Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time

Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time

Feature Photo: Randy Miramontez / Shutterstock.com

Our Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums of All Time article presents a showcase of bands that have often been associated with the Southern rock genre. Just exactly where the lines are drawn between southern rock and many of its associated genres can be tricky at times. Quite often, it’s been argued that the Allman Brothers Band was not really a Southern rock band. Even Gregg Allman has said this in the past. The band blended so many different genres of music. However, in the end, I think there would be more people arguing they were a Southern rock band than they weren’t. Of course, how could we compose a list of the greatest Southern rock live albums of all time without including the Allman Brothers Band? It’s pretty much a no-brainer.

Thousands of Southern rock live albums have been released over the past 50 years. Here are just 10 of our favorites—10 Southern rock live albums that every rock and roll fan should know. Hopefully, this will turn people onto music that they may never have heard before. In contrast, for others, it will be a means to celebrate legendary albums that many of us have listened to repeatedly throughout our lives.

# 10 – Live… With a Little Help from Our Friends – Gov’t Mule

We open up our Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time list with an enjoyable one from Warren Haynes and his band Gov’t Mule.  Live… With a Little Help from Our Friends is a live recording of Gov’t Mule’s 1998 New Year’s Eve concert at The Roxy in Atlanta, Georgia. It was released as a 4-CD Collector’s Edition and two separate albums.

The album featured Warren Haynes on vocals and guitar, Matt Abts on drums, and Allen Woody on bass, forming the core lineup. The help from their friends included include Michael Barbiero for mixing and production, Kirk West for the vocal introduction on “Wandering Child,” Marc Ford on guitar and vocals, Chuck Leavell on piano, Derek Trucks on guitar, Bernie Worrell on organ, Yonrico Scott on percussion, Randall Bramblett on saxophone, and Jimmy Herring on guitar.

# 9 – Peakin’ at the Beacon – Allman Brothers Band

Peakin’ at the Beacon is the first of two Allman Brothers Band albums placed on this list. The album was recorded at the Beacon Theatre in New York City in March 2000 and released later that year. This album marked the first appearance of Derek Trucks on guitar and Oteil Burbridge on bass, and it was the last to feature founding member Dickey Betts. This album’s instrumental “High Falls” was nominated for Best Rock Instrumental Performance at the 44th Annual Grammy Awards. The band’s lineup for this recording included Gregg Allman on organ, piano, acoustic guitar, and vocals; Dickey Betts on guitar and vocals; Derek Trucks on guitar; Oteil Burbridge on bass; Butch Trucks on drums and percussion; Jaimoe on drums and percussion; and Marc Quiñones on conga, percussion, and vocals.

# 8 – Double Trouble Live – Molly Hatchet

In the number eight spot on our Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time list, we present the Double Trouble Live double LP live album by Molly Hatchet. I always thought this band was very underrated. The band is on fire on this fantastic live album. It was released in 1985. harmonica; Dave Hlubek on guitar, slide guitar, and backing vocals; Duane Roland on guitar; John Galvin on keyboards and backing vocals; Riff West on bass and backing vocals; and Bruce Crump on drums.

# 7 – Volunteer Jam III and IV – The Charlie Daniels Band & Friends

The Charlie Daniels Band released an entire series of Volunteer Jam live albums. The loive experience has always been about special guests that appear on stage. While all the live albums on this list are usually focused on just one band, the various groups appearing on the Volunteer Jam albums made these concerts so special. Volumes III and IV are the best in the series.

# 6 – Raunch ‘N’ Roll Live –  Black Oak Arkansas

This was a very popular album in so many of our record collections. Raunch ‘N’ Roll Live, is a standout album by Black Oak Arkansas. It was recorded at the Paramount Theatres in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington, on December 1 and 2, 1972, the album is a raw and unfiltered capture of the band’s electrifying live performance.

The production, helmed by the legendary Tom Dowd, ensured that every note and beat resonated with the band’s signature sound. Released under the Atco Records label, Raunch ‘N’ Roll Live showcases Black Oak Arkansas’s unique blend of hard rock, Southern rock, and boogie-woogie, encapsulating the essence of their high-energy stage presence.

Frontman Jim “Dandy” Mangrum delivers powerful lead vocals, complemented by Rickie Reynolds on 12-string rhythm guitar and vocals. Harvey Jett and Stanley Knight share lead guitar duties, with Jett also adding slide guitar to the mix. Pat Daugherty’s bass guitar lines and Tommy Aldridge’s dynamic drumming complete the lineup, creating a sound that’s both tight and raucous.

Commercially, Raunch ‘N’ Roll Live achieved significant success. It peaked at number ninety on the US Billboard 200 in 1973 and went on to be certified Gold by the RIAA, with over 500,000 units shipped.

# 5 – Where We All Belong – Marshall Tucker Band

Released in 1974, the Marshall Tucker Band’s Where We All Belong stands as a unique double album, combining a studio album with a live album. The studio portion explores progressive country songs, while the live segment delves into jazz rock and Southern rock jamming.

Fronted by Doug Gray’s distinctive lead vocals and percussion, the band features Toy Caldwell on electric and acoustic guitars, steel guitar, and lead vocals on “This Ol’ Cowboy” and “Everyday (I Have the Blues).” Tommy Caldwell handles bass guitar and backing vocals, George McCorkle adds electric and acoustic guitars along with banjo, Jerry Eubanks contributes flute and saxophones, and Paul Riddle provides the driving rhythms on drums.

The album is notable for its collaborative spirit, with musician Charlie Daniels guesting on fiddle for “24 Hours At a Time” and “This Ol’ Cowboy.” Elvin Bishop and Johnny Vernazza bring their slide guitar expertise to “Where a Country Boy Belongs,” while Billy Sanders enhances the sound with harmonica and rhythm guitar. Paul Hornsby adds depth with piano, organ, and clavinet, complemented by Earl Ford’s trombone, Jerry Joseph’s conga, Steve Madaio’s trumpet, Sam McPhearson’s harp, and Andy Stein’s fiddle. I have listened to this one so many times

# 4 – Waiting For Columbus – Little Feat

Waiting for Columbus,  was the first live album by Little Feat. It was recorded during seven performances in 1977, this album is a masterclass in live recording, reflecting the band’s dynamic stage presence and eclectic sound. I have seen Littel Feat in concert before, and they are simply stunning live. The album’s recording sessions were split between two iconic venues. The first four shows took place at the Rainbow Theatre in London from August 1 to August 4, 1977. The final three shows were recorded the following week at George Washington University’s Lisner Auditorium in Washington, D.C., from August 8 to August 10.

The lineup for these performances was nothing short of impressive. Paul Barrère on guitar and vocals, Sam Clayton on congas and vocals, Lowell George on lead vocals and guitar, Kenny Gradney on bass guitar, Richard Hayward on drums and vocals, and Bill Payne on keyboards, synthesizer, and vocals, formed the core of the band. The addition of Mick Taylor on lead and slide guitar for “A Apolitical Blues,” and Michael McDonald and Patrick Simmons on backing vocals for “Red Streamliner,” added further depth to the live recordings.

One of the standout features of Waiting for Columbus is the inclusion of the Tower of Power horn section. Emilio Castillo on tenor saxophone, Greg Adams on trumpet, Lenny Pickett on alto and tenor saxophones and clarinet for “Dixie Chicken,” Stephen “Doc” Kupka on baritone saxophone, and Mic Gillette on trombone and trumpet, brought a robust and vibrant brass sound that elevated the live performances. The album’s chart performance in 1978 reflected its broad appeal. It peaked at number eighteen on the US Billboard 200.

# 3 – Bring It Back Alive – Outlaws

Bring It Back Alive was released in 1978. It was released initially as a double album on vinyl and later reissued as a single CD. The album is most celebrated for its epic, twenty-minute rendition of “Green Grass and High Tides,” a track originally from the band’s debut album. This extended version received a lot of airplay when I was in high school back in the 1970s. This was a big one.

The lineup for Bring It Back Alive features Harvey Dalton Arnold on bass, guitar, and vocals; David Dix on percussion and drums; Billy Jones on guitar and vocals; Freddie Salem on guitar and vocals; Hughie Thomasson on guitar and vocals; and Monte Yoho on percussion and drums. Commercially, the album made a significant impact. It reached number twenty-nine on the Pop Albums chart in 1978.

# 2 – One More from the Road – Lynyrd Skynyrd 

Every friend of mine had this album in their collection. I was fortunate to see the band live before the plane crash. I caught them at the Nassau Coliseum on Long Island when they were touring with Ted Nugent. One More from the Road was Lynyrd Skynyrd’s first live album.It captured the band’s electrifying performances at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, Georgia, in July 1976. These shows were part of a campaign to save the historic venue from demolition, a cause the band had supported since 1974 alongside rock promoter Alex Cooley.

Released in September 1976, One More from the Road is the only live album from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s classic era, spanning from 1970 to 1977, before the tragic plane crash that claimed the lives of lead singer and songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and backing singer Cassie Gaines. The album quickly garnered commercial success, earning gold certification from the RIAA on October 26, 1976, platinum status on December 30, 1976, and reaching 3× platinum by July 21, 1987.

The original release featured 14 tracks, including a standout cover of Jimmie Rodgers’ “T for Texas” and an extended 11-minute version of “Free Bird.” The first CD release in 1986 condensed the album to a single disc, omitting “T for Texas” and “Travelin’ Man” due to time constraints. A more comprehensive two-disc set followed in 1996, restoring all 14 songs and adding three bonus tracks: “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Gimme Back My Bullets,” and “Simple Man,” arranged in the original concert order.

The 2001 deluxe edition offered a remixed and remastered experience, featuring additional performances from the Fox Theatre and an undubbed version of “Free Bird.” The original overdubbed “Free Bird” was included as a bonus track on the second disc, with all bonus tracks also available separately in a “Rarities Edition.”

The band lineup for these iconic recordings included Ronnie Van Zant on lead vocals, Steve Gaines on guitar and vocals, Allen Collins and Gary Rossington on guitar, Leon Wilkeson on bass and vocals, Artimus Pyle on drums, Billy Powell on keyboards, and the Honkettes—JoJo Billingsley, Cassie Gaines, and Leslie Hawkins—on backing vocals. Sam McPherson added harmonica to the mix.

One More from the Road achieved notable chart success, reaching number nine on the US Billboard 200, number seventeen on the UK Albums Chart, number forty-nine in Canada, and number seventy-nine in Australia. It was certified gold in Canada, silver in the United Kingdom, and triple platinum in the United States, signifying over 1.5 million units sold.

# 1 – At Fillmore East – The Allman Brothers Band

We close out our Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time with not only our choice for the best Southern Rock live album ever, but also what we feel is the best live album ever released. This one is killer. It was initially released on July 6, 1971. At Fillmore East is the first live album by the Allman Brothers Band and their third release overall. Produced by Tom Dowd, this album was recorded at the legendary Fillmore East in New York City over the course of three nights in March 1971. Run by concert promoter Bill Graham, the Fillmore East provided the perfect venue for the band’s extended jam sessions and powerful performances.

The album features live renditions of the Allman Brothers Band’s most iconic songs, including “Whipping Post,” “You Don’t Love Me,” and “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” Initially released as a double LP, At Fillmore East contains just seven tracks spread across four vinyl sides, highlighting the band’s penchant for lengthy, improvisational jams.

At Fillmore East marked a significant artistic and commercial breakthrough for the Allman Brothers Band. The album’s success rapidly expanded the band’s fan base and solidified their reputation as a formidable live act. This album was the first in the band’s catalog to achieve platinum status, becoming a top seller and a staple in their discography. In recognition of its cultural, historical, and aesthetic significance, At Fillmore East was selected for preservation in the Library of Congress in 2004 by the National Recording Registry.

The Allman Brothers Band lineup on this recording features Duane Allman on lead and slide guitar, Gregg Allman on organ, piano, and vocals, Dickey Betts on lead guitar, Berry Oakley on bass guitar, Jai Johanny Johanson on drums, congas, and timbales, and Butch Trucks on drums and timpani. Guest musicians include Thom Doucette on harmonica, Jim Santi on tambourine, Bobby Caldwell on percussion, Rudolph (“Juici”) Carter on soprano saxophone, Elvin Bishop on vocals, and Steve Miller on piano for select tracks.

In terms of chart performance, At Fillmore East reached number thirteen on the US Billboard 200 and number forty-four on Canada’s Top Albums/CDs chart. The album’s enduring popularity led to its certification as platinum by the RIAA in the United States and silver in the United Kingdom for the 1998 release.

Top 10 Southern Rock Live Albums Of All Time article published on Classic RockHistory.com© 2024

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