The Great Dicky Betts–and the Great Dan Toler

This clip is incredible though the audio is a bit of balance. Suggest starting somewhere before the 2:42 mark – maybe start from the beginning. Then they launch into it. Truly outstanding. This is post-Duane, Dicky Betts is incredible. The other guitar player is Dan Toler who was a great guitar player in his own right and was the first guitar player to follow Duane after his passing. Toler played with Betts in Great Southern and joined the Allman Brothers on several albums beginning with “Enlightened Rogues.” He passed away in 2013 after battling ALS. Got to see Betts and Toler about 10 or 12 years ago. Toler was perfect because he always knew where Betts was headed musically and didn’t step on his toes even though he was an outstanding lead player himself. Whenever Toler was able to step out in front, he was exceptional.

As for Betts, I don’t think the man gets nearly enough credit for his ability. Beyond a doubt, he is a legend and iconic figure and at the same time it is said that he lacks sophistication in his playing and rarely ventures out beyond standard blues and country scales and styles. I hate to hear it. Betts is really a master of the emotive force of guitar music. His nuance and talent is clearly shown as he just rips into “Cross to Bear” on this clip. It’s great – and I am so impressed even while Duane’s incredible lead on this song are always in mind and among the best solos I’ve ever heard. It seems ridiculous to argue over technique, speed or prowess when real musical ability is built around phrasing, the use of space and time – and this is where Dicky Betts excels. He plays with so much heat and heart and puts everything into it – Betts’ playing is so powerful because he really communicates, he is absolutely honest in his playing and, at least for me, whatever he is doing with that guitar really hits me in the gut. It is amazing to hear him.

–Walter Weinschenk

Homepage photo: www.dickybetts.com

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