Now that we can no longer be Allman Brothers (to paraphrase Christgau about the Beatles), we might make a return trip to Dickey Betts, the guitarist who gave the Allman Brothers Band most of their country flavor.
Sure, we loved Duane as the greatest rock guitarist not named Jimi, and Greg, as the embodiment of the band, and even Warren and Derek, the twins mixing hard rhythm with sweet blues today like two sides of a coin. But clearly Dickey Betts was central to whatever the legend is. If nothing else he wrpte (long breath) “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed” , “Blue Sky”, “Jessica” and “Ramblin’ Man”: this is what Southern rock is all about.
And he could play them better than anyone, until a vicious drug addiction (and that’s in band starring Greg ) nearly destroyed anything in its pat back in 2000. More is the pity, but now it is the Allmans who will over this October –undoubtedly the toughest ticket on earth and since you aint gonna get one, you might as well check out the outlaw cowboy.
Betts is playing The Concert hall on West 64th street on Friday August 8th and I for one have never seen him solo but I think he is better guitarist than anybody in his former band and kinda assume this is as close as you are gonna get to the essence of the greatest Southern boogie band of all time.
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