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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Allman Brothers Band: Live At The Atlanta Pop Festival


CD I: 1) Introduction; 2) Statesboro Blues; 3) Trouble No More; 4) Don't Keep Me Wondering; 5) Dreams; 6) Every Hungry Woman; 7) Hoochie Coochie Man; 8) In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed; 9) Whipping Post; 10) Mountain Jam (part 1); 11) Rain Delay; 12) Mountain Jam (part 2); CD II: 1) Introduction; 2) Don't Keep Me Wondering; 3) States­boro Blues; 4) In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed; 5) Stormy Monday; 6) Whipping Post; 7) Mountain Jam.

Hungry for more of the true, genuine, authentic, original, unforged Allman Brothers? Look no further than this 2-CD monster, recorded July 3rd and 5th (actually, 6th, since the show closed around dawn) at the second Atlanta International Pop Festival, held, as the name clearly suggests, nowhere other than Byron, Georgia (quite a bit removed from Atlanta, but you gotta admit, «The Byron Festival» might have brought in an entirely different brand of people, especially since Da­vid Byron of Uriah Heep fame had only released his first album a month before that and was of no particular fame to get confused with Lord Byron).

Anyway, Byron, Georgia is right in the middle of Peach County, making it the perfectly atmos­pheric place for the Allmans to perform. For some reason, the previous year's Atlanta Pop Festi­val was marred with a confusion, as the Bros. were booked for the venue by a fake booker (!) and, upon arrival, were denied the right to play (!!). To compensate, perhaps, for the embarrassment, for the second (and, as it turned out, last) Festival they were allowed to both open and close it. Which they did, and both of the shows are reproduced on this set.

Honestly speaking, despite the hugeness of this thing, it is not nearly as good as either Fillmore East or «the Allmans doing their proto-punkish thing» on Ludlow Garage. The sound quality is quite all right, and the playing is tight, complex, and as honest as you could expect, but the little things that turn the band's excellent shows into explosive ones are not quite there. Either the fes­tival grounds did not quite agree with them, or the festival atmosphere — not every outfit can be always happy playing these huge outdoor venues — but neither Duane nor Dickey seem to be interested in burning up their guitars.

Everything that is out-of-the-ordinary with this album (and that does not necessarily surmise «awesome») revolves around 'Mountain Jam'. During the first show, the band was interrupted by upcoming rainclouds, and had to return to the stage after a while, making the performance kind of smothered and shortened. For the second show, however, they managed to get by uninterrupted, with a classic 28-minute length and accompanied by Johnny Winter on second slide guitar — al­though only a seasoned listener could tell that there is a third guitar out there, and only a genius could guess who it belongs to.

Otherwise, it makes perfect sense that, with the vaults opened, the band's first choice was Ludlow: this performance is strictly for the fans who can already recreate every note of Fillmore in their minds, or for those who do serious research on the history of pop music festivals (for some rea­son, the Allmans remain so far the only band that has released its set from the festival, despite a boat­load of classic artists also contributing — did they have a monopoly on the use of recording equipment or what? Actually, I believe some bootleg-quality videos of Hendrix's performance also seem to be floating around). On the other hand, the original Allmans in their prime probably never ever really played a bad show — so if it somehow happens that this can be your introduc­tion to the band, don't flinch.

Check "Live At The Atlanta Pop Festival" (CD) on Amazon
Check "Live At The Atlanta Pop Festival" (MP3) on Amazon

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