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Author: Subject: Where did Dickey's instrumentals come from?

Peach Head





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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 09:35 AM
Something I've often wondered about is where Dickey's instrumentals came from. I mean, "In Memory of Elizabeth Reed" seems to come completely out of nowhere on Idlewild South. Dickey has had no writing credits on the first album, and then here comes this intricate piece that's basically jazz with a touch of latin. How does a Florida country boy that's just starting out as a song-writer come up with something like this? And of course, as the records go by, we learn that this was no fluke either: "Les Brers in A Minor," "Jessica," "High Falls," "Pegasus," "True Gravity," "Kind of Bird"... Has Dickey ever spoken about the inspiration behind his instrumentals? Who influenced him? Or was it simply a result of being part of such a creative atmosphere, i.e. the diversity of musical influences that characterized the early ABB?

It's kind of funny how the popular identification of Dickey with the country side of the ABB through "Ramblin' Man" has kind of obscured the fact that he brought such a strong but original jazz element to the band...

 
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True Peach



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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 09:56 AM
They come from his heart, soul & the late-60s early-70s environment (the early ones) -- it was try-anything time & he went with it -- it's amazing how even at that young of an age he'd soaked up those jazz influences -- that combined with the environment/people/spirit of the times...just my .02 worth

 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 10:08 AM
Butch

 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 10:16 AM
As John Lee Hooker would say "It's in him and it's got to come out"

 

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Peach Head



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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 10:25 AM
Thanks for the reply. What strikes me as fascinating is if you put Dickey's songwriting in its original context. "Revival" and "Elizabeth Reed" - these are really his first songwriting efforts, aren't they? Because he didn't write anything for the 31st of February or any previous band, did he? In that context, "Revival" and particularly "Elizabeth Reed" seem to me really remarkable efforts. And especially since this burst of creativity seem so unexpected, as Dickey really had quite a subdued role on the first album: no writing credits, and literally obscured by Duane on the album cover.
 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 10:28 AM
Yes Dickey has spoken about his influences. And it should be no surprise where his instramentals come from. They ceratinly didn't appear out of thin air. Dickey comes from a musical family and grew up playing "string music" (It's called Bluegrass today thanks to Bill Monroe). I believe that Dickey actually may have started out on fiddle or his dad may have played. So from early on probably had a steady diet of fiddle tunes which are nothing more than mini-instramentals with strong melodies that not only allow but encourage improvisation and various interpetations there in.

Also surf music and instramental bands like the Ventures were very popular during his formative years. Many folks forget about this but these tunes were what all aspiring guitarists wanted to play. It should be noted that George Harrison passed audition for the Beatles playing a (Link Wray?) instramental. Elvin Bishop has said that if you wanted to play in a Chicago Blues band at the time, you had to know "Hideaway."

Dickey also had some local influences. Dave Lyle (I believe) who played on one of Dickey's latter solo CD's was a huge influence on him at a young age. Dave was/is a great player who lived up here in Charlotte for a time and influenced many a picker up here including my friend Rusty Barkley. Dave was schooled in Bob Wills and Western Swing music. This is where the patented Allman Brother twin guitar harmonies come from.

So you see while Dickey is definately a one-of-a-kind original, he shares alot of the same influences of others of his time.

 

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Peach Master



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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 10:32 AM
I don't think you're giving Dickey credit enough for his impact on the first album as far his input. He probably had as much influence on those guitar parts as Duane. They were a team. As far as where his tunes came from? I think it's easy to see that he did not have tunnel vision as many people do musically these days. He ( they ) listened to a lot of different things and absorbed it and we were lucky enough to be the recipients of all that influence. Maybe I'm wrong but that's how I see (hear) it !
 

Peach Head



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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 11:14 AM
And thanks for your reply, Charlesinator - that answers a lot! So, in other words, the melodic themes and improvisational space that are characteristic of Dickey's instrumentals derive more from string music than jazz? That's interesting!
 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 11:25 AM
quote:
And thanks for your reply, Charlesinator - that answers a lot! So, in other words, the melodic themes and improvisational space that are characteristic of Dickey's instrumentals derive more from string music than jazz? That's interesting!



I think that you're missing something much deeper, Rubin. Jazz in and of itself is derived from "string music." I'd love to share some of my accumulated knowledge of American music history but alas I'm late for work as usual because I'm on Hittin'theWeb! That hasn't ever happened to anybody else ... has it?

 

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Peach Head



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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 11:34 AM
Well, my main forte was always rock 'n' roll...

I'd like to hear more, though; never too late to learn.

 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 11:39 AM
quote:
Also surf music and instramental bands like the Ventures were very popular during his formative years. Many folks forget about this but these tunes were what all aspiring guitarists wanted to play.


The very 1st album (LP) that I purchased way back in those days (60's) was an album by the Ventures. All instrumental, the songs had names like "Peach Fuzz" and "Candy Apple Red". It was on sale at a Convenient Food Mart.

 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 12:20 PM
DJANGO

 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 02:29 PM
They come from his heart, his mind and his complimentary complicated consciousness.

 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 02:50 PM
his pure musical genuis...Duane had excellent taste.....
 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 02:56 PM
Where did Dickey's instrumentals come from?

I would think they "come from" the same place that most all musicians will credit. Inspiration and "feel".....I think it is that simple...Some days it comes to you, others......not so much...

 

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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 05:47 PM
Duane always said that Dickey was a helluva lead guitar player...so yes as Dad says Duane had an inate sense of talent, and Dickey just writes from his heart and soul. Wrote Jessica when his little girl crawled into the room and DIckey wanted to write a song that could be played in the style of one of his heroes Djanjo Reinhardt....and the rest is Jessica.

 

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World Class Peach



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  posted on 8/30/2011 at 06:37 PM
I miss the Man In The Hat and am just glad I had the honor of seeing him many times over the years; saw his final concert with the Brothers in Atlanta....

Where did it all come from? It's a great question. You can put a monkey in front of a typewriter for 20 years and it won't write Moby Dick. This 'stuff' we listen to doesn't grow on trees.

We give up major chunks of our lives following these guys.

They owe me zero. But we still wonder...and remember.

[Edited on 8/30/2011 by TanDan]

 

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  posted on 8/31/2011 at 06:00 AM
I am a huge fan of DB.. saw him last night at the City Winery in NYC.. he and the band were just great...

quote from his web site

and he said ....

I'm real Thankful for having had "road schooling" really early. I learned music has nothing to do with how you move your hands and everything to do with whats in your heart.

Dickey Betts...

 

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Ultimate Peach



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  posted on 8/31/2011 at 10:52 AM
Good Dickey interview with LeeRoy Parnell over at www.gibson.com...he talks about the "string music". To me Dickey's instrumentals sound like soundtracks from a western movie.

 

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