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Albums Of The Week: Allman Brothers Band | Syria Mosque: Pittsburgh, Pa., Jan. 17, 1971

A vintage (and often misidentified) ABB bootleg gets an official release & upgrade.


THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “By January 1971, The Allman Brothers Band had established a sound and a reputation that belied the brief, 22-month existence of its founding lineup. After 300 shows in 1970, the band kicked off ’71 with a run through Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee, before heading north to play Pittsburgh for the first time. The venue was the venerable Syria Mosque, a 3,700 seat theatre constructed in 1916 which served as the home for the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra. Syria Mosque saw rock acts like The Who, Pink Floyd, The Band, Deep Purple and Yes grace its stage, with the Allmans making the first of two 1971 appearances on Jan. 17.

This marks the first official release for this recording which has been circulating among fans as a cassette for years, and occasionally a bootleg CD or vinyl disc. Although there’s an interesting story there as well. The group returned to Syria Mosque nine months later, on Oct. 15, playing what would be Duane Allman’s third-to-last show before his untimely death on Oct. 29, 1971. Copies of both the Jan. 17 and Oct. 15 shows would circulate among the ABB tape-trading community during the 1990s, with the October tape often misidentified as Duane’s final show, and, in some cases, with the dates of the Syria Mosque shows swapped. Here the confusion has been straightened out; this band-approved official release is from Jan. 17, and you can listen to Duane’s last show from Oct. 17, 1971 at Painters Mill Music Fair near Baltimore by picking up The Final Note, which came in 2020.

Recorded direct from the band’s soundboard and then restored and remastered, this recording captures the arc of the band’s sound as they were ramping up to the classic At Fillmore East album, recorded just eight weeks later in March 1971. When you listen, it’s apparent how tight and in the pocket the original ABB line-up of Duane, Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts, Berry Oakley, Butch Trucks and Jaimoe were on this recording.”


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