Cymbal #5:: The Allman Brothers Band and The Art of the Jam

Written by  //  August 17, 2010  //  Media & Popular Culture  //  2 Comments

You don’t have to dig southern blues rock; you don’t have to be massively into slide guitars or odd timings or anything at all to love this song. It doesn’t even take patience. In fact, I think the basic requirement is pretty much just being human.

The second that bassline kicks in, something big and serious begins, a bassline like that is too good to be used for anything shorter than this anything less monumental. This is the sort of jam that builds a house and then keeps embellishing it. And it all stands on the foundation of that marathon-runner of a bassline. 

The Allman Brother’s Band – Whipping Post – 1970

watch?v=KHhKnc0XZrs

If you’re used to seeing lots of recent shows, what may surprise you is the lack of distance , both physically and sonically, between the band members – the sound emerges as from one source, fused and melted together like a chocolate bar. That bassline never actually disappears; even when the bassist hooks off on a brief psychedelic meander, the riff preserves it’s memory. 

What really knocks my socks off this jam never loses tension; never lets you off the hook. That takes more than skill – it’s something Led Zeppelin never managed to pull off. It takes some sort of knowledge of your limitations, of your place in the art. 

I hear Phish used to cover this song a lot, but I can’t find it. A pity. I’d love to see the best jam band of our times recreating what I think might be the greatest jam of all time.

And also, much more settled and calm: 

The Allman Brother’s Band – In Memory of Elizabeth Reed – 1970

watch?v=TXrcINvsREU

2 Comments on "Cymbal #5:: The Allman Brothers Band and The Art of the Jam"

  1. Arghya August 20, 2010 at 7:51 am ·

    Surd, I haven’t heard these pieces in the longest time!! Awesome stuff- just relentless beauty!

  2. Sumeet August 23, 2010 at 8:57 am ·

    Beautiful! Whipping post, used to be on my list for a long long time. Its just stunning!

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