The Friday Morning Listen: The Allman Brothers Band – At Fillmore East (1971)

So now we have the latest news in the long saga of the Allman Brothers. It has been announced that Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks will be leaving the band. Analysis is flying around the Internet in the attempt to determine what the next lineup might be. There are plenty of possible candidates, including Doyle Bramhall II, Little Feat’s Fred Tacket, Gregg’s son Devon, and founding member Dickey Betts.

There’s one possibility that brings with it a lot of sadness: the end of the Allmans. It’s not really that far fetched. Gregg has had his health issues, as has Mr. Betts. As they say, they’re not getting any younger. So could this be the end? I hope not.

Speaking of retirement, in a new Rolling Stone interview with Bruce Springsteen, questions about motivation spurred by mortality’s obvious presence had Bruce repeating a phrase he’s used before: “The light from the oncoming train focuses the mind.” Yes, I bet it does. Of course, the cynics can’t help themselves, disregarding Bruce’s commentary on his creative process while they slag off High Hopes as just a grab bag of misfit songs.

I’ll come right out and say it. This stuff just plain depresses me. Yes, I know that nothing is permanent. But then I’ll go and listen to Springsteen whipping the crowd into a frenzy at the Hammersmith Odeon in 1975, or the Allmans tearing through “In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed” in 1971 and the irrational part of me feels like these people will live forever. The rational part of me looks at the list of artists we’ve lost in the past year and knows better.

For the longest time, the only Allman Brothers record I had was a copy of Enlightened Rogues that I pulled from the cutout bin at the University of Maine bookstore. A few years later At Fillmore East came into my collection. On first listen, the power was undeniable, a power that all these years has not diminished. I’m hoping that Gregg Allman and company bring in some new blood and burn on down the road a few more stretches. Retirement? It’s not time yet.

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Mark Saleski

Mark Saleski is a writer and music obsessive based out of the woods of central New Hampshire. A past contributor to Jazz.com, Blogcritics.org and Salon, he writes several weekly features including the Friday Morning Listen, (Cross the) Heartland, WTF! Wednesday, and Sparks Fly on E Street. Follow him on Twitter: @msaleski. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.