My First Heroes
“And if you leave me pretty baby, don’t you know you’re gonna hurt me so….”
Gregg Allman’s bluesy finish then led into the most mesmerizing and extraordinary sounds I had ever heard in my 10 years of existence on planet earth…Duane Allman’s roaring guitar solo on “You Don’t Love Me” off of “Live At The Fillmore East”.
I had been playing guitar for about 2 years, I wasn’t anything special. However, on this particular night in my parent’s basement, my dad (a long time Allmans fan) showed me how to use his record player and suggested I listen to The Fillmore album. After he went upstairs and I figured out what to do with the needle, “Statesboro Blues” crackled through the speakers and Duane’s slide was like the combination of a tiger roaring and an eagle screaming, ridiculous right? I had never heard anything like that in my entire life. The whole electricity and grittiness of their blues style playing struck such a deep chord in my suburban soul I was instantly hooked. Proceeding through “Must Have Done Somebody Wrong” and “Stormy Monday” I just sat and listened. That is until track 4 came up….
When I heard Duane’s solo, it was like everything made sense to me. I wanted to play guitar for the rest of my life and nothing could stop me. But when I heard Dickey chime in with his melodic and time taking clean sound, something deeper awoke within me. I finally began to understand what it meant to have a “musical relationship” with another person. It was if the two of them were characters in a novel or movie, and I was along for the ride to experience their journey. Duane was fire and Dickey was earth.
It was also at this moment that I first learned to figure something out entirely by ear. The riff of “You Don’t Love Me” and began learning both of their solos. It was at this point that the guitar just made sense to me. That moment, then and there, I never struggled with understanding the fretboard and how things worked. I was meant to play the guitar, and Duane and Dickey guided me.
That album brought me into another world and led me into my first musical obsession, The Allman Brothers Band. I studied their music more than anything in my life. I printed pictures of them, hung em on my wall, you name it. I would just google images of Duane and Dickey and stare at them. Kind of creepy right? Maybe, but their personas that they emitted through those classic images had an ever lasting effect on me. Duane seemed outgoing and fiery, but Dickey seemed reserved and methodical. Just like their playing, it all made sense.
I’m going to rant more about the two of them and their tones, but I thought it would be cool to give fans an insight into what had such a profound effect on my life. Duane Allman and Dickey Betts.