Richard Betts - Highway Call
Format:Vinyl, LP, Album
Incudes original poster
Style: Southern Rock + Country
A1 Long Time Gone 4:26
A2 Rain 3:40
A3 Highway Call 4:26
A4 Let Nature Sing 5:02
B1 Hand Picked 14:16
B2 Kissimmee Kid 3:12
Written-By - Vassar Clements
Producer - Richard Betts , Johnny Sandlin
Written-By - Richard Betts* (tracks: A1 to B1)
My understanding is that Richard Betts was in the Allman Brothers Band and fronts/fronted the band Great Southern.
Ok, that's the history... This is an album which, to me, mixes hillbilly, bluegrass and country and has some jazz and swing influences. Just six tracks and only 35 minutes of music, but what a great album this is.
Betts has a light, but fine voice which suits the songs and is joined by some fine bluegrass singers and instrumentalists (The Rambos and The Poindexters to name a few) and also Chuck Leavell, who played on Eric Clapton's Unplugged album. They all play their part in turning each track into little masterpieces. The first half of the album - "Long Time Gone", "Rain", "Let Nature Sing" and the title track - are all top-notch.
However, the second half of the album consist of just two instrumentals - the excellent "Kissimmee Kid" which was written (I think) by Vassar Clements and the superb 14-minute "Hand Picked" which moves along at some a great pace that I defy anyone not to be tapping their feet by the end of the first minute. Clements - one of the great fiddle players of his generation - plays a key role in keeping the tune rolling along at such a rate of knots
There will no doubt be those who don't like the musical genres mentioned here (to some degree, I'm one of them!), but when you put them all in the melting post, what you have is a fantastic album, one which seems to give you a tour of the southern states of America. However, it is also an album which, sadly, has largely been ignored (certainly on this side of the pond!), but which should be given a great deal more attention.