The Allman Brothers Band
Stony Brook 9/19/71

by John Lynskey

      On September 19th, 1971, the Allman Brothers Band rolled into Stony Brook, New York, a coastal hamlet on the northern shore of Long Island, to perform at the State University of New York campus. It was the band's fifth trip to SUNY, but September 19th marked the first time the band would be playing Stony Brook as a headlining act, and they would not disappoint.
      The crowd that day witnessed a band that was at the absolute height of spontaneous creativity, with music that ranged from loose, free-flowing jazz-like improvisation to whiskey-soaked blues, country swing to full blown rock - all of it delivered with a furious, right on the edge intensity. These guys truly played as they lived, and lived as they played. With Duane Allman's searing slide and lead lines, the melodic brilliance of Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley playing bass like a third guitar, Gregg Allman's distinct vocals and soothing B-3, and the dual syncopated drumming of Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, the sum total of the Allman Brothers Band was greater than the considerable talents of its individual parts. Their playing was a high-octane, explosive blend of eclectic styles that made each show completely unique the Allman Brothers might have played the same songs night after night, but they were never played the same way twice.
       Their September 19th appearance at Stony Brook captured the essence of the Allman Brothers Band in 1971 - and so much more. As was common, the band played two shows that Sunday, and this two CD release is a compilation of songs from both sets. Disc One kicks off with the traditional show-opening "Statesboro Blues," which is followed by a wicked "Trouble No More." Before sliding into "Don't Keep Me Wonderin'," Duane tells the crowd, "We enjoyed it last year, we'll enjoy it this year, and we'll enjoy it next year, I'm sure," a statement that would go sadly unfulfilled. A sparse and lean "Done Somebody Wrong" wraps up the tunes included from the day's opening show, and as the Brothers hammer through "One Way Out," it is clear that they were well into the groove during the evening performance. "Blue Sky" is 11 minutes of stretching improvisational beauty, "Stormy Monday" is sultry and steamy, while "You Don't Love Me" is a 25 minute run and gun exchange between Duane and Dickey.
       The second disc consists of two tracks: "Dreams," which is Duane Allman's 18-minute opus to the limits of slide guitar playing, and a spacey, exotic "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed," where the band pushes the song to the very edge of its boundaries, appropriately wrapping up one of the most creative days in ABB history.
       Five weeks later, while the band was back home in Macon, Georgia, 24 year old Duane Allman was killed in a motorcycle crash. His death on October 29th, 1971, cost rock music of one its greatest masters, while the Allman Brothers Band lost their founder and cornerstone. Although they would carry on and actually achieve their greatest commercial success without Duane, Stony Brook 9/19/71 features the Allman Brothers Band at their musical zenith before the circle was tragically broken. Enjoy, and play it loud.

Allman Brothers Band
Stony Brook 9/19/71

Disc #1
  1. Statesboro Blues [4:16]
  2. Trouble No More [4:00]
  3. Don't Keep Me Wonderin' [3:47]
  4. Done Somebody Wrong [3:54]
  5. One Way Out [5:08]
  6. Blue Sky [11:26]
  7. Stormy Monday [8:53]
  8. You Don't Love Me [25:47]
Disc #2
  1. Dreams [19:37]
  2. In Memory of Elizabeth Reed [19:43]

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