Allman Betts Band's Bless Your Heart - further proof that you can never have enough guitarists

The sons of Gregg Allman, Dickey Betts and Berry Oakley jam on Allman Betts Band's second album Bless Your Heart

Allman Betts Band: Bless Your Heart
(Image: © BMG)

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Considering that their fathers had to be separated into different bands, the sons of Gregg Allman and Dickey Betts seem to be getting along just fine. Guitarists Devon Allman and Duane Betts are joined by a third son-of-an-Allman Brother, Berry Duane Oakley, on bass in their seven-piece band, along with a third guitarist because, well, you can never have enough guitarists when it comes to southern rock. 

What could have been a cynical cash-in (they hadn’t actually played together before they recorded last year’s Down To The River) turns out to have legs. Sure, Bless Your Heart teems with Allman Brothers references and there are long, rambling instrumentals. But this is no tribute act, or covers band, come to that. 

They’ve filtered their inheritance through their own jam-band generation, and the sound is heavier, muddier at times, and Duane Allman’s ‘crying bird’ slide guitar has become more of a screaming bat.

The track that sums it up best is Magnolia Road, a glorious, live-sounding ‘take me home’ song with autobiographical snippets and a host of friends joining in.

Hugh Fielder has been writing about music for 47 years. Actually 58 if you include the essay he wrote about the Rolling Stones in exchange for taking time off school to see them at the Ipswich Gaumont in 1964. He was news editor of Sounds magazine from 1975 to 1992 and editor of Tower Records Top magazine from 1992 to 2001. Since then he has been freelance. He has interviewed the great, the good and the not so good and written books about some of them. His favourite possession is a piece of columnar basalt he brought back from Iceland.