Dickey Betts Biography
These are the best of times for Grammy nominated, Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame inductee Dickey Betts. As the co-founder of the Allman Brothers Band, Dickey is the man behind the band’s greatest musical triumphs—“Ramblin’ Man”, “Blue Sky”, “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”, “Southbound”, “Seven Turns”, “No One Left To Run With”, and the Grammy Award winning “Jessica”. Dickey Betts is one of the top 10 rock guitarists of all time, according to the Rock ’n Roll Hall of Fame, and he continues to be an innovator in Americana Music.
His new release—The Collectors #1—reunites Betts with “Dangerous” Dan Toler, an original member of Great Southern and a one-time Allman Brothers partner. The all-acoustic album explores a traditional approach and finds the famed guitarist and his 7-piece band mining such American music genres as Jazz, Western Swing, Blues, Celtic, and some good ole Rock n’ Roll.
The Collectors #1 finds Betts in fantastic spirits and rich musical company. The record is as real as it gets as the musicians mix it up with no overdubbing. Dickey Betts explains, “When you listen to it and hear three guitar parts, it’s really three guys playing—it isn’t a dressed up, overproduced record…it just SOUNDS big.” The album’s acoustic display reveals an array of emotions that flows freely from the haunting Gaelic-tinged Beyond The Pale, through the rollicking Western Swing of Georgia On a Fast Train, to Betts’ interpretation of Bob Dylan’s “Tangled Up in Blue”.
Betts’ sound evokes the warm, southern feel of Florida, where the musician was born. His early career included tenure in bands like The Jokers and The Second Coming—which counted future ABB bassist Berry Oakley among its members. When slide guitarist Duane Allman was offered a record deal, he brought Betts and Oakley together with his younger brother Gregg, to form what would become a musical legacy. The Allman Brothers Band’s bluesy sound featured thrilling twin guitar duels between Duane Allman and Dickey Betts on such Betts penned instrumentals as “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”—which was featured on the band’s landmark recording, Live At Fillmore East. The band would reach its zenith with Betts’ chart topping contributions.
In 1974, Betts continued pushing the musical envelope by releasing his classic country-rock album Highway Call. The album found the inventive guitarist exploring country-tinged acoustic music with fiddle wizard Vassar Clements and Chuck Leavell, a fellow ABB member and future Rolling Stones pianist. In 1976, Betts formed the blues-rock band, Great Southern with fellow guitarist Dan Toler. The group’s two albums remain a standout in Dickey Bett’s storied career.
It would be nearly 12 years before he would release another solo album, but 1988’s Pattern Disruptive—recorded under the Dickey Betts Band moniker—proved to be well worth the wait. Significantly road-tested, The Dickey Betts Band featured guitarist Warren Haynes (Allman Brothers Band, Gov’t Mule, Phil Lesh & Friends), keyboardist Johnny Neel (Allman Brothers Band), and drummer Matt Abts (Gov’t Mule). The record included the hit single, Rock Bottom, and showcased one of Betts’ best-remembered instrumentals, “Duane’s Tune”.
Following his split from the Allman Brothers Band in 2000, Dickey Betts headed into the studio to record the highly acclaimed Lets Get Together. Joining Betts in the studio were guitarist Mark May and the nucleus of what would later become the second incarnation of Great Southern: bassist Dave Stoltz, drummers Mark Greenberg and Frankie Lombardi, saxophone ace Kris Jensen, and keyboardist Matt Zeiner. The CD included a plethora of new Betts classics such as “Rave On”, “Tombstone Eyes”, “Dona Maria”, and the instrumental odyssey, “One Stop Be-Bop”.
Dickey Betts & Great Southern are reunited and have been flexing their considerable musical skills on the road—they’ve played with Phil Lesh & Friends, Bob Weir & Ratdog, the Charlie Daniels Band, and Lynyrd Skynyrd—and have an intense line-up of dates to carry through 2003. Dickey Betts has also made solo appearances with moe, Bob Dylan and the North Mississippi All Stars. Dickey Betts has at long last found a band that is equally up to the task. Feel free to join us for the ride, you’ll be glad you did.