Dickey Betts plays Vancouver, with a “wicked” Warren Haynes on slide

haynesbetts

By Steve Newton

On April 2, 1989, southern-rock legend Dickey Betts brought his new band to Vancouver for a show at the 86 Street Music Hall. One of the coolest things about that gig was that it was the Vancouver debut of 28-year-old guitarist Warren Haynes, who would go on to huge acclaim as the driving force behind American blues-rock/jam band Gov’t Mule, as well as become an integral part of the reunited Allman Brothers Band.

Betts was touring behind his first Dickey Betts Band album, Pattern Disruptive, which included “Duane’s Tune”, an instrumental tribute to his former coguitarist in the Allman Brothers Band, Duane Allman. When I interviewed Betts in advance of the show, I asked him what he thought Allman might be doing if he were still around today.

“He’d probably be pulling his hair out at some of the music that’s around,” replied Betts with a chuckle. “But most likely he’d be producing albums—he was always very strong in the studio. And hopefully he’d be playing with me once in a while.”

Needless to say, I journeyed out to the old Expo ’86 nightspot to see Betts in ’89, and judging by my review, was pretty impressed. The “wicked slide guitarist” I mentioned must have been Haynes.

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Charlie Daniels once recorded a song called “The South’s Gonna Do It Again”, and he could be right. Judging by the way things went last Sunday at 86 Street, the sound of the south is alive and well and living in people like guitarist Dickey Betts.

The former Allman Brother brought his own band to town for the first time, and dealt a rip-snortin’ set of new tunes and old Allman classics that had the crowd in hog-heaven for nearly 90 minutes. Betts started off with “Rock Bottom”, the ballsy opening track from his new LP Pattern Disruptive, then quickly went back to 1972 for “Blue Skies”, the feel-good tune he wrote and sang on the Allman’s Eat a Peach album.

Wearing the typical southern rock garb of cowboy hat, jeans, and snakeskin boots, Betts seemed frustrated at first trying to get his gold-top Les Paul in tune, but by the time the band got around to Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues” he was loosened up and ready to roll. His dead-on band featured a wicked slide guitarist and an exceptional keyboardist who’s been blind since birth.

After “Statesboro” the crowd was drawn toward the stage like filings to a magnet, and Betts rewarded them with another gem from Eat a Peach, Elmore James’s “One Way Out”. He played that one with real fury, enough to bust a string and keep his diligent guitar roadie on the go. But the finest moment of Betts’ show came during the three-song encore, when the band delivered his instrumental great, “Jessica”.

Betts didn’t play his best-known tune, “Ramblin’ Man”, which was rather surprising. But he’s probably sick of that one anyway. As if to make up for it, the 86 Street deejay flipped on Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama”.

Good choice, pal.

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To hear the full audio of my interviews with Dickey Betts from 1991 and 2001 subscribe to my Patreon page, where you can also hear my one-on-one conversations with:

Eric Johnson, 2001
Gene Simmons of Kiss, 1992
Ace Frehley from Kiss, 2008
David Lee Roth, 1994
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
John Mayall of the Bluesbreakers, 1988
Steve Vai, 1990
Tony Iommi of Heaven and Hell, 2007
Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers, 1996
Geoff Tate of Queensryche, 1991
James Hetfield of Metallica, 1986
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1990
Rick Richards of the Georgia Satellites, 1988
Andy McCoy and Sam Yaffa of Hanoi Rocks, 1984
Steve Morse, 1991
Slash of Guns N’ Roses, 1994
Brian May from Queen, 1993
Jake E. Lee of Badlands, 1992
Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1997
John Fogerty, 1997
Joe Perry of Aerosmith, 1987
Rick Derringer, 1999
Robin Trower, 1990
Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, 1994
Mick Ronson, 1988
Geddy Lee of Rush, 2002
Buck Dharma of Blue Oyster Cult, 1997
Michael Schenker, 1992
Vince Neil of Motley Crue, 1991
Vinnie Paul of Pantera, 1992
Joan Jett, 1992
Steve Harris of Iron Maiden, 1988
Sebastian Bach of Skid Row, 1989
Rob Halford of Judas Priest, 1984
Bill Henderson of Chilliwack, 1999
Paul Rodgers, 1997
R.L. Burnside, 1999
Guthrie Govan of the Aristocrats, 2015
Mick Mars of Mötley Crüe, 1985
Carlos Santana, 2011
Walter Trout, 2003
Rudy Sarzo of Quiet Riot, 1983
Tommy Aldridge, 2001
Donald “Duck” Dunn, 1985
Mark Farner of Grand Funk, 1991
Chris Robinson of Black Crowes, 1990
Jennifer Batten, 2002
Mike Fraser, 2014
Leo Kottke, 2002
Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead, 2002
David Gogo, 1991
Booker T. Jones, 2016
Link Wray, 1997
James Reyne from Australian Crawl, 1988
Mike Rutherford of Genesis, 1983
Buddy Guy, 1991
Country Dick Montana of the Beat Farmers, 1990
Mike Cooley of the Drive-By Truckers, 2016
Gary Rossington of Lynyrd Skynyrd, 1986
Lindsay Mitchell of Prism, 1988
Buddy Miles, 2001
Eddie Money, 1988
Tom Hamilton of Aerosmith, 1983
Gaye Delorme, 1990
Dave Murray of Iron Maiden, 1984
Graham Bonnet of Alcatrazz, 1984
Mick Fleetwood of Fleetwood Mac, 2016
Doc Neeson of Angel City, 1985
Rik Emmett of Triumph, 1985
Sonny Landreth, 2016
Tosin Abasi of Animals as Leaders, 2016
Jeff Beck, 2001
Albert King, 1990
Johnny Ramone of the Ramones, 1992
Peter Frampton, 1987
Otis Rush, 1997
Gord Downie of the Tragically Hip, 1989
Leslie West of Mountain, 2002
Steve Howe of Yes, 2017
Bruce Dickinson of Iron Maiden, 1983
Uli Jon Roth, 2016
Poison Ivy of the Cramps, 1990
Stevie Ray Vaughan, 1985
Greg Lake of ELP, 1992
Robert Plant, 1993
Malcolm Young and Brian Johnson of AC/DC, 1983
Warren Zevon, 1992
Tal Wilkenfeld, 2016
Steve Clark of Def Leppard, 1988
Roy Buchanan, 1986
Gary Moore, 1984
Ronnie Montrose, 1994
Danny Gatton, 1993
Alex Lifeson of Rush, 1992
Ann Wilson of Heart, 1985
J.J. Cale, 1990
Yngwie Malmsteen, 2014
Chris Cornell, 2008
Long John Baldry, 1985
Allan Holdsworth, 1983
Kim Mitchell, 1984
Warren Haynes of Allman Brothers, 1994
Derek Trucks, 1998
Susan Tedeschi, 1998
Joe Satriani, 2018
B.B. King, 1984
Albert Collins, 1985
Ronnie James Dio, 1985
Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath, 1984
Dick Dale, 2000
Greg Allman, 1998

…with hundreds more to come

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