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Dickey Betts & Great Southern Rip It Up in Greenville

Posted: Oct 27, 2009

Dickey Betts and Great Southern brought it all back home to Greenville's Handlebar  on Wednesday, October 21, 2009 with a show that had a capacity crowd on their feet and dancing from start to finish.

Greenville’s own treasure True Blues opened the show with an ultra-tight set of blues rock originals and cover tunes. There’s no doubt after reading the Betts and Allman message boards, these guys won over a whole bunch of new fans who had driven in from all over the South to see the “ramblin’ man.”

Betts greeted everyone at The Handlebar and then strapped on his Les Paul Gold Top. The band kicked things off with the Grammy Nominated instrumental “High Falls,” with Betts, his son Duane and Andy Aledort hittin’ the note on an amazing triple-lead bombast. Nearly fifteen minutes later, the band struck the familiar opening notes to “Statesboro Blues,” and we were off on another ten minute ride filled with smoking slide guitar, with keyboard man Mike Kach sounding at times a lot like Dickey's former partner in crime, Gregg Allman.

Set one continued with “There Ain’t Nothin You Can Do,” and then Dickey’s son Duane Betts stepped up to the mike to sing “Paradise.” It’s a nice song, but Duane is not the best singer. I can hear a bit of his Dad in him, so maybe he just needs more experience. After all, I wasn’t impressed with his guitar playing several years ago, but he has gotten quite a lot better, and was doing some tasty leads Wednesday night.

Next came the perineal “Franklin’s Tower” tease, so we all knew a true Betts classic was looming nearby. “Blue Sky” did not disappoint. I never get tired of that song, even after all these years.

Before you could say “Eat a Peach,” Dickey took off on “One Way Out,” with the jam packed Handlebar audience up on their feet dancing. The ten minute jam was followed by an absolutely stellar thirteen minute plus “Jessica,” with Betts again taking us into the stratosphere.

After a short break, the band returned with “Good Times,” a song yet to appear on a Betts album, but a really good one that he wrote about Jerry Garcia. I had just turned to the guy beside me and said “I sure hope he plays “Back Where it All Begins,” and the minute I got the words out or my mouth, they kicked into. Man oh man, was it ever a ride. Fifteen minutes of guitar pyro. That Andy Aledort can really rip it up himself. And let’s not overlook the bass playing of Pedro Arevalo, who is just amazing and fun to watch onstage.

Next, Mike sang some more Gregg on “You Don’t Love Me.” playing a very tasty piano solo inside the groove. Then it was “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” thirty minutes of it, including a brilliant “drums” section from Frankie Lombardi and James Varnado, and a thumping bass solo from Pedro. Things had reached a boiling point, and the crowd was levitating.

Dickey closed it all out with “Nobody Left to Run With,” but the Greenville crowd wasn’t about to let him leave just yet, clapping and screaming for his return.

For his encore, Dickey pulled out his greatest hit ever, the 1973 Allman Brothers Band tune “Ramblin’ Man.” Eight minutes later, it was all over. Dazed children of the sixties and seventies began making their way out of the club, huge smiles plastered across their faces. The temperature outside was cool, and oddly enough, the fall air smelled like peaches.

- Michael Buffalo Smith, Review & Photos

SETLIST October 22, 2009

Set One
High Falls
Statesboro Blues
There Ain’t Nothing You Can Do
Franklin’s Tower > Blue Sky
One Way Out

Set Two
Good Times
BackWhere It All Begins
You Don’t Love Me
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed > Drums > bass> Elizabeth Reed
Nobody Left to Run With
Ramblin Man


Andy, Dickey and Duane during "High Falls."


The "Ramblin' Man"




Duane hittin' the note.


Mike on the keyboards.


Joe Cash, drummer for True Blues at sound check.


Pedro showin' the Buffalo some love.

For all things Betts and all things Allman, visit our Allman Brothers Band: Six Degrees of Swampland Page!


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sandybluesky says...

Excellent review Michael. Thank you.

michaelbuffalo says...

Thank you Copperhead. And thanks to everyone for your kind words and support of Gritz and Swampland!

copperhead says...

Guess you know now how important your daily fix of southern Rock is to all of us.

countryrocker1967 says...

Yeah some folks were actually afraid you had died. Seriously. I for one am very happy you did not. I hope all is well.

michaelbuffalo says...

Well thank you! Yeah, I had a bit of an adjustment period. Thank's for bearing with me! And thanks for reading! Please tell all your friends to come on over and check us out! Thanks again. Buff

cincymom says...

Sounds like one heck of an evening! Glad to know you're keeping busy with such enjoyable distractions. Some of us were beginning to miss your dispatches. Thanks for sharing and take care Buff.

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