Dickey Betts — RIP

April 18, 2024

One of the greatest guitar pickers ever, Dickey Betts, has died. He was 80.

And not only notable in music:

Beyond reality when one band would have two, TWO, most-gifted guitarists — Betts and Duane Allman.
From today’s The New York Times obit:

“Duane and I had an understanding, like an old soul kind of understanding of let’s play together,” Mr. Betts said in a 2020 interview with The Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida. “Duane would say, ‘Man, I get so jealous of you sometimes when you burn off and I have to follow it,’ and we would joke about it. So that’s kind of Duane and mine’s relationship. It was a real understanding. Like, ‘Come on, this is a hell of a band, let’s not hot dog it up.’”

Mr. Allman made his feelings about his bandmate clear. “I’m the famous guitar player,” he once said, “but Dickey is the good one.”

That brilliant guitar dialogue ended in Macon on Oct. 29, 1971, when Mr. Allman lost control of his motorcycle after swerving to miss a truck and died of extensive internal injuries sustained in the crash (Berry Oakley, the band’s bassist, was killed a year later in a motorcycle accident just a few blocks from the site).

Mr. Betts took over as the band’s effective leader and featured guitarist when the Allman Brothers Band regrouped to complete its next album, “Eat a Peach.” Released in 1972, it was critically acclaimed and vaulted to No. 4 on the Billboard charts. Among the album’s most memorable tracks was Mr. Betts’s sunny country-inflected number “Blue Sky,” which came to be regarded as a rock classic.

I listened to “Eat A Peach” so much the vinyl started to warp — in those days (early 1970s) I considered my earphones plugged into my little Sears record player as ‘drug paraphernalia.’


My youngest daughter was so named after I heard it on the car radio shortly after she was born — proved to be a near-about perfect choice — crossroads and boxcars a traveling appeared as her specialty for a time:

Rest in peace, country rocker, yet once again here we are…

(Illustration out front: Pablo Picasso’s ‘The Weeping Woman [La Femme qui pleure],’ found here)

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