Tribute to Dickey Betts

01/18/2011
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(Gibson) Dickey Betts was already a powerhouse player on the Deep South's music scene before he threw down with Duane Allman, but it is their union, and the formation of the Allman Brothers, that etched his place in rock history.

The Allman Brothers Band became a major concert draw in the south shortly after forming in March 1969. That same year they released their debut album, The Allman Brothers Band. And while Duane gets most of the glory, it was Dickey who was actually the musical lynchpin in many ways. He was already playing close guitar harmonies, an Allmans' signature, in his own earlier bands, and Dickey hipped Duane to the sonic joys of Gibson Les Pauls and SGs, which were already his staples. He even sold Duane his first, famed cherry '61 Gibson SG.

For an earful of Dickey's influence, check out the debut album's "Dreams." It's a swinging, seven-minute blues waltz in 12/8 time with a lyric that gives way to Duane's coricidin bottle slide on, likely, that fabled SG. Duane's solo is followed by the butter-toned, vibrato-laden blues voice of Dickey's '57 Redtop Les Paul. The tune climaxes with the aforementioned harmonized unison guitar lines first played in the Allman Brothers by Duane and Dickey, but employed by every one of the group's guitar teams since. Check it out here along with a lot more

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