The Allman Brothers Band launch their own record label with a vintage live recording that appears to have sentimental value for at least one rabid fan, band manager Bert Holman, who, in his freshman year, booked the Allman Brothers to play two shows at the Leonard Gym at his college, American University, on Sunday, December 13, 1970, at 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. (The CD is drawn from both shows, with tracks one through five from the second set and "You Don't Love Me" and "Whippin' Post" from the first.) Holman provides liner notes that explain his involvement nostalgically, but for the listener, what is perhaps more important is that the Allmans were at a crucial stage in their development on that December night, having just returned from shows at the Fillmore East in New York on a tour promoting their second album, Idlewild South. Three months hence, they would return to the Fillmore East and perform the show captured on their epochal Live at Fillmore East album. So, the band playing at American University is near to the best the group could be. The set includes "Statesboro Blues," "Stormy Monday," and "You Don't Love Me," blues covers that would be repeated at the Fillmore and turn up on Live at Fillmore East, though the songs and the Allmans' treatment of them might have been unfamiliar to those in the audience at American University. "Don't Keep Me Wonderin'" and "Leave My Blues at Home" had just appeared on Idlewild South, and this release marks the first live versions of them to be released by the Allmans. There is little new here, but the playing is fierce, especially the interaction of Duane Allman and Dickey Betts, and with a solid 20-plus-minute version of "Whippin' Post," Allman Brothers Band fans should be pleased with the band's first self-released effort.
AllMusic Review by William Ruhlmann