river oak.

The tree of music that remained and rebirthed time and time again was fortuitous and mighty in its own right and we are all the better for its perseverance, fortitude, drive and power but for a moment play the what if game and use Stand Back, Blue Sky and Little Martha as your jumping off points.

I’m a big fan of the ABB studio work as well, Gregg’s and Dickey’s solo efforts but imagine if it had all stayed together – just three studio cuts from Eat a Peach point the way.

Still listening to the Fillmore Concerts 1992 mix by Tom Dowd – Whipping Post is just crazy – the first six minutes dissolve into an amalgamation of themes, trances, movements and refrains that eclipse the standard format of what a popular song is and evolve into art. The shifts that this live exploration of sound make are a kin to winding through a mountain pass so subtle and soft are their landings you may fail to notice every strand of grass or shift in rock formation but they are there.

In its whole its a creative work of genius and the gods but each note, arpeggio and sonic exploration has a purpose and melds from the righteous spirit that drove their creation in the first place.

Their work together on these recordings are true compositions rivaling the masters Bach, and Mozart. Call it jazz, call it rock n roll but it is so much more and beyond the “jam band” moniker its ridiculous. Get this music out listen to it again deeply and pay attention. If you think you know it because you listened to it repeatably years ago you will be surprised at the sophistication, the maturity, the musicianship and the touches and flourishes that permeate the main themes and arcs. It’s quite unbelievable what is going on here as the musicians work together and intertwine with each other.

Eat a Peach is on deck next on my musical sojourn back through their catalogue but its going to have to wait for a while more as I re-listen to disc two and circle back to the first disc – I really don’t see an end in sight and that in and of itself is a beautiful thing.

My oh my this is a great shot of the original sextet working the simultaneous groove. It looks like its Berry’s turn to break out notice where Butch’s eyes are watching on Berry’s hands.

I can’t over emphasis the beauty, power and velocity of talented musicians owning their musicianship fighting the urge of ego, working together and delivering the goods like no other.

A friend of mine asked me to differentiate between the grateful dead and the allman brothers after I laughed out loud (its a blotter vs mushrooms, roses vs peaches thing) I thought for a moment. Please know I’m a veteran of decades of both bands and I would simply state the ABB locked in more often, stronger and together. It’s degrees of variation but while the grateful dead was more of a cosmic soup sloshing around the bowl of existence lapping up side to side with solar flares of transcendence over heart aching ballads and thundering reverberation following Jerry religiously no matter what blind alley he lead them down, through or up the Allman Brothers Band in contrast jumped on that first note like a skim boarder ridding a wave as far as it would take them then turning and charging after the next wave of music and consciousness shredding the lip catching air, turning and pivoting with the waves. Tighter by necessity the ABB driven by a freight train of rhythm, organ and bass achieved thundering elevation immediately while the Dead meandered wobbly floating seemingly directionless then focusing sharply in an Escher like pattern getting there sooner or later but getting there they did.

I watched Pelicans dive for game yesterday afternoon striking their targets, diving in directly from over head in a straight line quickly and with acceleration hitting their targets repeatably over and over again – the visualization of screaming marshals and stalking thundering rhythm in a cascade of movement and righteous glorious splash reversing gravity throwing water in the air as they submerged and reemerged floating then taking flight again seemingly effortlessly sweeping through the air wings fully extended only to recoil and strike again. It was something to marvel at and behold and it looked like music to me and felt like something heavenly

I want you to take a good look at these musicians and how they are all concentrating and looking at each other. This is how its done. It’s Dickey’s turn a guitar god in his own right to lead but the ensemble playing behind him including Duane is playing “with” him and working, concentrating, and listening in order to weave in and out of the magic.

Each musician is propelling the other and informing the other as the music takes direction. It is an amazing amount of good fortune that this sextet with these specific musicians was captured live by such a renowned and skilled producer Tom Dowd.

Fillmore East as I have just been re-listening to it only recently is a freaking stunning collection of musicianship,and fire. It is an outrageously groove driven pallet of sound, an avalanche of intricacy and composition with halting pinnacles of contemplation and I haven’t even gotten to the second disc yet.

I’m listening to “The Fillmore Concerts” a 1992 remaster of the original release just as the ABB were emerging again off the heals of the Dream Box set and Seven Turns. I’m ecstatic to have it in my collection and truth be told haven’t listened to it in decades as I was all in on the later day sextet with Warren Haynes, Derek Trucks and Oteil Burbridge.

Berry Oakley’s bass work while never receiving as much press as Duane’s guitar skill, drive and vision possess the same amount of finesse, brilliance, heart, drive and fire. It is something to behold listening to the original six working together and it is a miracle that this moment in time was captured. Imagine if this recording suffered the fate of the Layla sessions ohhh my what a tragedy that would have been. Instead we have this prodigious amalgamation of the pinnacle of music that is certainly the Mount Everest of music here on Earth and quite possibly a sliver of what it must sound like in heaven – effortlessly dancing and commingling each note, chord and beat thundering through its woven path, barreling through passages of time momentarily settling like a light rain upon your soul and then exploding like a volcano. You better believe it was all about the music and if you bring any other attitude to the stage you suck.

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