Allman Brothers Band - American University - Washington, D.C. - 12.13.70 CD

This show was the first gig where Bert Holman corralled the Allman Brothers Band to play a show at his university. Eventually, Holman would manage the band so, this show isn’t just an excellent record of Allman, Betts, Oakley, Jaimoe.and Trucks burnin’ but quite a historical document, too. Hard to believe that Holman had to persuade his student body to get the band to play at his school but those were the early days.
ABB roars through a mixture of songs from the first and second sets of a typically flawless night--the Allmans, unlike other jambands of note, never had an infancy period where they weren't tight. In fact, this show is clear indication that the band already had an almost supernatural understanding of their mythic and classic quality. The disc has mouth-foaming, headbanging readings of "Statesboro Blues" and "Don't Keep Me Wonderin'" but, the real find here is the sublime stab at Gregg Allman's "Leave My Blues At Home" that offers deep Southern blues mixed with a workingman's ethos that is beyond their experience but, not their collective grasp. "You Don't Love Me" and "Whippin' Post" deepen the groove with Duane Allman and Dickey Betts building titanic mountains of notes and segueing into moments of reflective melodic riffs that tear holes in your heart. This disc is a vital document and certainly not for completists only. Next goal was The Conquest of Fillmore East but, at the American University, you can almost hear a Southern punk dog that hadn't been tamed into the symphonic beast that would appear in New York in 1971. Fill the glass with some ice, pour yourself a tall measure and kick back with whatever else you desire...this is the real kind goods, my friend, and a welcome addition to any road trip--Colorado, Georgia, D.C., or anywhere.

- Randy Ray