Dickey Betts has a rich track record from his years with the Allman Brothers Band and on his own. But he says the greatest surprise by far was when “Ramblin’ Man” hit No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 1973.
“We were a Grateful Dead-type band, the Allman Brothers. We didn’t try to go for singles,” says Betts, 65, who was fired from the Allmans in 2000 and has led his own band ever since. “We were an album-oriented band.
“But ‘Ramblin’ Man’ took off and cut right through all the charts. It was a big, very pleasant surprise.”
Betts credits “an old cowboy friend” with inspiring the song.
“I used to hang around with him a lot,” recalls Betts, who was ranked No. 58 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time list. “Then, when I started going on the road so much and making records and things, I didn’t see him very often. So when I would come back home and visit him, he would say, ‘How you been doin’? You’re playin’ your music and doing the best you can, I guess.’
“That just stuck in my mind and I wrote the song from him saying that — ‘Playing your music and doing the best you can.’ I changed it to ‘Tryin’ to make a living and doing the best I can,’ just so more people could relate to it — and I guess they did.”
Dickey Betts & Great Southern perform Tuesday (March 17) at The Crofoot Ballroom, 1 S. Saginaw St., Pontiac. Doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets are $25. Call (248) 858-9333 or visit www.thecrofoot.com.