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.