The Allman Brothers Band – Down In Texas ’71
Let me first clarify that this live CD is entertaining but more of a curiosity for fans, purists, historians & archivists. Despite stellar playing (to be expected from The Allman Brothers) – few listeners will sit through the poor recording quality. Engineers cleaned up the source tapes & did an admirable job. The lead guitars of Duane Allman & Dickey Betts smoke, Greg Allman’s vocals are strong & the epitome of the genre. But the volume on track 1 goes in, out & is an annoyance.
This 1971 Sept. 28th show in the Austin Municipal Auditorium was hot. 9 cuts showcase the talents of the entire band. But doesn’t replace the officially released live albums. Down In Texas ’71 (Allman Brothers Band Recordings/Dropped March 26th) is a curiosity. The band was a forerunner of Lynyrd Skynyrd, the Marshall Tucker Band among others. The Allman’s were more appreciated because vocalist Gregg Allman had vocals rooted in the blues, unlike the others. His tone & style married up to Duane’s & Betts’ guitars is what dynamic defines.
However, like many poorly recorded, excellent live shows (like some of John Mayall’s) – this was a band that should’ve had professional tape machines on a roll always. Though Gregg captures the groove & atmosphere fine, this CD at times makes it hard to decipher Gregg’s vocal. The guitar soars on “Don’t Keep Me Wonderin’” & it’s a shame it wasn’t captured better.
The musicians were the original 6 & a guest sax player (Juicy Carter) during this show. That alone is a reason this document is important. Some songs are recorded better than others. On “One Way Out,” Berry Oakley’s bass is solid, the lead, as exciting as it is unfortunately distorted & muddy. Duane & Betts is often showcased better. Toward the end, the song catches fire. The band admits not all songs worked with the sax (Juicy Carter) – which is hardly noticeable.
The highlight may be Duane’s guitar on the 15-minute jam of “You Don’t Love Me,” becomes quite heavy for 1971 at the 7-minute mark. The T-Bone Walker classic “Stormy Monday,” is good. Gregg though never squeezes as much blues angst out of the song that vocalist/organist Lee Michaels did.
“Hot ‘Lanta,” seems the best recorded live cut on the entire LP. You can hear every instrument. I also suspect this cut is not from the same performance. I could be wrong.
This live show was about a month before Duane Allman’s death, Oct. 29th. Cuts were all previously not heard unless you were in the audience that night. The 13-minute Duane & Berry Oakley interview is only of interest to hear their voices speak.
Produced by the Allman Brothers Band, the 1 hour & 14-minute CD is available @ https://allmanbrothersband.com/community/general-chat-anything-goes/abb-down-in-texas-71/