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Betts, Dickie, & Great Southern: Rockpalast-30 Years of Southern Rock 1978-2008

Those who have been waiting for some classic live recordings from Dickie Betts & Great Southern need wait no longer thanks to the folks at SPV Recordings and their new Rockpalast series. Rockpalast-30 Years of Southern Rock 1978-2008 features two shows from the former Allman Brothers Band guitar player and his band, the first from Essen, Germany in 1978, and the other from Bonn, Germany in 2008. Both shows feature plenty of Dickie's trademark Gibson Les Paul tone, as he rips through both ABB and Great Southern favorites.

The 1978 show features the Great Southern line-up of Betts (guitar, vocals), Dan Toler (guitar), Michael Workman (keyboards), David Godflies (bass), David Toler (drums), and Dani Sharbono (drums), which Dickie put together during the time that the Allmans where going through a rough time in the late 70's. He and 'Dangerous' Dan Toler (he also a former ABB member) share plenty of smokin' blues, jazz, and rock leads on tracks like "Run Gypsy Run", "Dealin' With the Devil", and the classic "Jessica", but also check out the SMOKIN' organ solo from Workman on the legendary ABB cut "In Memory Of Elisabeth Reed" as he provides a raging segue from rampaging solos from Betts and Toler. Another highlight is the near 30-minute "High Falls", an often overlooked instrumental from the Allman's late 70's catalog that gets "Mountain Jam" styled treatment here, complete with dueling drum solos and plenty of virtuoso guitar lines. For all those who favor the poppier/country side to either the ABB or Great Southern, there's the Allman's classic "Ramblin' Man", a Betts penned number that still remains a fan favorite today. Great sound and fiery playing make this a must hear set for Dickie Betts fans.

Over on CD2, fast forward 30 years to 2008 for a modern live recording of Great Southern, and though you can hear the years in between, it's still an impressive set from the grizzled veteran. The line-up is quite different this time around, as Dickie is now flanked by his son Duane on guitar, Frankie Lombardi on drums, Michael Kach on organ & vocals, bassist Pedro Arevalo, drummer James Vanardo, and guitarist Andy Aledort. Kach handles the Greg Allman sounding vocals on "Statesboro Blues", "One Way Out", and "No One to Run With", and he does a pretty good job trying to sound like Greg, though he cracks in a few spots. Dickie's getting up there in age at this point, and coupled with all the hard living he's done over the years, he sounds a bit weathered vocally here, but the guy can still play a mean guitar, as evidenced by the blistering lead exchanges on "Blue Sky", "Having a Good Time", "One Way Out", and the near 20-minute "In Memory Of Elisabeth Reed". Good to hear Betts pull out one of the Allman's hottest songs of the 90's, "Nobody to Run With" for this set, which he and the band recorded not too long before he was ousted due to his excessive lifestyle, which no longer coincided with the general climate within the group.

Though he'll always be remembered as an integral member of The Allman Brothers Band, Dickie Betts certainly has a solid body of work with Great Southern, enough to make this band an important part of Southern Rock history. This live document proves how it was possible to fuse rock, country, blues, and jazz into a successful formula and create timeless music.

Track Listing
Disc: 1
1. Rockpalast Caption
2. Run Gypsy Run
3. In Memory Of Elisabeth Reed
4. Good Time Feelin'
5. Dealin' With The Devil
6. Jessica
7. High Falls (Incl. Drum Solo)
8. Ramblin' Man

Disc: 2
1. Statesboro Blues
2. Nothing You Can Do
3. Blue Sky
4. Get Away
5. One Way Out
6. Havin' A Good Time
7. In Memory Of Elisabeth Reed
8. No One To Run With
9. Ramblin' Man

Added: July 1st 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: SPV Recordings
Hits: 1789
Language: english

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