Bring back Dickey!


What's is been, ten years? Sometime ago, the Allman Brothers fired singer/ guitarist Dickey Betts. When I say 'the Allman Brothers', I mean two people. The Allman Brothers are Dickey Betts and Greg Allman. Of course there are others in the band (like the fucking phenomenal Warren Haynes), but Dickey and Greg wrote and sing all the songs. In my experience (I have seen them near 20 times), the band split the singing duties about half and half. When the Allman's fired Dickey, they lost half their catalogue immediately.


Blue Sky, Seven Turns, Jessica, too many great songs to mention, are all gone from the live Allman Brothers catalogue. So, what happened to Dickey? Well, I remember when it happened, and he seemed as surprised as me. It was something like he got a fax from the band saying 'his services would no longer be needed'. The issue was this, his drinking. Dickey had a drinking problem. In fact, one year I went to see them in Buffalo (Darien Lake) and Dickey wasn't there. Greg Allman said something about him being in jail, not much else. I can kinda see why a band may need to fire someone because of substance abuse problems. It holds everybody back.


That isn't to say they Allmans suffer without him. Hittin' the Note is the best studio Allmans in 20 years. From what I understand, that album was entirely Warren Haynes' work.


I grew up watching Greg on the left, Dickey in the center, and Warren on the right. Every show started with Statesboro Blues, always. I want that back.


Thing is this > we are talking about the Allman Brothers. I mean, getting kicked out of the Allman's for drinking is like getting kicked out of Prince's band for 'being weird'. It's like Jesse Jackson telling you that you are a camera hog. It's like Sheriff Joe telling you to ease up on the prisoners. The Allmans are a drinking band, and they play drinking music. It's a fact.

Dickey is still around, doing his Allman's songs with his new band 'The Great Southern'.  They are good, I have a DVD of them.  They aren't great, though.

Ten years is a long time to teach someone a lesson. Please bring Dickey back!

Comments

Anonymous said…
You have got to be kidding me. The Allmans need Dickey like another hole in the head. Have you listened to Great Southern lately? Dickey can barely walk out on to stage any more without tripping. He's a washed up drunk. The Allmans are just fine without him.
snowbored said…
the split has been the best thing to happen to dickey betts -- and the allman brothers band. you are too young to remember that this was *duane's* band, not dickey's. that's why it's called the allman brothers, not dickey and friends. dickey is too sporadic, and too enamoured by his own skills to be in a real band.

and hittin' the note is clearly collaberative. yes, warren haynes is the floor leader of the current allman brothers lineup. dickey was the reason he (and allen woody) left the allman brothers band.

both are on tour now. go see them. if you're lucky, you may get to see a great show from dickey betts. but with this current configuration, it's a guarantee from the allman brothers. they *are* hitting all the notes...
Fishin Fool said…
Your wrote:
"Every show started with Statesboro Blues, always. I want that back."

Interesting comment. Every show also had "Blue Sky" mid first set. Every show also had "Liz Reed" with a long drum "solo" followed by "No One Left To Run With" to close the second set. Like clockwork. I do miss hearing songs like "Blue Sky", "High Falls" and "Back Where it all Began" which haven't been played since Dickey's departure but I DON"T miss the same stale setlists over and over. Today's Allmans are fresh and exciting. They never play the same set twice and they knock the audience's socks off with surprises like opening shows with traditional closers and cool covers like "Dazed and Confused", "Layla", "Guilded Splinters" "Afro Blue" and the list goes on. Also, no one knows for sure but I don't think just being a drunk got Dickey kicked out. More likely being a beligerant violent drunk is what did it.
Anonymous said…
Where to start? Have you seen the Allman Bros. lately or viewed their setlists? Jessica, Elizabeth Reed and other Dickey songs are still part of the regular rotation. True, they rarely if ever play Blue Sky (too bad) but they also never play Ramblin' Man (yeah).

Don't get me wrong, Dickey's got a unique tone, style and attack that is currently not part of the ABB sound. Problem is, since Warren and Allen left (and maybe a bit before) Dickey has never been consistent. Just listen to anything in the last five years from the Beacon and compare that with Dickey's last ABB album (Peakin' at the Beacon). Sad to say, they're much better without him.

As mentioned earlier, their setlists are now much more open and have included in recent years High Falls, Les Brer (Dickey tunes which were rarely (if ever played when he was in the band) and many other songs from their catalog.

And while I love Statesboro Blues, I'm never disappointed not to hear it in concert because it is usually replaced by another gem.

If Dickey ever got his act together (controlled his drinking, dropped the negative attitude, improved his playing, learned to play nice with the others) I'd love to have him retrun. But if he never does, no problem -- as is, the ABB are sounding better than they have since Duane and Berry departed.
Lono said…
I have to say, I am very swayed by the comments. Not a single one was pro-Dickey. I guess he was more of a distraction and a problem than I realized. Still, I'd to hear 'Nobody Left to Run With' and 'Seven Turns' a few more times.

Is that so wrong?
Lono said…
As for Snowbored's comments, I am perfectly aware of Duane and the etymology of the band name. To me, Duane exited way too early to be that influential in the band's sound.

He died in 1972, right? That is the year I was born. Of course his guitar work is sick on 'Fillmore East', and I wish we had more gems from him along the lines of 'Little Martha'. Honestly, though, to me 95% of their catalogue and prowess as a touring band comes long after the great Duane Allman's passing.
Anonymous said…
"duane left too early to be that influential to the bands sound " ??? did i read that right ? Duane set that stage , and enviroment, musically speaking,that they all (the allman brothers band, irregardless o fthe line up)for the last 30 some years. betts and duane saw eye to eye on how to make music, they just had slightly different styles. dickie has a more jazz influence to his picking. i saw the betts band 5 months ago. excellent show. dickie was on that night. what took place, to get him booted out of abb, dunno, unless we were there in the band. what i have heard was a combo of drinking, and being a bully. musical bully. maybe bit of a mean drunk. where duane has been cleann nn sober, guess enuff was enuff. and yes, we all seem to agree that warren haynes is incredibly talented guitarist.
Anonymous said…
damn, i got a few typos wrong...
meant to say that ABB has been following the jamming style that duane pioneered all these years. and i meant to say that greg has been clean and sober for 6 or 7 years now. and dickie was booted out in 2000 or 2001, not 10 years ago.
Anonymous said…
I am a huge Dickey Betts fan, Allman Brothers as well. When I first learned Dickey was fired, I was very dissppointed. For ever $$ I spent on an Allman show, I made a point to spend the same going to see Dickey.
After a few years of doing this, I can't contribute to Dickey's mess anymore and understand (things could have been handled differently) why he had to go. I saw him recently in Ridgefield, CT. and he was a mess. He was so hammered that he forgot lyrics, was playing a different song than the rest of his band at many points and shouldn't have been taking people's money.
Meanwhile, the Allman shows have been outstanding. New songs, new set lists each night, Warren is as strong a musician as you will find playing today and Derek is a treat. I think Greg must have forgotten about all of the shows Dickey carried him through while he was nodding off at the keyboard, and he should still be ashamed of himself,but even his performances have been great.
Dickey needs help and I hope he gets it
Lono said…
Ok, I just got a Dickey Betts & Great Southern DVD (live at the Rock & Roll hall of fame) and I have to say I think it was terrible.

The performances slogged through with no joy or pace, he has his band signing his songs (instead of him), and the whole thing felt musically uninspired... like someone needed to make a house payment.

There is no question that Warren Haynes is simply a god, and maybe the band doesn't need Dickey back.

there, I said it.
Mark said…
i've sseen the allman bros 3 times and dickey 1 time, and i must say dickey put on a set better then all the allman brother sets i've seen combined. so fuck what you heard. Dickey is the real spirit left with the allman brothers blues. He plays the songs how they are supposed to be played. Not how new guitarists interpret it.
Anonymous said…
Dickey is and always will be one of the best Rock guitarists OF ALL TIME!!! Unfortunately Alcohol seems to be a pitfall of the road and un-relenting working hours of many successful musicians. We Luv ya Dickey!!!
Anonymous said…
First of all, I'm only 24 years old, so take my comments for what they're worth. That being said, I have seen the ABB (mostly with the current line-up) about 20 times, and I am very passionate about their music, both old and new. The thing that bothers me here is the comment about Duane Allman not being around long enough to be an influence on this band. To me, that statement is absolutely absurd. When I try to discribe the type of music the Allmans play to someone who doesn't know any better, (which is kind of hard) one of the main things I like to say is that this is definitely a blues band to a certain extent. To this day, they definitely still bear that cross, especially on certain songs. From listening to early recordings of the ABB, I would have to give most of the credit for that to Duane Allman. When I saw them play Stormy Monday this summer as old photos of Duane flashed accross the backdrop behind the band, I got a pretty good impression of just how big of an influence Duane Allman still is on this band.

Dickey Betts was certainly a huge influence in his own right. However, to say that they lost half of their songs when he left is just wrong. It is true that I have never heard Blue Sky played live, which is a shame, but there are other Dickey songs that I have heard quite frequently. None of us really know 100% for sure what kind of a guy Dickey Betts is, or the exact reason for why he parted ways with the band, but I can say that they are definitely a great band without him. Will he ever come back? I doubt it. 38 years later, this band is flourishing right now creatively with the current line-up as if they were just starting out. I'd be willing to bet that asking Dickey Betts, and whatever bagage comes with him, to return to the band is the last thing on Gregg's or anyone else in the band's mind.
alex borsody said…
ok well he wasn't consistent but he was the original band! it is not the ABB without him its another band, the CLASSIC albums that will all go down in history, both in our minds and in the archives, have either duanne or dicky on them. case closed bring him back, ten years is a long enough lesson.

and in case you dont respond to that. here i go begging

PLEASE just a few shows together see how it goes!!!
Lono said…
agreed! Just gimme a well bootlegged 5 night run at the Beacon. I watched Dickey and Warren together for almost 20 shows, and they were really good together.

to be fair, though, watching Warren and Derek go toe to toe with each other right in front of me was pretty transcendant.
crewman said…
OK, first lets get one fact straight, there would not have been an ABB if it was not for Duane& Dickey so please show a tad bit of respect.Now for the comment of Dickey being a stumbling drunk on stage, W R O N G!Now lets settle another point, I was at the Chicago and a few other ABB shows, only as a guest, and I have to say if it was not for Warren, there would have not been shows. Derek,WELLLLLL,NO! Last, I have had the priviledge of being part of the Dickey and Great Southern tour in 07 & 08 and cannot repeat all the road talk,however,Dickey in no way will be back! So to all you true, true Duane/Dickey fans go see Dickey and Great Southern and hear what it is supposed to sound like. Thanks for taking time too read the facts.
stratomaticboy said…
Dickey has put on better shows than the ABB from about 2006 on....
rooshkin said…
I have seen the ABB many times with Dickey. I have not seen the current ABB without him. I saw Dickey Betts and Great Southern at the Cherry Festival in Traverse City, MI in 2007. There were not that many people at the concert so to say the motivation for a performer might not be at its highest. I brought my three kids ages 5,7,and 13 as well as my wife who is not a fan of ABB music like myself. My kids have seen many concerts including Bob Seger, Doobie Brothers, Chicago, Peter Frampton, Kelly Pickler, Sammy Kershaw, Billy Squier, and many other acts not as big. I've heard all the drunk stories but I have to say my kids still talk about that concert as one of their favorits and debate it being the best show they have seen with the last Bob Seger show in 2006 at a much better atmosphere in the sold out Palace in Auburn Hills. By the way my wife danced to all of Dickeys songs throughout the concert. I have to say Dickey Betts still had it and his show though will never quite be the same without Greg is still quite the performer and one of the greatest guitarists of all time. So people please give him his much earned respect.
Anonymous said…
The current ABB line-up is the best since the original band. D. Trucks really adds a lot to the band, a whole new deminsion. Trucks is one of the best young guitarists around. In my opinion, the music they are putting out now is the best since the 1970's. I wonder how good it could be with Trucks and Betts sharing guitar duties with Betts at the top of his game. The day Trucks leaves the ABB I'll likely stop attending their shows.
Anonymous said…
well I have seen both Dickey Betts and Great Southern and the ABB over the past few years. DB and Great Southern was great and their 3 guitar lineup with Aledort, DB ,and Duane Betts is strong.They put on a great show showing Dickey's roots which are more country rock and melodic. The ABB is a good band but their 2 lead vocalists g. allman and w. haynes are gruff blues singers--great! but it is a different sound from Dickey. What made the ABB great was the fact they had some variety to their sound when Dickey was in the band. Yeah- they play a varied setlist now but the tone of the band has hardened to a heavy blues rock sound that could really use Dickey's country soul.
Anonymous said…
I know this is a horrible thing to say, but I don't find Warren Haynes to be that interesting a guitar player or singer, whether with ABB, the Dead, or Mule. He is too hoarse, and just not interesting. It's like nails on a chalkboard to me. Everything he plays sounds like the Warren Haynes sound as opposed to say The Allman Brothers. Derek Trucks is good, but I think he's best when someone lights a fire under his ass. Therefore, I'd obviously love to see Dickey Betts in the band. Regardless, it's cool these guys are still alive and playing great shows.
jack said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
jack said…
IM 53 I SAW THE ORIGINAL ABB AND THE ORIGINAL SKYNYRD AND THE DEAD AND THE STONES MANY TIMES AND THE LATER INCARNATIONS WERE VALID,OF COURSE THEY WERE. AND SENTIMENT AND NOSTALGIA MAKES ME LONG FOR THE ORIGINS, BUT 'YOU CANT GO BACK' NOTE ARTIMUS PYLE, BRIAN JONES, AND PIG-PEN. AND SEE AN EXECUTIVE DECISION HAD TO BE MADE.
BIG ONE said…
I saw Dickey last weekend in Vernon, NJ and he kicked ass. gregg allman is a rat punk, and that's why the ABB first broke up. I'll take Dickey and Great Southern any day over gregg. After Duane died, Dickey carried the band. gregg should be ashamed of himself, the bore.

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