While both of the original Allman Brothers Band guitarists were gifted enough to shape the group's sound, it was Dickey Betts who was left to take the task on after Allman's death in 1971. With the bluesier half of one of rock's most distinctive tandems gone, Betts's country-grounded style filled the void on the band's 1973 release, Brothers and Sisters. He also provided the band its biggest hit, "Ramblin' Man," from the LP of the same name.
In an era heavily populated by blues-bound players, Betts's sound was fresh not just because of its roots, but also because of the way he used them. Rather than merely quoting country licks, he built tasty, melodic, original-sounding rock solos from the stuff of country and was an inventive improviser besides. A modest, slightly nasal vocal twang and an easy-sounding knack with lyrics filled out one of Southern rock's most significant personalities.
The Allmans split up and re-formed several times since the mid-'70s, with Betts leading his own groups during the intervals apart. The first hiatus yielded his excellent 1974 solo debut, Highway Call. After an acrimonious, apparently final split with the band in 2001, Betts released Let's Get Together, on which he claims some of the old Allmans-style blues and R&B turf for his own.
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