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Dickey Betts is best known for being former lead guitar of southern rock group The Allman Brothers Band, a monster act in the late 1960's and 1970's.  

In fact, I saw Dickey with the Allman's in the early 1990's in a large venue setting (Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, MD).

Dickey has since parted company with the Allman Brother's (who still tour in one iteration or another), and I got to catch his performances in 2001 and 2002, at a much more intimate and up close venue, Jaxx, Springfield, Virginia.

Later on, I saw Dickey at an August 13, 2004 Recher Theater, Towson, Maryland performance, and most recently a well done June 15, 2006 Alexandria, Virginia show.

Factoring in many variables (e-mail me if you want to know them), I would have to rate Forrest Richard Betts as one of the top guitar players (and overall pop-rock-blues musicians) of all time. (Note, see the following CMT item.  It appears others agree with me). 

Country Music Television (CMT) aired a show in 2006, ranking the top 20 Greatest Southern Rock Songs, and Dickey Bett's song Ramblin' Man performed by The Allman Brothers (with Dickey of course) came in at number two.  The artist commentators including Hank Williams Jr., Kid Rock, and others of note basically said what we all know, Dickey Bett's guitar playing is very special, and in a class by itself.

Here is a blog and the list from the show http://allsouthernrock.com/modules.php?name=Forums&file=viewtopic&p=1591

The show will re-air on CMT at 9:00 p.m. Wednesday July 12, 2006, and Monday July 17, 2006 at 6:00. 

  Photos from Dickey Bett's June 15, 2006
Alexandria, Virginia performance

Dickey put on a blowout show, and son Duane joined in to trade licks with 'Dad.'

One fan I spoke to after show, claimed he had seen Dickey perform a number of times and believed this to be the best performance he had seen. 

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Highway Call, is in my opinion one of Dickey Betts finest works.  This 1974 release was a folk-bluegrass type of genre, and big departure from his Allman's work.  The musicianship as well as Bett's vocals is outstanding. Autographed (by Dickey) Highway Call CD! Autographed Highway Call inner liner.

The musicians that performed on this recording were top of the line.


August 13, 2004



Blue Sky

by Forrest Richard Betts
(c) 1972 & 1974 by No Exit Music Co.

Guitar Chords
Walk along the river, sweet lullaby, it just keeps on flowing,
It don't worry 'bout where it's going, no, no.
Don't fly, mister blue bird, I'm just walking down the road,
Early morning sunshine tell me all I need to know

You're my blue sky, you're my sunny day.
Lord, you know it makes me high when you turn your love 
my way,
Turn your love my way, yeah.

Good old sunday morning, bells are ringing everywhere.
Goin to Carolina, it won't be long and I'll be there


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Dickey Betts and his band, Great Southern, a 1977 release.  In 2002 Dickey again named his act Dickey Betts & Great Southern.  Dan Toler, on this LP and in the current latest Great Southern lineup signed this (partially scanned)  LP cover, as did Dickey. Autographed cover of Eat A Peach, among the Allman Brother's Band's greatest releases.  Mountain Jam is the highlight, but Dickey does a great job on Blue Sky, which he plays to this day. Autographed Allman Brothers Band Brothers And Sisters LP cover (partial scan).  Dickey had huge hits off this 1973 release including Ramblin' Man and  Jessica, which ranks among the greatest pop-rock-blues instrumentals of all time!

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The images shown are from Dickey's August 22, 2001 performance at Jaxx, Springfield, Virginia.  Dickey billed the act as The Dickey Betts Band.  Mark May, another well regarded guitarist, played that night.  Shortly thereafter, Mark left, and Dickey brought on former Great Southern guitarist Dan Toler, and now tours under the name, Dickey Betts & Great Southern.

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Vintage Dickey Betts playing some of the 'sweetest' guitar you will ever hear. Dickey and a pretty fan after the show.

Dickey and me after his performance.  He signed it
 "To Jim
good times! 
Dickey Betts"

Dickey in action.

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Dickey has a smile knowing he put on a dynamite performance!

Dickey singing Blue Sky.

Hitting some high notes.

Dig the hat!

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Dickey and Mark May, another very highly regarded guitar player.

Dickey at work!

Dickey puts his soul into his playing, and it becomes a part of him, flowing into long melodic jam sessions that few other guitarists equal. Dickey doing some vocals.
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Dickey and Mark May

Dickey and Mark

Dickey and Mark

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Dickey Betts Band publicity photo autographed by Dickey and co-lead guitar, Mark May, at Dickey's August 22, 2001 Springfield, Virginia performance. 

Since I love his classic instrumental solo Jessica so much, I asked him to sign "Jessica" on the photo--which he did.

Read a Washington Post review of Dickey's August 22, 2001 performance.


Dickey Betts & Great Southern Official Website

An unofficial Allman Brothers website with a Dickey page

Comprehensive Critique of Dickey Betts & Great Southern'
June 2002 BB King House of Blues NYC Performances

The Allman Brothers Band Official Website

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