Health, Biorhythms & Dickey Betts

Originally posted May 16, 2008

Beyond a few oblique mentions, I’ve not said much here about my health concerns. I’ve written some days that I didn’t feel well enough to write much to accompany a post, and that’s about it. But I don’t mean to keep it a mystery: I’ve got chronic fatigue and a few other things to deal with.

But to me, those last words are the key: one deals with it. You keep putting one foot in front of the other, and you do what you can do. One of the things I’m able to do – most of the time – is write, and I do. I’ve got a few writing projects that I’ve been able to work on from time to time, and then there’s this blog, Echoes In The Wind. And I should say that it was a great day for me when I discovered what my friend Darcy (the proprietor of feel it) calls “this blogging lark.” Keeping this little corner of the cyberworld organized and neatly swept has helped me focus, has kept me engaged, has brought me a few friends and has been more fun than anything I’ve done since I ran through the sprinkler on a hot summer day when I was nine.

(I just realized that this may seem elegiac, that I might be giving the impression that I’m closing my cyberdoors. No, I am not. I just thought I’d say a very few words about my health concerns and how I approach them.)

Anyway, I got up this morning feeling pretty crappy, and I got to thinking about biorhythms. I’m still not sure if I buy into the concept, but for a while in the Seventies, I think, biorhythms were a very hot topic. People murmured about “triple lows” and crowed about “triple highs.” If I wanted to put a year on the height of the trend, I could go dig into my Doonesbury books from the Seventies. The strip’s author, G.B. Trudeau, poked fun at the biorhythm craze in a series of strips around that time. As I’m not in the mood to page through the books – and I’d get lost in them, anyway, delaying the completion of this post – I’m simply going to guess that it was around 1977, not long after we all quit wearing mood rings because we got tired of people knowing how we actually felt about things.

So, just for grins, I Googled. And I found a page where one can have biorhythms calculated. Here’s what I got:

With today being at the mid-point of that chart, it’s clear that this could be a tough couple of weeks. (The chart is difficult to read, so I’ll note here that, supposedly, the green line tracks emotional well-being, the red line tracks physical well-being and the blue line tracks intellectual well-being. It looks like I’m going to be a real doofus in about two weeks.) I’m not sure I buy into the concept. But it’s interesting to ponder. And the website I found, Facade, provides plenty of diversions for those who wish to assess – through things metaphysical: runes, Tarot, I Ching, numerology and more – the shifts their fortunes may take.

Now – and this is a strained transition, so beware – if anyone in the music world knows about shifting fortunes, it’s Dickey Betts, second guitarist for the Allman Brothers Band during their heady early years and then lead guitarist in the years after Duane Allman’s death. Betts has had a long series of highs and lows in the nearly forty years since he and Duane and the others burst out of Macon, Georgia, with a sound that would – well, I don’t think it’s loading too much on the wagon to say that the sound of the Allman Brothers Band pretty much created Southern rock and changed the history of rock music.

It was after the Allman Brothers Band disbanded for the first time in 1976 that Betts and his newly formed group, Great Southern, released a self-titled album. (On his own, Betts had released the superb Highway Call, a countryish album, in 1974.) The first Great Southern album, which came out in 1977, has that same country music influence in places, but rocks harder at points, too.

Joining Betts in Great Southern were Tom Broome on keyboards and vocals, Topper Price on harp, Donny Sharbono and Jerry Thompson on drums and percussion, Ken Tibbets on bass, Dan Toler on guitar and vocals, and Don Johnson and Mickey Thomas on background vocals.

Highlights? I like the loping “Run, Gypsy, Run,” and the sweet “The Way Love Goes.” But my favorite piece on the album is the closer, “Bougainvillea.” The song’s love lyric is concise and effective, and the song’s long instrumental section, while it isn’t always as lyrical as one might like, showcases Betts’ skills (and provides, when Toler joins in, a bittersweet reminder of the days when Duane Allman was the guitarist standing next to Betts).

The album reached the Top 40 for two weeks, topping out at No. 31 in early June 1977.

Dickey Betts & Great Southern [1977]

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