Review: The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings

Originally released as the classic double LP live album, At Fillmore East is widely regarded as one of the finest live recordings ever produced from The Allman Brothers Band and from any band in general. The resulting album was built up from recordings taken over four shows spread out across 1971 and for the first time ever, they are all presented here in a stunning six CD box-set.

Admittedly, when you look at the original album release, it really is pointless trying to improve on an already perfect album. At Fillmore East was the best representation of what the band could do at that specific point in time and the performances gathered were for the most part, were the best of the bunch. But what was left on the cutting room floor was also of extremely high quality and has been gathered in full on this stunning The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings box set.

For some people, a six disc box set featuring five full shows from the band’s 1971 line up might seem like overkill. There are a lot of duplicate songs that will seem a little pointless and that is perfectly understandable. After all, how many of you really want five similar versions of Statesboro Blues or four far out renditions of In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. The feeling of treading the same ground is always there and can be considered a negative for those who don’t enjoy such repetition.

However, for the fans that desire to hear the original The Allman Brothers Band line up in their prime will be all over this collection. Each performance features the band’s improvisation at it’s best and their natural skill at their peak as they blast their way through so many fan favourites with endless amounts of energy and talent. All of which has been superbly preserved with production that easily rivals the original two disc release. The sound is very smooth and has just enough sterility to provide the listener with a great clear sound. By this I mean that there is very little in the way of amplifier humming or crowd noise, the kind of sounds that usually drown out a band on live releases. The lack of such things means the musicians all come across clear as day and have their parts perfectly preserved as a timeless recording.

Frequent listeners of The Allman Brothers Band should know what to expect by this point. Hearing the band crank up a thirty three minute rendition of Mountain Jam is always fun. But where my interest peaked is the recordings that feature the saxophone player, Rudolph “Juicy” Carter. This fellow is only featured on the two shows recorded on March 12th with his presence mainly heard on In Memory of Elizabeth Reed. The addition of a saxophone is quite interesting for someone who has heard the band play this song on numerous live albums. At points the sound of the saxophone mixes well with the guitar, but when Mr Carter attempts a solo, he clearly shows his inability to play to the same standard as the rest of the band. His addition to the March 12th recordings might be off putting for some. For me, it added some much needed change and it makes me wonder what the song would have sounded like had they had a more capable musician on stage with them.

The packaging for The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings is also quite good on the eye. All six CDs are housed in cardboard sleeves next to an extensive beautifully produced book that will give fans insight to the album before them. As far as box sets go, this one does not just sound great but it also feels it. The weighty feel and overall quality is extremely high and is absolutely a must have for fans of The Allman Brothers Band.

For fans like myself who are late comers to the bands music, this box set is a great place to start. Each performance is through the roof in terms of skill and sound. It doesn’t beat or replace the original recording but it does expand on it’s already widely regarded perfection. With that, it is a shame to say that The 1971 Fillmore East Recordings is currently out of stock physically from most retailers and is going for a shockingly high price. If you fancy picking up these recordings, your best and cheapest option is to look for a digital download via Amazon or other digital music stores. The current asking price on Amazon is £22 and in my opinion, it is worth every penny.

Rating : 10 / 10

Where to buy :

Track Listing :

  1. Statesboro Blues (March 12th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 1)
  2. Trouble No More (March 12th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 1)
  3. Don't Keep Me Wondering (March 12th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 1)
  4. Done Somebody Wrong (March 12th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 1)
  5. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (March 12th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 1)
  6. You Don't Love Me (March 12th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 1)
  7. Statesboro Blues (March 12th, 1971 - Second Show) (CD 2)
  8. Trouble No More (March 12th, 1971 - Second Show) (CD 2)
  9. Don't Keep Me Wondering (March 12th, 1971 - Second Show) (CD 2)
  10. Done Somebody Wrong (March 12th, 1971 - Second Show) (CD 2)
  11. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (March 12th, 1971 - Second Show) (CD 2)
  12. You Don't Love Me (March 12th, 1971 - Second Show) (CD 2)
  13. Whipping Post (March 12th, 1971 - Second Show) (CD 2)
  14. Hot Lanta (March 12th, 1971 - Second Show) (CD 2)
  15. Statesboro Blues (March 13th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 3)
  16. Trouble No More (March 13th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 3)
  17. Don't Keep Me Wonderin' (March 13th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 3)
  18. Done Somebody Wrong (March 13th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 3)
  19. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (March 13th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 3)
  20. You Don't Love Me (March 13th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 3)
  21. Whipping Post (March 13th, 1971 - First Show) (CD 3)
  22. Statesboro Blues (March 13th, 1971 - Second Show Part 1) (CD 4)
  23. One Way Out (March 13th, 1971 - Second Show Part 1) (CD 4)
  24. Stormy Monday (March 13th, 1971 - Second Show Part 1) (CD 4)
  25. Hot Lanta (March 13th, 1971 - Second Show Part 1) (CD 4)
  26. Whipping Post (March 13th, 1971 - Second Show Part 1) (CD 4)
  27. Mountain Jam (March 13th, 1971 - Second Show Part 2) (CD 5)
  28. Drunken Hearted Boy (March 13th, 1971 - Second Show Part 2) (CD 5)
  29. Bill Graham Introduction/Statesboro Blues (June 27th, 1971 - Fillmore East Closing Show) (CD 6)
  30. Don't Keep Me Wonderin' (June 27th, 1971 - Fillmore East Closing Show) (CD 6)
  31. Done Somebody Wrong (June 27th, 1971 - Fillmore East Closing Show) (CD 6)
  32. One Way Out (June 27th, 1971 - Fillmore East Closing Show) (CD 6)
  33. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed (June 27th, 1971 - Fillmore East Closing Show) (CD 6)
  34. Midnight Rider (June 27th, 1971 - Fillmore East Closing Show) (CD 6)
  35. Hot Lanta (June 27th, 1971 - Fillmore East Closing Show) (CD 6)
  36. Whipping Post (June 27th, 1971 - Fillmore East Closing Show) (CD 6)
  37. You Don't Love Me (June 27th, 1971 - Fillmore East Closing Show) (CD 6)