Dickey Betts - Highway Call (1974)

Dickey Betts is an American guitarist, singer and songwriter, best known as a founding member of The Allman Brothers Band.

Born in Florida in 1943, Dickey Betts was raised in a musical family, and began playing bluegrass, country and western swing before making the move to rock and roll. In 1969 he became a founding member of a new group called The Allman Brothers Band, serving as one of two guitarists alongside Duane Allman. With the Allmans he rose to fame, bringing his country musical influences into the blues/jazz/rock hybrid the band were pioneering. He shared the lead guitar duties with Allman, and the two of them pioneered this style of harmonized rock guitars. Over the years Betts' songwriting contributions began to grow, the most famous being his jazz-rock instrumental "In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed".
When Duane Allman tragically died in 1971, Betts became the band's sole guitarist, and also took on more of a leadership role. Under his guidance the band moved towards a country-rock sound, with increased commercial success. He also debuted as a singer in 1971. During this period he wrote and sang some of the band's best-loved songs, including "Blue Sky" (recorded shortly before Allman's death), "Rambling Man" (their biggest hit, which got to #2 on the singles chart) and the classic instrumental "Jessica".
However 1973 saw the band beginning to fall apart. Betts took the opportunity to record a solo album, as Gregg Allman did the same. Highway Call came out in 1974 (credited on the sleeve to 'Richard Betts'), and saw Betts further explore the country-rock sound he had perfected with "Rambling Man". It featured some fantastic backing musicians, including fiddler Vassar Clements, pianist Chuck Leavell (who was also in the Allman Brothers at the time), and pedal steel guitarist John Hughey, all who jammed with Betts' electric guitar over a series of laid-back country-styled songs. Though he sang on four songs, one entire half of the album was instrumental, consisting of Clements' "Kissimmee Kid" and the fourteen-minute jam "Hand Picked".
The album was a definitive artistic success, showing great potential for a fruitful solo career. Meanwhile the Allman Brothers continued on a road to dissolution, which ultimately occured in 1976.

|> Dickey Betts & Great Southern (1977)

More from Dickey Betts



John Larkin said...

Great post. This was the first album I ever imported from overseas. It was 1974 and I was 16 at the time and living on the south coast of NSW, Australia.

Two of the tracks, Highway Call and Hand Picked had been played on a late night radio showed that played and reviewed overseas album releases. My brother Paul used to tape the show on cassette and we would play the tape in the car on a cassette player when we went for drives.

Those two tracks captured my imagination and I found a place in Wales, UK, of all places, from which I could import the album. I still have it and it is a keeper.

I recently drove 400km north from home to do some work and the CD of the album received quite a few play during the journey. I taped the LP on to cassette as soon as I obtained it so the original vinyl is still in great condition.

The musicianship, vocals and production are second to none. It is unique in my collection of albums in terms of genre and style.

Cheers, John.

Anonymous said...

Please, can you repost???

Thanx a lot!!!!

Eugeni said...

Outstanding album. Please, can you repost?

Thank you very much

Travis Clay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Travis Clay said...

Please, would you re-upload this file? Thanks!

Travis Clay said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Travis Clay said...

Done! Thanks so much!