Pin It
Submit to Reddit
Favorite

Brother No More 

CL questions where the Allmans would be without Dickey Betts

Dickey Betts. The Allman Brothers Band. It's hard to talk about one and not the other, yet it's been five years since Betts has performed with the legendary group he helped co-found. Not that he's idle: The erstwhile Allman guitar hero hits the Neighborhood Theatre this weekend with both his crack band, Great Southern, and his doppelgänger son Duane Betts in tow.

Since his departure from the Brothers, Betts has been releasing fine CDs -- like the Betts Band's great 2001 release, Let's Get Together -- and touring with Great Southern. And of course, the Allman Brothers Band, which never really missed a beat after relieving its longtime guitarist of his duties, continues to tour and record with an ensemble of musicians who could arguably be considered the best incarnation of the group since its original lineup featuring Duane Allman, Berry Oakley and Betts. (Take a close listen to guitarists Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks if you don't believe us.) And while the ABB enjoys the certain benefits afforded to those considered "living legends" with large scale tours and prominent appearances at well-known festivals -- if just being called living legends isn't cool enough -- Betts is living a bit under the radar these days, with small-scale theater tours and sporadic appearances at lesser known festivals.

Now don't go taking this the wrong way; we're not here to argue over who was the best guitarist, Duane or Dickey. But what we are here to do is to get you thinking, and possibly rouse a friendly debate over whether or not the Allman Brothers Band would in fact be the band we love and admire (and twirl our heads to) without Dickey Betts and the undeniably genius (and damn memorable) songs he brought to the table. So there, we said it. And we'd be hard pressed again to imagine one without the other.

Yes, more than 30 years after his death, Duane Allman is still heralded as a guitar god by some (and near godly by others, including Rolling Stone, which ranked Duane No. 2 in its Top 100 Greatest Guitarist of All Time round up ... Dickey ranked No. 58 if you were wondering). At the same time, there's no denying that some of the Brothers best (and best remembered) work occurred well after the Skydog had been laid to rest. But it's also no secret that Duane was more about playing, while brother Gregg Allman wrote a lot of the group's material. It was in the years that followed Duane's death, however, that Betts rose to the occasion and penned what would be become Allman Brothers Band classics.

In fact, there's a likely chance that if we asked you to recall, say, four ABB classics, all or most would probably be songs written by Betts. Go ahead. Try it. You know we here at CL love nothing more than to engage in debate. Think of four ABB standards that truly epitomize the band. Got them? OK, if you're humming the riffs of "Jessica," "Ramblin' Man," "Blue Sky," "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" or "Revival" then you, my friend, like your Brers smoothed out on the Richard Betts tip. If "Whippin' Post" and "Dreams" popped into your head (both penned by Gregg Allman), then you should probably keep reading.

One huge component in the groundbreaking, ever-influential sound that is still one of the identifying trademarks of the Allman Brothers Band is phenomenal dual lead guitar playing. Back in the day, it was Duane and Dickey breaking ground. And during one of the band's more successful "comebacks" in the early '90s, it was the interplay of Warren Haynes and Dickey (see Seven Turns) that turned a new legion of fans on to the band nearly 20 years after Duane's fatal motorcycle crash.

We should acknowledge here that your birthdate will have a great impact on where you stand on this burning issue. After all, if you were fortunate enough to have witnessed the band with Duane on lead then you're actually one lucky bastard and you could probably give a rat's ass what we think. But if you're like many of us who came to know the band with Betts on lead guitar and by the songs he penned, then maybe you understand our point of view. In the end, there's likely one thing we all might agree on: the fact that Duane Allman did indeed position the Allman Brothers Band to become legendary. But for some of us it was Dickey Betts who helped fulfill that legacy.

Dickey Betts & Great Southern play Neighborhood Theatre with Pinkeye D'Gekko on June 30 at 8pm; $25. www.neighborhoodtheatre.com.

Pin It
Submit to Reddit
Favorite

Comments (5)

Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-5 of 5

Add a comment

Creative Loafing encourages a healthy discussion on its website from all sides of the conversation, but we reserve the right to delete any comments that detract from that. Violence, racism and personal attacks that go beyond the pale will not be tolerated.

Search Events

www.flickr.com
items in Creative Loafing Charlotte More in Creative Loafing Charlotte pool

© 2017 Womack Newspapers, Inc.
Powered by Foundation