Thursday, June 11, 2009

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

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

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


I've added a few new folk. If anyone wants me to remove them or add someone else, just holler.

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