Allman Brothers Band, Live at Ludlow Garage
Many years ago, a classmate gave me a bootleg cassette tape of an Allman Brothers Band concert. It was a Duane-era concert, complete with amp buzz, stage banter and audience noise. He did not know where it came from, what year it was recorded or anything else about it.
I enjoyed the tape, even with its tape hiss and dropout. Years later, I came across the Live at Ludlow concert from 1970. I quickly bought the CD, as I do with any Allman release, and discovered that the tape I had was this concert. Finally, I could hear the concert it its entirety. This concert is a great representation of the band as they were evolving and was just one of many concerts they played that year.
Some of the playing is raw, and they make a few mistakes here and there – all par for the course for a band that improvises much of their solos. That is one of the many reasons I love this band. They never were afraid to put themselves out there, to explore a new path on a song in front of an audience. Duane sometimes worked a mistake into the song, taking it in new directions.
Mountain Jam takes up goes on for about 44 minutes. It seems like they were just working this song out and experimenting with it. Barry Oakley gives a great effort with Hoochie Coochie Man, on a rare live recording of his singing. Dreams is also represented, a song not included on the Fillmore East concert. This version of Dreams is very understated, with Duane taking lengthy, slow slide solo. I do recall my original tape had Elizabeth Reed on it – the CD does not.
There are a number of Allman Brothers Band concerts from this time period that are finding their way out to the public. Most are only available for trading, as they were recorded by audience members and are traded among other tapers. The Allman Brothers Band did not mind recording and often encouraged it, as they were regarded as the "people's band."
Ludlow Garage, located in Cincinnati, started out as an automobile shop. It became a music venue in the late 60s. Santana, Spirit, The James Gang, Humble Pie were but a few of the many bands that performed there. Ludlow Garage was small, seating only about 300. Imagine being that close to so many legendary bands.
Here is a list of all the shows played at Ludlow Garage.