The full ti­tle is In Me­mory of El­iz­a­beth Reed; it was writ­ten by Dick­ey Betts of The All­man Brothers Band and is a high­light on their live al­bum At Fill­more East, a col­lec­tion of songs that is very spe­cial to a lot of peo­ple, in­clud­ing me. It’d be pret­ty ob­vi­ous­ly jazz if it weren’t for all the bril­liant rock-guitar im­prov.

Allman Brothers Live at Fillmore East

The al­bum is one of those rare oc­ca­sions when some­one did a great job of cap­tur­ing a live per­for­mance by an en­sem­ble at the ab­so­lute top of their for­m. I knew peo­ple who’ve seen the All­mans lots and I’ve nev­er heard any­one say they played bet­ter than on this record.

As for El­iz­a­beth Reed, you can read lots of long ex­ege­ses, and they all come back to the love­ly melod­ic uni­son of the open­ing and clos­ing, then Dick­ey Betts’ grace­ful lead-off break, then Duane’s sub­se­quent two-phase all-out as­sault. Al­to­geth­er, a thing you wouldn’t want the world to be with­out. As for El­iz­a­beth Reed? She’s a name on a grave­stone in a ceme­tery where the band used to hang out, and there is said to be a sto­ry be­hind the song in­volv­ing the wom­an and the ceme­tery but it wasn’t El­iz­a­beth.

This is the 111th in the Song of the Day se­ries (back­ground).

Links · Spo­ti­fy playlist. This tune on iTunes (al­bum on­ly), Ama­zon (like­wise), Spo­ti­fy. As for live video, there’s noth­ing that comes close to this per­for­mance. There is ac­tu­al­ly a record­ing of this edi­tion of the band play­ing this song, but they weren’t at their very best that night. Se­cond, here’s a com­pe­tent take by some next-gen All­mans and Eric Clap­ton, good but not spe­cial re­al­ly.

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April 21, 2018
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