Sunday, April 24, 2011

Allman Brothers Band guitar legend Dickey Betts plays benefit in Sarasota

By Ray Shasho

Classic rock guitarist Dickey Betts and his band Great Southern played for two year old Emalynn Roberts Saturday night at Hershberger Property on Fruitville Road in Sarasota. The fundraiser was organized by “Sarasota’s Littlest Heroes”, a non-profit charity founded in 2008 by three Sarasota Sheriff’s deputies dedicated to helping the sick children of Law Enforcement Officers in the Southwest Florida Region.

Two-year old Emalynn Roberts was diagnosed with chronic inflammatory polyneuropathy last summer, and is on a ventilator. Her parents Deputy Sheriff James Roberts and Katie Roberts began to worry about a year ago when she was having trouble with her balance. Now the disease has moved into Emalynn's arms, and she has little use of them. It also settled in her upper respiratory system. Her parents desperately need help to pay for medical costs that their insurance won’t cover. She’s already had two treatments and the hope is for much better results on a third.

You can donate and help Emalynn Roberts by clicking on the Pay Pal button on the link below (it’s fast and safe)
Or you can mail your donation to Sarasota’s Littlest Heroes Foundation (For Emalynn Roberts) 7515 Proctor Road Sarasota, Fl  34241. Please call Dave Clark at (941)375-1230 for further information.

The event itself seemed like a thousand neighbors coming together and having fun for a good cause. And Dickey Betts just happened to be one of their neighbors. It was an extremely cold night. Earlier in the day there was great barbecue. But when the sun disappeared everyone scrambled to the hot coffee tables.
At 9:35 pm, Betts walked out from a large motor coach and journeyed through an open field with his posse to a tent covered stage.

I reminisced with them earlier outside the vehicle about those infamous stories at the Oar House in Bradenton Beach in the late 70’s. There was lots of partying going on and the Allman Brothers Band playing into the wee hours. When the Oar House burned down, Gregg Allman still had an outstanding bar tab, but all was forgiven.

Dickey Betts had some pretty stiff competition on stage with him on Saturday night. He was a young guitar slinger that mimicked many of Dickey’s famous licks and facial expressions. His name is Duane Betts, Dickey’s son, and a member of Great Southern. If you close your eyes, you’d have a hard time deciding who Papa Betts was. Duane is a truly amazing guitarist. And it’s good to know that the Betts southern rock legacy will continue to rock on.

Betts played many of the crowd pleasers like Jessica, Blue Sky, One way out, In Memory of Elizabeth Reed, and Ramblin’ Man. Betts can combine country, jazz, blues, and rock into one amazing sound.

Betts, a Bradenton native, had formed a band in Florida with bassist Berry Oakley. One night they jammed with another local group featuring Duane and Gregg Allman, and The Allman Brothers Band formed in 1969. After the death of Duane Allman in 1971, Betts became the bands sole guitarist.

Dickey Betts was inducted along with the rest of The Allman Brothers Band into the rock and roll hall of fame in 1995.  The 1995 Induction Ceremony

I spoke with Dave Clark one of the founders for “Sarasota’s Littlest Heroes” and he estimated that the event raised about thirty thousand dollars. But your donations are still needed.
Please help Emalynn Roberts.

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