Play All Night! Duane Allman and the Journey to Fillmore East

Bob Beatty

This book examines the importance of guitarist Duane Allman as a musician, his leadership of the Allman Brothers Band, and the power of ABB’s seminal 1971 album At Fillmore East, presented by an academically trained historian and ABB fan who acknowledges prior books but calls this “a biography of Duane’s music.”

Focused on the pre-ABB period when Duane and younger brother and vocalist/keyboardist Gregg were in failed groups, it delves into how oppressive management and record company creative control stifled Duane’s ideas and his vision for a band of equals incorporating different musical styles, stepping-stoned by his work as a Muscle Shoals studio musician and playing alongside Eric Clapton on Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs. One fascinating detail is how the ABB’s music was so powerful that, after rehearsals, they’d often sit in silence, stunned by what they’d just played.

At Fillmore East was culled from four of the Allmans’ six shows that March, and Beatty reasons it wasn’t merely a live album, but a planned artistic statement. In just three years, Duane had achieved his dream. Duane’s ultimate legacy, Beatty says, is the “…individual expression through live improvisational music” accomplished by At Fillmore East.

This article originally appeared in VG’s December 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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