Attendees at Marcus King’s performance in St Petersberg, FL on Tuesday (November 7) were treated to one hell of an encore, as the guitarist and songwriter invited Duane Betts’ onstage for a storming rendition of the Allman Brothers’ In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.
The two players are undoubtedly their own men, musically, but Betts’ has certainly inherited something of his father Dickey Betts’ touch.
King, meanwhile, has long professed the influence of Duane Allman on his own electric guitar work, so spiritually the two make a fine pairing when tackling Allman Brothers material.
In Memory of Elizabeth Reed was penned by Betts senior and initially featured on the Allman Brothers Band’s 1970 record Idlewild South.
However, it is the live recording At Fillmmore East from the following year that has become regarded as the definitive version – and fan footage shows it’s this live take that is, appropriately, channeled in the hands of King and Betts Jr.
From the opening seconds, Duane Betts does a killer take on his father’s fine volume-rolling work, ringing out some string-like sustains from his Les Paul.
King, meanwhile, uses his battered 1958 Gibson Les Paul Custom and begins to weave in and out of the spaces, eventually finding the harmonic bends and ascending lines of the song’s main melody.
By 3.30, King is truly letting out the leash as the song builds to its trademark, psychedelic crescendo, trading back and forth with the hammond organ.
Betts then takes his turn at the wheel at around 6.10, coming in with a more languid pace and a slightly lighter touch, deftly whipping it up to new heights.
We don’t want to get too granular, but there’s a hammer-on into pitch-perfect string bend at about 7.25 that is just exquisite. The kind of playing that could melt a candle from across the room.
Those in attendance seem to agree, as one fan can be heard just ecstatically yelling, “Yes, sir! Yes, sir!” across the footage.
It’s worth hanging on to see the pairing take on Delaney and Bonnie’s I’m Coming Home afterwards, too. Not least, just to observe the remarkable way Betts feels his way into the track – cowritten by one Eric Clapton – from a seemingly cold start.
Speaking of Allman-adjacent guitar collaborations, Duane Betts recently teamed up with Derek Trucks on Staring at the Sun – a “swampy” single from Betts’ new solo record, Wild and Precious Life, intended as a tribute to the playing style of Dickey Betts.