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Guitarist, songwriter, recording act and founder member of The Allman Brothers Band and oft used recording act on the works of others, Billy Joe Shaver solo debut When I Get My Wings has him all over it (and it was the same Dickey Betts who gave BJS's son, Eddy his first real guitar) Dickey Betts could play. Duane Allman once quoted, ‘I am the famous guitarist, Dickey is the good one’.


Betts will, by most be forever measured on the impact as a member of the band, but due to his ability as a songwriter and fearless approach as a bandleader (Dickey Betts & Great Southern) wasn’t lost for words when not in the environs of the band. A band near as famous as it was infamous for its deaths, addictions, internal squabbles, reformations, less than amicable splits and other erroneous ways it left its mark on Southern Rock in particular. It is to great credit to Betts that his later day part in the band and desire to continue playing and leading a band despite his own personal demons is sufficient in itself to signal, music is very much his life.


Southern-based rock garnished in country, blues and a hint of country (rock) Betts (lead, rhythm guitar and lead vocals) is aided by Warren Haynes (ex-David Allan Coe, Gov't Mule) on lead, rhythm, slide guitar and harmony, lead vocals; Johnny Neel (piano, Hammond organ, keyboards, harps and backup, lead vocal), Matt Abts (drums, back-up vocals), Marty Privette (bass, back-up vocal; ‘Under The Guns Of Love’). 


With Haynes performing lead vocals on ‘Time To Roll’ and Johnny Neel on ‘Far Cry’ it is far from a one-man show. The combination of them, plus Betts is also responsible of writing the first three cuts, each and every one is worthy of your attention too. ‘Rock Bottom’, ‘Stone Cold Heart’ and ‘Time To Roll’ being the songs in question. As for the best track the Dobro, slide, piano doused funky, country hinted ‘Loverman’ has enough sauce to cover any man (or woman’s) plate. More of which would have been more than welcome and given a greater dimension to the album. Otherwise the r&b fuelled rock anthem ‘The Blues Ain’t Nothin’ and go for broke Southern blast road ripper ‘Heartbreak Line’ with keyboards, hearty rhythm section, pumping piano and swarming lead guitar is enough to have greats from yester-year jump up from the grave. A one Southern-rock fans will love and a good few others too; contemporary country fans and those of the 1970s —although the album was made in 1989.  


                                                                   Maurice Hope 

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March 2018

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