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Dickey Betts & Great Southern - Southern Rock Jam album review

Holding firm after the Allmans

Cover art for Dickey Betts & Great Southern - Southern Rock Jam album

The Allman Brothers’ seemingly hopeless disintegration prompted no revolutionary rethinking from Dickey Betts. Instead, the man whose twinlead guitar with Duane Allman had been their original molten core formed a lesser southern rock band, and released the two albums compiled here.

With Dan Toler as his new guitar foil, Dickie Betts & Great Southern’s 1977, self-titled debut’s songs are routine, but the style and authority of Betts’s playing stays sturdy, not least on the cat-scratch, roadhouse blues of Good Time Feeling. The title track of 1978’s Atlanta’s Burning Down cuts deeper, in a Band-style account of a Confederate soldier journeying back to his blazing home, carried by Betts’s uncharacteristically sweet, yearning vocal. His dirty growl, sultry slide-guitar dives and high-kicking solo on Leavin’ Me Again have more swampy conviction than the debut or the misbegotten Allmans reunion which followed.