The obvious significance of The Final Note -Painters Mill Music Fair, Owings Mills, MD 10-17-71
is evident in the title. This was the last performance by guitarist and Allman Brothers Band founder Duane Allman
before his motorcycle-related death 12 days later. An audience recording made on a 60- minute cassette tape by radio music journalist Sam Idas, the performance sounds exactly like that, an audience live recording, probably like the myriad of similar recordings made of the Grateful Dead by enthusiastic fans. The recording has a deeply organic and spontaneous sound. Hearing it today is akin to reading the Dead Sea Scrolls in all of their flawed glory on the day they were discovered.
Idas was only able to capture a portion of the concert due to the limited tape length (originally intended for an interview with the band). The recording fades out a blistering "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed," reorienting itself a bit past the beginning of "Hot 'Lanta," at a point conceivably where side-A ended and side-B begins. The complete setlist for the performance contained: "Blue Sky," "Stormy Monday," "You Don't Love Me," and "Revival," none of which were recorded. That is a loss.
What can be gleaned from this recording is a Gregg Allman
in better voice than on previous live recordings from the period. Duane Allman's playing is superior, reckless, slashing, searching. His opening note of "Don't Keep Me Wondering," a technical marvel, is beautifully defined with a sharp acuity and drive. Dickey Betts
is not as clearly defined in this performance. His solo on "One Way Out," sheer perfection on the Fillmore recording, is considerably less compelling here. The song is rushed, several beats-per-minutes faster than on the definitive recording. Allman's vocals are driven and invested. The dueling guitar break is exciting, the twin drums of Butch Trucks
and Jaimoe Johanson
revealing their intense value to the band.
Very much like Lowell George's The Last Tour
(Self Produced, 2016), this Allman Brothers Band recording would have never seen the light of day at the time. As archival materials, it is valuable to hear the abrupt coda to a magic run of music that would end the first of the Allman Brothers Band's many lives. This is not the way to hear the band, but in this case, it is all that is available and, for that, has value to all ABB fans.
Statesboro Blues; Trouble No More; Don’t Keep Me Wondering;
Done Somebody Wrong; One Way Out; In Memory of Elisabeth
Reed; Hot ‘Lanta; Whipping Post.