The North Mississippi Allstars’ CD/DVD set Do it Like We Used to Do is a multi-dimensional history lesson. Culled from live shows from 1996 to 2008, the two audio discs tell the story of a young blues band and its rise to stardom. The DVD takes the story a step further, detailing the history of Mississippi hill country blues, a regional musical dialect and a scene that claimed Luther and Cody Dickinson, and Chris Chew as its own.
R.L. Burnside penned classics like “Goin’ Down South” and the “Po Black Maddie”>”Skinny Woman”>”Jumper on the Line” suite highlight the first disc, entitled Gone Lay It Down, which covers 1996-2004. The second disc, Preacher Say Amen, culled from the years 2004-2008, further expands the band’s sound and marks a period of further polish. Clocking in at nearly 12 minutes, “Jr”>”Stay All Night”>Lord Have Mercy”>”Stay All Night” is prime North Mississippi Allstars.
The DVD offers an intimate glimpse of the band and its Mississippi home. Interviews with the band members and their families create an intimate aura, enhanced by the wealth of home video footage showing the Dickinson brothers playing everywhere from the streets with Othar Turner’s Rising Star Fife & Drum Band to juke joints populated by friends and family to the Bonarroo stage. The North Mississippi Allstars’ story is one that begs to be told, one rich in history and soul.
Do It Like We Used to Do succeeds on all fronts. Bucking the all-too-common studio retrospective, the North Mississippi Allstars have chosen to revisit their history where it has played out most impressively – the stage. And the DVD gives perspective the roots of the music the band both honors and reinvents. These guys are disciples of Mississippi hill country blues, and under their watch, this regional style will live forever.
Do It Like We Used to Do is out now on Songs of the South.