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.
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.
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.