There's definitely a few different styles going on on The Collectors...
Well, the Celtic tune I wrote for the project. Then the others kind of
just came along like what would be good to do. As it turns out, that record
is kind of like a catalog of influences that I’ve had over the years.
My Dad played fiddle and guitar. He was a fiddle player but he could play
guitar too. He was one hell of a fiddle player! Then my Western Swing
Dave Liles influences come out with that. One of my favorite song writers
is Billy Joe Shaver so we did “
You certainly made a project for yourself by labeling The Collectors with a #1 after it. (laughs)
Yeah, that’s kind of indicating that we’ll do it again sometime. (laughs) But first, I think we’ll document a nice live performance then go ahead and do another Collector’s album.
That sounds great. Talking about fiddle players I was going to bring up working with Vassar Clements (who played with Jerry Garcia and Old and In the Way in the mid-seventies) on Highway Call. How did you meet him?
Yeah, he’s a
Do you still see Chuck?
I see him, but not nearly enough. We don’t cross paths as much as I like.
I guess he’s going to be pretty busy in the next couple of months! You’re known primarily as a Gibson Les Paul player. When did you first start playing one?
Let’s see… just about the time that Duane [Allman] and I got together. Duane was playin a Strat at first, and then he found a Les Paul. I was playin a 335 and I liked what he was getting out of his guitar so I got one. I guess that’s the way I got started - in the early days with the Allman Brothers.
How did you meet Duane?
He and Gregg are from
Going back to the Les Paul, how many do you think that you’ve owned over the years?
Not many. I bought a ’57 which I still own.
the one that you used to record “Jessica?”
Yes, that’s the one. Then I had a ’58 and a ’59 and I gave those two away.
I gave one to Chip Morman, a record producer
What kind of a rig are you working with lately?
I’m using a 50 watt
Do you have any words of wisdom for any young players starting out today?
Well, just play a lot. You’ve got to play a lot and you’ve gotta do a lot of listening. You know, Eric Clapton didn’t start the Blues. I don’t mean that in a derogatory way… It’s just that a lot of these young cats that I meet think that Clapton started the Blues. I say, “Nah, you’ve gotta go waaaay further back than that.” You’ve gotta go way back past BB King way back to Son House, to Robert Johnson, Elmore James, and follow the lineage right on out and try to learn a little bit from each one of those guys. Albert King is not to be overlooked. Put your things together that way rather than base it all on modern players. You know the young guys have their favorite modern players but you can’t base your whole thing just on them because you won’t build a strong foundation. That would be my word. I do this column with Guitar World Magazine and I talk a lot about that kind of thing.
Yeah, I think that column has been a big hit! How about any slide advice?
Ah, geez. I just started playing electric slide again. I’m used to playing acoustic slide, but with the electric it’s like I’ve gotten into a dragster. (laughter) I’m just getting used to it again. My advice is to look at Lowell George. You want to look at Duane Allman and Elmore James. Then you look to Robert Johnson and Willie McTell and you know, Taj Mahal and Jesse Ed Davis. He was a nice slide player. You just trace back “who did this cat listen to.” That’s the way to build a real good foundation to build your style from.
Oh hell, I’d definitely say any of the shows when we opened for Phil Lesh
and Friends. Just about any of my shows that are full length... The ones
where we play for 3 hours. We did one in
Could you give us any comments about you and the Allmans parting ways? Have you come to any kind of understanding with each other?
Unfortunately, no. I’ll tell you the God’s honest truth, I’m not mad at anybody, I’m just disappointed. I didn’t want to see The Allman’s Brother’s Band end its history that way. I hope that those guys do well. I wish them the best. I just wish things didn’t have to happen the way... Sometimes things happen for the best, so I just have to wait and see. Things happen and things change. If there’s one thing constant, it’s change. (laughs) So, it’s kind of a new era for me. I’ve got a bunch of younger cats working with me and they say, “What do you think of this tune?” and I say, “How about doing it something like this?” and they do the same thing with me so the music becomes more dynamic than I'm used to. There’s just a lot of enthusiasm and I've developed a new liveliness to my approach and I'm real happy and proud of what we're doing.
You’ve been getting some stellar reviews and I sure hope fans reading this will get out and see you guys this Fall. Well, thanks so much for your time Dickey. It sure has been a pleasure.
Thank you so much.
immense gratitude to Mr. Dickey Betts for
taking the time out of his busy schedule to speak with us.