Sunday, April 15, 2018
The Allman Brothers Band - In Memory of Elizabeth Reed
Sunday, time for a classic.
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" is a song by the American group THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND. It first appeared on their second studio album, "Idlewild South" (1970), released on Capricorn Records. The song—a jazz-influenced instrumental was written by guitarist Dickey Betts, among his first songwriting credits for the group. Betts named the song after a headstone he saw in Rose Hill Cemetery in the band's hometown of Macon, Georgia. Multiple versions of the song have been recorded, with the version performed on the group's 1971 live album At Fillmore East generally considered the definitive rendition.
"In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" was inspired by a woman Betts was involved within the group's hometown of Macon, Georgia. She was the girlfriend of musician Boz Scaggs, with Betts later saying she "was Hispanic and somewhat dark and mysterious—and she really used it to her advantage and played it to the hilt." To cloak her identity, the song is named after a headstone Betts saw at the Rose Hill Cemetery, where band members often ventured in their early days to relax and write songs. A considerable legend developed about the song's genesis and what Betts was doing at the time, much of it fueled by a put-on interview band leader Duane Allman gave Rolling Stone. "Duane told some crazy shit about that graveyard. I don't wanna tell all, but that's the part that matters," Betts later said. For his part, vocalist Gregg Allman was candid about his experiences in the cemetery: "I'd be lying if I said I didn't have my way with a lady or two down there." The cemetery later became the final resting spot of Duane and Gregg Allman, along with bassist Berry Oakley.
This was the first original instrumental song by The Allman Brothers.
Betts wrote this is based on Miles Davis' "All Blues." While Davis had been incorporating elements of rock into his jazz, Betts used pieces of jazz for this rock instrumental. Jazz rhythms make excellent use of the two-drummer format the Allmans use. This is one of their live favorites. It usually evolves into a lengthy jam. At concerts, this was a showcase for Allman's drummers Jaimoe and Butch Trucks, who performed a drum solo at the end.
The live version on At Fillmore East takes up almost a whole side. Because of the extended jams, it became a double album, but the band insisted it is priced close to a single album.
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