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Dickey Betts reunites with Derek Trucks on Allman Brothers Band classics

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Dickey Betts Derek Trucks Tedeschi

Sarasota resident and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dickey Betts, left, backstage with guitarists Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks (right). Betts performed with the Tedeschi Trucks Band on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Betts and Derek Trucks shared guitar duties in the Allman Brothers Band from 1999 to 2000. COURTESY PHOTO / DICKEYBETTS.COM

It’s Saturday night and Sarasota resident Dickey Betts stands at the center of the stage looking lean and healthy. He’s wearing what appears to be the same cowboy hat, orange T-shirt, blue jeans and boots combo he donned during the superb show he played recently at Robarts Arena in Sarasota. Except this time, Betts is at the Beacon Theatre in New York City where he used to make magic every March with his old group, the Allman Brothers Band.

Betts walks on stage to join his former Allman Brothers Band cohort Derek Trucks and the rest the Tedeschi Trucks Band. The sight of this long-awaited, unexpected reunion causes members of the frenzied crowd to shout, “Oh my god!”

Betts gives a smiling Susan Tedeschi a kiss on the cheek, turns to his other side and nods at her husband, current Allman Brothers guitarist Derek Trucks. The opening licks of "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" are greeted with a fresh tidal wave of cheers. The three guitarists weave in and out of each other and harmonize beautifully with ace accompaniment from the Grammy-winning Tedeschi Trucks Band.

Dickey Betts courtesy

Dickey Betts courtesy photo by Frank Serio

But this is guitar hero Betts’ landmark instrumental composition. The one he wrote and performed with the original Allman Brothers Band; most famously on the group’s classic concert album “At Fillmore East.” Betts is TTB's bandleader right now and he's making the most of this special experience.

Following a riveting, 13-minute performance of “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed,” Betts leads TTB through “Blue Sky,” his first vocal performance with the Allman Brothers Band four decades ago and one of the last studio recordings to feature Betts playing guitar with the legendary Duane Allman.

Betts sings sweetly while leading the band through 10 minutes of country-soul bliss. During the encore, Betts also joined the Tedeschi Trucks Band on Saturday for the Elmore James classic "The Sky is Crying," according to this setlist post.

Betts Trucks Tedeschi

Sarasota resident and Rock and Roll Hall of Famer Dickey Betts performed with the Tedeschi Trucks Band on Saturday, September 21, 2013, at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Betts and Derek Trucks shared guitar duties in the Allman Brothers Band from 1999 to 2000. PHOTO / YOUTUBE

Yes, Betts and all the musicians around him sound terrific on the clips posted on YouTube of his rather historic performance Saturday with current Allman Brother guitarist Derek Trucks’ Grammy-winning side project that includes his equally talented wife and a small army of outstanding backing musicians.

Betts and Trucks can be heard playing guitar together on the Allman Brothers Band’s 2000 live album “Peakin’ at the Beacon,” culled from the group’s performances that year at the Beacon Theatre. Gregg Allman and the other original band members would suspend Betts from the group, leading to a permanent split, the same year. Those original surviving Allman Brothers Band members include drummer Butch Trucks, Derek's uncle.

Derek Trucks told me in January he wanted to share the stage again with Betts. Trucks also said that during the Allman Brothers' 2009 Beacon dates, which served as a 40th anniversary tribute to Duane Allman, Betts declined an offer to join his former band mates on stage.

"Personally, absolutely whatever problems they have are not my personal problems," Trucks told me. "The band reached out to him for the tribute to Duane on the 40th anniversary and a lot has gone on. But I feel for it to go out right, it's a natural thing to do, with everybody in the right spirit."

Trucks added that Betts has his “vote, but I don't know if it counts.”



Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: September 23, 2013
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