Allman Brothers Band: The Final Note (Allman Brothers Band Recording Company) | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Monday, January 25th, 2021  

Allman Brothers Band

The Final Note

Allman Brothers Band Recording Company

Nov 23, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

On October 29, 1971, after visiting the Allman Brothers Band “Big House” homebase where he wished bassist Berry Oakley’s wife a happy birthday, founding member and guitarist virtuoso Duane Allman was fatally injured after his motorcycle swerved to miss an oncoming truck, flipped, and skidded 50 feet, causing massive internal injuries. Allman was just 24 years old. Twelve days prior, the band had finished a tour and was taking a short break before it planned to go back into the studio to finish the album that would become Eat a Peach. The Final Note is the final concert Allman Brothers Band played before taking that break.    

The album’s liner notes tell the story of Sam Idas, an 18-year-old high school graduate and part-time radio station employee who was given two press passes to the concert at Painters Mill Music Fair in Owings Mills, MD on 10/17/71 on an assignment to interview vocalist/organist Gregg Allman after the show. In testing his tape recorded prior to the show, Idas figured he might as well tape the concert. In storage for decades, Idas’ tape gathered dust, and in fact he didn’t even realize what he had until prompted to revisit his tape collection a few years ago by a friend. He digitized the tape and it made the rounds among friends and relatives until someone put two and two together and realized that what Idas had was Duane Allman’s final show.    

Let’s get one thing out of the way. Given that The Final Note was sourced from a cassette tape crowd recording from the early ’70s, the sound quality is not terrific. But fidelity aside (and the sound here is not bad, considering the circumstances), the historic nature of the concert takes ultimate precedence. Eight songs in length, The Final Note is relatively typical of an early ’70s Allman Brothers Band set, briefer perhaps due to the fact that the band played two shows on this night.    

Duane Allman’s slide guitar takes front and center stage from the opener, “Statesboro Blues.” “Trouble No More” is fire. “One Way Out” is also a showcase for Duane Allman’s slide. If the band is tired, with this being the final night of its tour, it certainly doesn’t show. After “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” which is incomplete here at only a hair over 6 minutes due to a tape cut, the show ends with a fiercely epic “Hot ‘Lanta” instrumental and a nearly 13-minute “Whipping Post.”    

For Allman Brothers Band fans, this might very well be the holy grail. Duane Allman’s final notes. A sad but glorious testament to a genius cut down in his prime. (  

Author rating: 7.5/10

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