Archive for Duane Allman

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Dickey Betts

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by 30daysout

Now this is one from my own record collection … today we blow the dust off Highway Call, the 1974 solo album by Allman Brothers Band guitarist Dickey Betts.  But for his first solo album, he’s billed as “Richard Betts.”

In 1974 the Allman Brothers Band had hit a crossroads: both Duane Allman and bass player Berry Oakley had died, and the album Brothers and Sisters (mostly recorded after the death of Oakley) had been a hit.  But the album introduced a softer, country-rock direction thanks to Betts’ “Ramblin’ Man,” which was a radio hit.  Pianist Chuck Leavell was also heavily featured, and the result was a sound that strayed a bit from the Allmans’ trademark dual-guitar attack.  With the direction of the band in question, both Betts and Gregg Allman set out to cut solo albums.

Betts’ Highway Call was an extension of his country-rock approach, and the album’s opener “Long Time Gone” could be the sequel to “Ramblin’ Man.”  Instead of an extra guitar, though, this song has a steel guitar (played by John Huhgey) that opens up this road-ready album.  “Rain” adds the country backing vocals of the Rambos (Buck, Dottie and Reba) for yet another dip into Betts’ country-rock pool.

The title song, coming third in the lineup, is a slow one that steers us closer to pure country thanks to Leavell’s honky-tonk plinking.  “Let Nature Sing” begins the second half of the program (this is a short, six-song album) with down-home gospel harmonies and banjo pickin’.  To me, it’s a little reminiscent of the Byrds’ country sound on Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

Fiddler Vassar Clements kicks off the  stomp “Hank Picked,” and a square dance breaks out for 14 minutes on this extended instrumental.  This song puts Betts’ guitar work into a stricter country context, and he shines on this cut – it’s certainly the album’s centerpiece.  “Kissimee Kid,” another fiddlin’ instrumental (this one actually written by Clements), ends the album on an upbeat note.

Highway Call was successful but it didn’t get the attention that Gregg Allman’s solo album Laid Back did about the same time.  Allman had a radio hit with his remake of the Bro’s “Midnight Rider” and maybe Betts got lost in the shuffle.  But the two albums couldn’t be more different – Allman’s was more of a singer/songwriter move, while Betts’ was meant to showcase some superior musicianship.

Of course, you know the rest – the Allmans would record intermittently in the ensuing decades and finally they parted ways with Dickey Betts in 2000.  He formed the Dickey Betts Band and played also with an outfit called Great Southern, which featured Betts’ son Duane (guess who he was named after).  In December 2009 Dickey Betts announced he was no longer going to tour, although he played some dates as recently as July with Great Southern.

MP3: “Long Time Gone”

MP3: “Let Nature Sing”

Dickey Betts official website

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Delaney & Bonnie & Friends

Posted in Rock Classics! with tags , , , , , , , on February 26, 2010 by 30daysout

Today we have a great album to share:  D&B Together, from Delaney & Bonnie & Friends.  The husband-and-wife team of Delaney and Bonnie Bramlett put out some great records in the late 1960s and early 1970s.  They started out on Stax Records, and you can get an idea of what these two funky white folks had to sound like to record for the likes of Stax (home to Otis Redding, Wilson Pickett, etc.).

Delaney Bramlett is one of the great rock bandleaders, perhaps underrated today but certainly not when he was in his prime.  Bramlett not only had his fiercely soulful singin’ wife, but he recruited some of the greatest musicians to play backup on those Delaney & Bonnie albums.  D&B Together, from 1972, is the duo’s sixth album and man, they don’t cut records like this any more.

First, the band: Delaney, on guitar and vocals; Bonnie, vocals; drums, Jim Gordon (Derek & the Dominos); bass, Kenny Gradney (Little Feat); keyboards, Billy Preston!; keyboards and vocals, Leon Friggin’ Russell!; more bass, Carl Radle (Derek & the Dominos); more drums, Jaimoe (Allman Brothers); more keyboards, Bobby Whitlock (Derek & the Dominos); and even more bass, James Jamerson (Motown)!  Now the guitar players – Eric Clapton, Steve “The Colonel” Cropper, Dave Mason and Duane Friggin’ Allman!  Nice, eh?

The album kicks off with Mason’s “Only You Know and I Know,” which was a hit for Delaney & Bonnie.  Led by Bonnie’s soulful vocals (with backing vocals – oh I forgot those – by Merry Clayton, Rita Coolidge, Clydie King, Tina Turner and Eddie Kendricks, among others) the song establishes the easy rockin’ and intoxicating mash of soul, rock, blues and country that seemed to be so easy and unforced back in the early 1970s.  “Wade In The River of Jordan” could have been a tambourine-shaker from any white or black country church, and Delaney’s “Well Well” is another tasty slab of rockin’ soul.

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Sampler Daze: Capricorn’s Dixie Rock

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 13, 2009 by 30daysout
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The Allman Brothers Band

The Warner/Reprise sampler series wouldn’t have been the same without the contributions from Capricorn Records, the Macon, Georgia, label that put out down-home Southern rock.  Phil
Walden, who served as Otis Redding’s manager until the singer’s death in 1967, found this young Florida kid playing guitar and nutured the kid’s talent into a rock band.

That, of course, was Duane Allman and as the Allman Brothers Band took off Walden founded a record label with the blessing of Atlantic Records’ Jerry Wexler (whose own label distributed Otis Redding).  Capricorn Records didn’t take off immediately – as the Allmans’ first album sold poorly – but when the group put out their classic double live set At Fillmore East in 1971, Walden left Atlantic and signed a new distribution deal with Warner Bros.

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Delaney Bramlett, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags , , , on December 29, 2008 by 30daysout

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Delaney Bramlett, who put together one of the best bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s, has died at the age of 69.  Teamed with his wife Bonnie, Bramlett assembled a Southern-rock outfit that included the likes of Eric Clapton, Duane Allman and Leon Russell.  Some of the other players – including Bobby Whitlock, Jim Gordon and Carl Radle – would go on to play on other blockbuster albums of the 1970s, like George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass and of course, Clapton’s Layla.

Some of the wire stories about Bramlett’s death mistakenly attribute him as the co-writer of such Clapton hits as “Let It Rain” but it was really wife Bonnie who was the writer on those songs.  He did co-write songs for Clapton’s eponymous solo debut album, in 1970.  Anyway, Delaney Bramlett – a rock and roll classic.

MP3: “They Call It Rock and Roll Music” (from To Bonnie, From Delaney, 1970)

MP3: “Soul Shake” (1970)

MP3: “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” (from Motel Shot, 1971)

MP3: “Never Ending Song Of Love” (1971)

MP3: “Groupie (Superstar)” (1970)

MP3: “Bottle Of Red Wine” (from Eric Clapton, 1970)

Lost Classics! Boz Scaggs

Posted in Lost Classics! with tags , , on July 2, 2008 by 30daysout

Despite what you may have heard, William Royce Scaggs is not a native Texan, nor was he born with the nickname “Boz.”  He was born in Ohio but his traveling salesman father moved the family to Texas, where a school chum nicknamed him “Bosley.”  You see where it goes from there.

And where Boz went from there was to college, to blues bands, to London, and finally to the Steve Miller Band in the late 1960s.  After recording two albums with Miller (and a solo LP in 1965) Boz Scaggs set out on his own.  His self-titled album on Atlantic Records in 1969 featured the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section out of Alabama.

The absolute highlight of the album is “Loan Me A Dime,” a lazy-building blues that features some nifty guitar work from a kid who was not really born in Georgia – Duane “Skydog” Allman.  The song clocks in at 12 and a half minutes, but when you glide on that intoxicating, swirling guitar into the song’s climax the ride seems deliriously short.  You simply can’t listen to this just once.

MP3: “Loan Me A Dime”

Boz Scaggs official website