Tag Archives: Cody Dickinson

NMO: Freedom & Dreams

NMOWhen veterans of the music industry get together in the studio you know that something special is going to occur. Growing up with a deep appreciation for the delta blues and rock, Anders Osborne and The North Mississippi All-Stars (Luther and Cody Dickinson) are the perfect fit to work together and create an album.  Freedom & Dreams is a powerful statement from the Osborne/ All-Stars collaboration (NMO – North Mississippi Osborne) and brings out a wealth of emotions that listeners can relate to in their lives.  With decades of live performances and studio releases under their belts this is the first time that Anders Osborne and The North Mississippi All-Stars have had the opportunity to come together as one on an album.

 

Opening with “Away for Too Long,” Osborne’s soulful voice rings through brightly, as Luther Dickinson’s recognizable guitar and his Brother Cody’s drums provide a steady juke-joint style swing.  “Back Together,” the second track follows with a nice slow groove that is an emotional journey as Osborne sings of a long-lost love that has been rekindled.  Guitarist Dickinson adds an absolutely flawless solo that highlights Osborne’s heartfelt lyrics and reminds why Dickinson is quite simply one of the most inventive guitarists around today.

 

On “Shining (Spacedust)” the inter-play between the three musicians is at the forefront and it is easy to hear how the trio compliments each other so well.  With Osborne’s lead vocals on this slowed down tune you can hear the Swedish born singer/songwriter speak from his heart with the lyrics, “You’re shining and you’re beautiful today/ You’re radiant right now in every way.”  The Dickinson brothers accentuate Osborne’s heartfelt lyrics with a subtle taste of guitar and shimmering dose of tambourine and brushes on the drums.

 

The addition of the classic Osborne track “Katrina,” is the definition of the blues.  Ten years ago Hurricane Katrina swept through New Orleans and the surrounding area bringing sorrow to millions. Many musicians at the time, including Osborne and the Dickinson’s, came together to lend a helping hand by playing benefits to help people get back on their feet. With the lyrics “You pushed me and you pulled me/ You tore my heart apart,” the powerful lyrics are near and dear to trio who saw so much of the destruction up close in their New Orleans and Mississippi homes.

 

Freedom & Dreams shows the wide-range of this multi-talented trio.  One of the many highlights is “Many Wise Men,” an acoustically-driven tune that finds the band switching gears to a slower-mellow paced groove that is like floating on a cloud. Multi-instrumentalist Cody Dickinson, on washboard and drums, leads the way, while Osborne and Luther trade sweet, lilting guitar licks back and forth.

 

The album concludes with the long-time blues and New Orleans staple “Junco Pardna,” which proves the perfect capstone to this collaboration of southern-blues-rockers.

A Thanksgiving holiday North Mississippi Allstars feast

North Mississippi Allstars
Minglewood Hall
Memphis, TN
November 29, 2013

As the North Mississippi Allstars took the stage the Friday after Thanksgiving, it was clear that this would be a night to remember, a show for the ages.

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The Allstars’ holiday Memphis shows have long been a storied tradition, a recurring page in the book that is their career. But, as the band’s drum line meandered through the shoulder-to-shoulder crowd at Minglewood Hall, one couldn’t help but notice that the vibe in the packed room was different.

For one, there were video cameras – everywhere. The band was shooting the evening for a concert video, and along with the two hand-held cameras that roamed the stage throughout the show and the platform-mounted steadycam in the photo pit, the band encouraged the audience to shoot with their cell phones and submit the videos.

But, for all the hoopla, the music is always first with the Allstars, and there would be plenty of music – three-plus hours, to be sure. The band took the stage from the back of the room – they had a drumline that started at the back and made their way through the crowd and up to the stage with the traditional “Shimmy She Wobble > My Babe > Station Blues.” From there, they proceeded to do what the Allstars do – take Mississippi Hill Country blues and kick it in the ass.

“Turn Up Satan,” a song from the new World Boogie Is Coming, was one of the few newer songs that made its way into the setlist, and it was a good way to lead up to the always-fun “Shake ‘Em On Down.”

Guitarist/vocalist Luther Dickinson’s stage presence was front and center, and as he unleased note after beautiful note during “Shake ‘Em,”  the smile on his face was infectious. He was clearly in his element, in full command of his hometown crowd. When musicians bring their A game (as Dickinson always does), and do it with a smile, it certainly makes for a more enjoyable show.

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The band was at its finest when it turned the stage into a full-on party, though. “Meet Me In The City” had the first “guest” of the evening, Duwayne Burnside, on backup vocals. These holiday Allstars shows are never just the Allstars, and they’re not meant to be – they’re family celebrations.

“Mean ‘Ol Wind Died Down” was huge as usual, starting slow but building into a monstrous jam. However, it was also one of the songs where it was abundantly clear that the band misses Chris Chew’s immense presence on stage.

Chew’s background vocals leant themselves well to some of the band’s more gospel-blues-sounding tunes, and when the Allstars perform them today, something’s just not there.

There was certainly nothing missing from “Jumper On The Line,” though. By this time, Cody Dickinson had shed a layer of clothing or two, strapped on a Viking helmet, and was running from side to side of the photo pit, washboard in hand. Ever the showman, he climbed onto the rail more than once to play in the crowd.

At this point, there were literally eight people on stage. T-Model Ford’s grandson Stud had taken over on drums, Luther had Lightnin’ Malcolm’s bass, and Malcolm, Kenny Brown, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Duwayne Burnside were all on guitar. It was probably the jam of the evening, and fortunately caught on video for posterity, because it captured the essence of what the Allstars are about – family.

Burnside left during “Jumper,” only to return in costume – the Red Rooster – for “Snake Drive,” and the band closed their set with “Granny, Does Your Dog Bite.”

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By this point, the band had been on stage for nearly two hours, and the crowd began to thin. When they returned from their encore break, the room had began to empty out, but the band would soldier on for about another hour.

“Po Black Maddie > Skinny Woman” was as phenomenal as ever, and Luther did his best Jimi Hendri impression on “Hear My Train ‘A Comin’ > Goin’ Down South.”

As good as the music was, the band probably played about 30 minutes too long. Sure, they were recording a video and wanted to capture everything, but by the end of the show, the crowd probably about 50% of what it did at the beginning of the show. It’ll sure be interesting to see how they cut the video, because any shots from the stage out onto the crowd from late in the night will show a mostly empty room, which is in sharp contrast to the start of the show.

Either way, the night was chock-full of amazing moments that were fortunately captured on video. The Allstars are a band that always delivers, especially at their traditional holiday show in front of their friends and family. 2013’s event was no different in that respect.

Set:  Shimmy She Wobble > My Babe > Station Blues, Turn Up Satan, Shake ‘Em On Down, Meet Me In The City*, Shake, Goat Meat, Psychedelic Sex Machine > Mystery Train ,  Back Back Train, Boogie**, Hodown, Mississippi Boll Weevil, Mean Ol’ Wind Died Down, World Boogie, Jumper On The Line***, Snake Drive****, Granny, Does Your Dog Bite*****

Encore:  Rollin’ ‘n Tumblin’, Let It Roll, The Meeting, Up Over Yonder, Po’ Black Maddie^ > Skinny Woman^, K.C. Jones, Goin’ To Brownsville, Hear My Train ‘A Comin’ jam > Goin’ Down South > Lord, Have Mercy On Me > Stay All Night outro, All Night Long^^, Goin’ Home

* Chantell and Cherise, Duwayne Burnside and Sharde Thomas on vocals
** Stud on snare drum, Alvin Youngblood Hart on harmonica
*** Duwayne Burnside, Kenny Brown, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Lightnin’ Malcolm on guitars, Luther Dickinson on bass, Stud on drums, Cody Dickinson on washboard
**** Kenny Brown, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Lightnin’ Malcolm on guitars, Duwayne Burnside on vocals and guitar
*****  Sharde Thomas on fife/vocals, Luther on bass drum, Cody Dickinson, Lightnin’ Malcolm and Stud on snare drums
^ R.L. Boyce on bass drum
^^ Lightnin’ Malcolm and Kenny Brown on guitars, Cody Dickinson on guitar/washboard, Stud on drums, Luther Dickinson on bass

Click the thumbnails to view the photos by Josh Mintz

Sons of Mudboy a family affair

Sons of Mudboy
1884 Lounge
Memphis, Tennessee
May 29, 2013

Luther Dickinson stood at the front of the stage, drenched in sweat, microphone in one hand and the other cocked back to accentuate the lyrics he was delivering like the deftest of MCs. It was towards the end of yet another marathon Wednesday night set by the Sons of Mudboy, and Dickinson had the crowd in the palm of his hand. That’s what the residency has turned into; two months into their weekly gig at 1884 Lounge in Minglewood Hall, the band is ever-changing, but one thing remains the same: the friends, family, and neighbors that faithfully arrive each week know that anything and everything can happen.

_MG_8190-BDickinson is the de facto leader of the band whose line-up is always in flux. Depending on who’s available, on any given night the entire roster can and will change. As May came to a close, the group that kicked off the evening included the actual sons of Mudboy & the Neutrons: Luther and Cody Dickinson (North Mississippi Allstars, Black Crowes, etc.), son of Jim Dickinson; Ben Baker, son of Lee Baker, and Steve Selvidge (the Hold Steady, Big Ass Truck), son of Sid Selvidge. The band was joined by original Neutron Jimmy Crosthwait, drummer Robert Barnett (Big Ass Truck), Paul Taylor (the Merry Mobile and others), and George Sluppick (Chris Robinson Brotherhood, Mofro). Seemingly everyone on stage had a connection to one another, be it blood or musically.

It’s been a ride watching the band develop over the past two months. While they have played together for decades, to watch a band literally sprout on stage over the course of time has been a treat. The band can seemingly play anything and everything, and the first set started with the bluesy intro jam, which was followed with by the folksy, shuffling “John Henry > Judge Bouche.”

One of the intriguing features of the band is their versatility – the ability of nearly everyone on stage to swap instruments at any time. So, while Luther is by trade a guitar player – it has always been his instrument of choice be it with the Allstars or while he was with the Black Crowes – he started the show on bass but over the course of the show also played guitar and keyboards. Likewise, Taylor moved from guitar to drums to bass with little to no loss in play quality.

The addition of Sluppick for the night brought an added element to the line-up. One, he’s a damn fine drummer, Chris Robinson wouldn’t have tapped him for his band otherwise. Two it allowed allowed for Taylor to spend a little more time on bass and guitar.

This musical dexterity was on display during the finest moment of the first set, “Codine.” During this Buffy Sainte-Marie tune that Jim Dickinson had in his rotation, Luther laid down a steady bass line while Taylor unleashed a furious guitar solo. Jim Dickinson’s version of the tune had an edge to it, but the Sons’ version is spacey in an Allman-esque way. And, with two drummers on stage and dual guitars, it took on that tone exponentially.

_MG_8440-BThe second set opened with more players on stage. With the addition of local saxophone players Jim Spake and Art Edmaiston (Mofro) and bass player John Stubblefield (Lucero), there were 11 people crammed onto the tiny 1884 Lounge stage. The collective started with the soul of Wilson Picket’s “Land of 1000 Dances,”  segued into Jr. Walker’s “Shotgun,” and it eventually evolved into a gritty take on the Beatles’ “Tomorrow Never Knows.”

The transition into the song seemed a tad disjointed as they went from one tempo into something completely different, but that’s kinda expected given there were nearly a dozen people on stage, some of whom had probably never played together. Accentuated by the haunting saxophones and reverb-drenched guitar from Selvidge, Luther delivered the lyrics with a growl. As the jam progressed the band settled into a nice pocket, and Luther broke out the slide to deliver one of his trademark solos. The band’s eventual transition back into “Shotgun” was a much smoother affair.

The band genre-jumped again to close the show, going from the Beastie Boys’ “Mark on the Bus” into a jam that touched on Sly & the Family Stone’s  “I Want to Take You Higher,” with Taylor laying down some downright funky bass lines.

As the show came to a close, it was evident that there’s true musical chemistry between the core members of the group. There are some connections that take years and years to nuture and some that are instantaneous, and each Wednesday, the Sons of Mudboy seem to display both.

Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Josh Mintz

Sons of Mudboy, 5/22/13

Sons of Mudboy
1884 Lounge

Memphis, Tennessee
May 22, 2013

As the Sons of Mudboy’s residency on Wednesday nights at 1884 Lounge has progressed from week to week, several things have become clear. One is that no matter who’s on stage, this is an adept group of musicians, capable of playing nearly anything on nearly any instrument.

Second is that you never know who’ll show up. From week to week the roster has been fluid, a veritable who’s who of Memphis musicians. The core group has, for the most part, been the true sons of Mudboy and the Neutrons: Luther and Cody Dickinson, Steve Selvidge, and Ben Baker. A true Mudboy (or Neutron), Jimmy Crosthwait, is also a fixture at the weekly gig.

But, no matter who is on stage to being or end the show, the one constant has been the quality music.

Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Josh Mintz

Sons of Mudboy take residence in Memphis

Sons of Mudboy
1884 Lounge
Memphis, Tennessee
April 3, 2013

Tucked away in the corner of Minglewood Plaza lies the 1884 Lounge, the little brother of the bigger Minglewood Hall. It generally plays host to smaller acts – local bands trying to break through, or maybe the odd major act who just can’t, for whatever reason, fill a bigger room when they come to town. But, on April 3, an act took the stage that is the odd hybrid of both categories.

The Sons of Mudboy are actually just that – offspring of Steve Selvidge and the late Jim Dickinson, members of the veritable Memphis band Mud Boy & the Neutrons. All of the musicians on stage have other gigs going; Luther and Cody Dickinson with the North Mississippi Allstars, and Steve Selvidge with the Hold Steady. Paul Taylor joins the band on stage, and he was bass player for Luther and Cody’s pre-Allstars band D.D.T., and currently fronts a tremendous band called the Merry Mobile. And then there’s Jimmy Crosthwait, who played the whole show on washboard and was actually IN Mud Boy & the Neutrons.
som-2The band has shows scheduled all the way through the end of May at 1884 Lounge, and if any of the subsequent gigs hold a candle to the first one, Memphis is in for a wild ride.

The band promised the setlists would be comprised of Mud Boy tunes, covers, and songs from the band members’ catalogs  and the residency opened up with “Codine,” a song in rotation for Mud Boy & the Neutrons and that made its way into setlists of other Dickinson projects. Immediately it was clear that, while the band would hold true to the essence of the songs, they’d be putting their own spin on the numbers. “Codine” had a much spacier feel than it traditionally does, in the best possible way. Selvidge’s guitar work was tremendous, but it was Cody’s work on keyboards that really colored the song.

It’s important to note that throughout the evening, the members constantly traded off instruments. Cody traditionally plays drums for the Allstars, but he opened this show on keyboard. Luther Dickinson handled bass duties for about half the show, and Taylor opened on drums, moved over to bass, and played guitar for a few tunes as well (more on him later).

The band did justice to the familiar “KC Jones,” Taylor took over vocals on “Dark End of the Street,” and they absolutely killed the Sleepy John Estes tune, “Going to Brownsville.” They also paid a short but sweet homage to legendary Memphis band Big Star with “Jesus Christ Lived.”

In possibly the strongest segment of the night, though, the band broke out a huge sandwich that started with “Land of 1000 Dances,” shifted into “Power to the People,” had a few bars of Sly & the Family Stone’s “I Want to Take You Higher,” and then went back to “Land.”

som-1Taylor handled bass during the run, and absolutely blew the roof off. His musical dexterity is pretty impressive. On guitar, he can lay down a blistering solo, and his funky bass laid the ground work for one of the better jams of the night. During the song(s), Luther’s familiar fluid guitar was front and center, and at one point he moved over to the keyboard to take on those duties.

After a short encore break, the band came back out and Selvidge remarked that they were going to play something psychedelic, something that the audience had heard before. Then, they reprised “Codine,” this time with Taylor shredding a sizzling solo opposite Selvidge. The band closed the show with “Hey Bo Diddley,” and then called it a night.

The band seemed clearly thrilled to be on stage with each other, and in front of their home crowd. With a $5 cover, there’s no excuse for the local music scene to not come out to support the best local product out there at the moment. While the Sons of Mudboy may not be the primary gig for any on stage, they’re easily as talented an act as any of the musicians’ main jobs.

It will be a treat to watch the band’s weekly development, and who knows? It may turn into something greater.

We should be so lucky.

Click on the thumbnail(s) to view photos from the show by Josh Mintz

North Mississippi Allstars, 12/30/11

North Mississippi Allstars
Variety Playhouse
Atlanta, GA
December 30, 2011

 

For North Mississippi Allstars fans, there was no option to spend the last day of 2011 with the Mississippi-bred, Southern rock and hill country blues trio. This wasn’t because the Allstars did not have a NYE gig scheduled — they did.  Unfortunately it was scheduled at what turned out to be the festival debacle of the decade. The Bond-fire Arts and Music Festival, a virgin fest filled with problems that eventually cancelled at the last minute, left a legion of outraged fans and a slew of bands that had counted on the South Florida event to ring in the new year with their faithful.

Never a band to complain, NMA simply rolled into the Variety Playhouse prepared to deliver a New Year’s Eve-worthy (minus balloons and confetti) helping of their blend of blues and rock to a packed house of delighted Atlantans and those that traveled to the Little Five Points venue. Plus, in celebration of the new year, NMA is offering their latest studio album, Keys to the Kingdom, for five dollars. (See below)

The North Mississippi Allstars are now back to touring as a trio after a lengthy time out as a duo, something that front man and guitarist Luther Dickinson has longed for, as he described in a very deep recent video interview with Honest Tune. On this night, the band clearly showed why Dickinson has been wanting to get the trio back on the road.

Luther opened the show with a solo seated performance that, while mellow, was a special treat and demonstrated his prowess not only on an electric guitar but on an acoustic as well.  He was later joined by his drumming brother Cody and southpaw bassist comrade, “Big Chris” Chew. The additional cohorts immediately capitulated the show’s energy to another level.

Highlights from the night included Bob Dylan’s “Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again,”  Tampa Red’s “It Hurts Me Too,” a tune popularized on the jam scene during the Pigpen Grateful Dead era, and some great sandwiches such as ” Po Black Maddie > Chevrolet > Skinny Woman” and “Snake Drive> Mississippi Party> Snake Drive.”

The Allstars delivered a vibrant, joyful, blues-filled evening that was a great warm up for those with big New Year’s Eve plans the next night.

 

Setlist

Station Blues (Sittin’ On Top of the World), The Meeting, It Hurts Me Too, Mississippi Bollweevil, Preachin’ Blues (Up Jumped the Devil), Circle in the Sky, This A’way,  Shake, People Get Ready, Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky (From Now On), Goin’ Down to the River > Drop Down Mama, Someday Baby (Worried Life Blues),  Mean Ol’ Wind Died Down, Moonshine, Po Black Maddie > Chevrolet > Skinny Woman > Capricorn Briarpatch, Steal Away, Keep The Devil Down,  K.C.Jones (On the Road Again), Boogie > Sugartown, Shake ’em on Down, Rollin’ & Tumblin’,

Encore: Jumpercable Blues, Hear the Hills, All Night Long, Snake Drive> Mississippi Party> Snake Drive

 

Click here to download an audience recording of this show. (Stream this show below the photo gallery)

 

Click the thumbnails to view photos from the show by Ian Rawn…

Home for the holidays with the North Mississippi Allstars


North Mississippi Allstars / Jason Isbell
Minglewood Hall
Memphis, TN
November 25, 2011

Every family has its own holiday customs. For the North Mississippi Allstars, a band whose sound and soul were bred on the grounds their forefathers walked on, that tradition is the Thanksgiving Memphis show. The Allstars’ hometown holiday shows are always a festive occasion, marked by cover tunes and special guests. On November 25, they played to an audience full of rowdy fans, local music icons, and one rock and roll hall of famer.

Jason Isbell warmed up the crowd despite having their trailer of equipment stolen days before in Dallas. Using the Allstars’ gear (except for Jimbo Hart, the bassist…Allstars’ bassist Chris Chew is a lefty), Isbell and the 400 Unit were phenomenal.

Playing choice numbers from the 400 Unit and Drive-By Truckers catalogue, Isbell dazzled with his intoxicating guitar work and poetic lyrics. The set-opening “Go It Alone” set the bar for the night, and the band’s cover of the Meters’ “Hey Pocky Way,” sung by drummer and Memphis local Chad Gamble, was spot on.

Isbell’s set-ending “Try” was a blistering display of just how potent a band Isbell has put together. Mid-song they threw a few instrumental bars of Led Zeppelin’s “No Quarter” into the tune…ironic given that the legendary Zep frontman, Robert Plant, was in attendance at the show.

The Dickinson family has long been central to the rich Mid-South musical community. Memphis has watched the Dickinson brothers grow up, from their DDT days to being joined by Chew and morphing into the North Mississippi Allstars. Their music is steeped in the tones and accents of the region, and the Allstar sound is a bi-product of taking something as personal as the Mississippi hill country blues and making it their own.

It’s special to have the band in town, playing to a room packed with family and friends. But, expectations are always high for a Memphis Allstars show, so when Allstars drummer Cody Dickinson strutted out in a white suit, viking helmet, and goggles, it was clear that, at the very least, the band had dressed for the occasion.

As Cody laid down the intro to “Shimmy She Wobble,” the audience instantly began to move, and by the time the band got to “Mississippi Bollweevil,” the crowd was a unified mass of bodies, boogieing off every one of those extra Thanksgiving pounds. The Allstars segued from “Bollweevil” into “Preachin’ Blues,” bringing the gospel to Memphis, and followed it up with a cover of The Impressions’ “People Get Ready,” led by Chew. “Shake” turned into a crowd sing-along as the band brought the music down to a mere whisper, so the crowd could sing the chorus.

“Mean ‘Ol Wind Died Down” was the first song where Luther Dickinson got to stretch out and show why he is one of the best guitarists touring today, and why the North Mississippi Allstars are at their sharpest as the trio. For a band that has toured sporadically over the past few years, it sure doesn’t take long to round into game shape. As Luther slid his glass slide up and down the neck of his guitar, delivering note after singing note, and Cody and Chew laid down the steadiest of backbeats, the crowd stood at rapt attention, soaking in all of that sickly sweet slide guitar goodness.

The audience was taken to the garage on the subsequent “New Orleans Walking Dead,” a barrage of drum beats from Cody leading the way as Luther unleashed a furious solo while Chew kept a tight bass groove. The Allstars then took the audience to New Orleans, with Chew handling lead vocals on the Lee Dorsey nugget, “Everything I Do Gonh Be Funky (From Now On).” It was an amazing take on the tune, sped up to a near frenetic pace, showcasing the band’s ridiculous instrumental proficiency. It’s amazing how many notes can be shoved into two minutes without clogging up the sound.

Luther picked up his acoustic guitar for “Goin’ Home,” and Cody — the consummate musician — played his drums and guitar simultaneously…the guy never ceases to amaze. Local washboard legend Jimmy Crosthwait, an old band-mate of Dickinson patriarch Jim, took the stage for “Horseshoe” and “Moonshine.” It was a warm but bittersweet moment, but Jim was undoubtedly watching down from above with a huge grin.

The band stepped on the gas with “Po Black Maddie,” bringing the boogie back after the quieter portion of the show. Powered through the R.L. Burnside number, the trio seamlessly segued into a verse of Taj Mahal’s “Chevrolet,” played their way back into “Maddie” and out again into “Skinny Woman,” briefly stopped for a thunderous drum solo, and finally landed at “Psychedelic Sex Machine,” Cody’s vehicle for electric washboard bliss. It was a true testament to just how tight of a group the Allstars are. When they’re locked in and hitting the note, there are few acts who can do they do…at least not with an electric washboard…no one else is doing that.

The back half of the set was reserved for classics, and nothing was left out. The crowd roared when Luther asked if “y’all want to shake ’em on down a little bit,” and “Never In All My Days” was north Mississippi hill country boogie at its very finest. Crosthwait came back out for “KC Jones,” and the band put a slightly different spin on “Sugartown,” playing the tune with a slightly quicker backbeat and a marching bassline that brought a different dimension to the tune. With “Drinkin’ Muddy Water” — during which Cody played his drums with huge red whiffle ball bats and Luther set his guitar down to play a four-stringed cigar box guitar  — the set was over and the band left the stage.

When they returned for the encore, the Allstars had Jason Isbell in tow, and he and Dickinson traded vocals on a cover of Justin Townes Earle’s “Harlem River Blues.” Then, Alvin Youngblood Hart took the stage for a powerful take on his own “Big Mama’s Door” that nearly brought the house down. Luther and Alvin have a great musical connection, and it was showcased on the song. The band closed their encore with “Hear The Hills” and “Let It Roll,” left the stage, and returned yet again, closing the show with “All Night Long > Snake Drive,” and with that, the night was finally over.

The holidays mean a lot of different things to a lot of people, and for Memphis, it has come to mean the Allstars. The night truly was a celebration…a celebration of family — blood and adopted — and friends, old and new. But above all, it was about the musical legacy of the Dickinson family and the North Mississippi Allstars.

 

More photos from the show by Josh Mintz

North Mississippi Allstars

Jason Isbell

North Mississippi Allstars set for Fall tour

North Mississippi Allstars are thrilled to announce the 2nd leg of the Keys to the Kingdom tour. The new tour includes stops in Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago and two nights in New York at the Bowery Ballroom and the Brooklyn Bowl. NMA will then bring it all back home for an amazing night of music at Minglewood Hall with special guest Jason Isbell kicking the night off.

Tour Dates

  • 08/14/11 New York, NY @ Lincoln Center Out of Doors
  • 08/20/11 Norwich, NY @ Chenango Blues Fest
  • 09/03/11 Copper Mountain, CO @ Copper Country Music Festival
  • 09/15/11 Austin, TX @ Antone’s  nma20101126-1.jpg
  • 09/16/11 Austin, TX @ Austin City Limits
  • 09/23/11 Bond, CO @ Rancho del Gumbo Festival
  • 09/24/11 Bond, CO @ Rancho del Gumbo Festival
  • 10/06/11 Oxford, MS @ The Lyric
  • 10/07/11 New Orleans, LA @ Tipitina’s
  • 10/08/11 Meridian, MS @ 59Twenty Festival
  • 10/16/11 Raleigh, NC @ Lincoln Theatre
  • 10/18/11 Wilmington, DE @ World Café Live
  • 10/19/11 Philadelphia, PA @ World Café Live
  • 10/21/11 Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
  • 10/22/11 Pawtucket, RI @ The Met
  • 10/23/11 Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall
  • 10/24/11 Burlington, VT @ Higher Ground
  • 10/25/11 Woodstock, NY @ Bearsville Theatre
  • 10/27/11 New York, NY @ Bowery Ballroom
  • 10/28/11 Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Bowl
  • 11/10/11 Kansas City, MO @ Knuckleheads
  • 11/11/11 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
  • 11/12/11 Denver, CO @ Bluebird Theatre
  • 11/13/11 Ft. Collins, CO @ Aggie Theatre
  • 11/15/11 Omaha, NE @ Slowdown
  • 11/16/11 Iowa City, IA @ Blue Moose
  • 11/17/11 Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue
  • 11/18/11 Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
  • 11/19/11 Chicago, IL @ House of Blues
  • 11/25/11 Memphis, TN @ Minglewood Hall

Back in July, we sat down with Luther Dickinson. Check it out below!

Going “Way Out” with Jon Spencer

Jon Spencer has been reinterpreting the music of his youth since he first burst on the scene almost 20 years ago with his first band, Pussy Galore.  Since then he has been taking the blues and sounds of personal hero, rockabilly pioneer Charlie Feathers, and been making music that fuses the two in his various bands and side projects. 
Continue reading Going “Way Out” with Jon Spencer

Jim Dickinson’s Killers From Space due 9/18

For the very first time, in a music career that spans five decades, James Luther Dickinson — Jim Dickinson’s recording artist alter ego — has made an album that will be released by the same label as his previous record.  It was just last year that Memphis International unleashed Jungle Jim & The Voodoo Tiger on an unsuspecting world and that album was only his third in 34 years.  Now, a little over a year later, comes Killers From Space, a new set of songs collected and cultivated by Dickinson and produced by the artist, along with Memphis International’s David Less.  Release date is September 18th.

Dickinson, producer (Big Star, Replacements, Green On Red, Ry Cooder, The Replacements, Mudhoney, Alvin Youngblood Heart, etc.); session man (Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Duane Allman) and cultural observer (“Memphis Saturday Night”) says Killers is different from his previous albums in another way.  “This is the first of my own records that wasn’t agenda-driven; I had nothing to prove.  Like Topsy, this one just grew.  I’m thinking that either nobody will ‘get it’ or it’ll be declared my best record ever,” Dickinson predicts. “The album’s title is derived from a notion we have that whatever band is on the bill with you is, inevitably, a group called something like ‘Killers From Space.’ In this case, the songs seem to have come from outer space so the title applies in that way.”

The odds are that most will draw the later conclusion based on the eclectic song selection that Dickinson culled, mostly, from a bunch of tunes he had filed under the heading “Too Good To Record.”  The twelve tracks on Killers From Space, recorded at Dickinson’s Zebra Ranch facility in rural Independence, Mississippi earlier this year come from a variety of sources and none of them are so well known that it can truly be said that Dickinson make them his own.

As was the case with Jungle Jim the backing band on Killers centers around sons Cody (drums) and Luther (guitar) of North Mississippi All Stars fame and Paul Taylor who was the bass player in the boys’ pre-NMAS punk rock band, DDT.  Dickinson, the elder, handles keyboards, some guitar and, of course, the idiosyncratic vocals that are a JLD hallmark.  Sax parts on Killers are handled by Johnny Reno who came up from Ft. Worth for the sessions. “Johnny brought some pure rock ‘n roll with him; there’s nothing like a Texas tenor to my way of thinking,” says Dickinson of the Lone Star import who has played with Stevie Ray Vaughan, Chris Isaak and Anson Funderburgh, among others.  Another guest player of note was Chris Scruggs (dobro steel guitar), the grandson of the legendary Earl Scruggs.  “That’s real royalty,” offers Dickinson.

 

James Luther (Jim) Dickinson’s guided tour of the Killers From Space tunestack

  • “Texas Me” is a Doug Sahm tune which Jim says reflects “the failed hippie dream,” adding, “since the first time I heard it, I completely identified with it.”  Dickson recalls producing The Texas Tornados, the band that featured Doug, Augie Meyers (one of the writers of “Texas Me”), Freddy Fender and Flaco Jimenez.  “Doug and Freddy used the same mic; they were so close they were almost touching noses and they’d argue around correct Spanish pronunciation. “
  • “Dirty On Yo’ Mama” was written by the late John Hurley who had a hand in the Dusty Springfield hit “Son of a Preacher Man,” as well as “Love of the Common People,” recorded by everyone from Waylon Jennings to Paul Young.  “He cut great demos” says Jim of Hurley whom he met through Chips Moman many years ago.
  • “You Better Rock Me Baby” was written by Jerry Lynn Williams, the enigmatic composer whose songs were recorded by Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, B.B. King and Delbert McClinton. “Jerry had a rock ‘n roll voice,” says Dickinson who met him at least 35 years ago in Tyler, TX.
  • “Nature Boy” found its way into Killers as a result of the fact that DDT used to perform it.  The song was written by Tommy Hull, a Memphis punker who was in a group called The Randy Bad.
  • “Lonely Nights” includes the evocative line “these hotel walls are blue and I’m so far away from you.”  It was a song from the repertoire of Green on Red’s side project, Howard Hughes’ Brain.
  • “Roly Poly” was written by Greg Spradlin, a Little Rock writer who had a band called The Skeeterhawks.  He’s also the writer of “Out of Blue” that can be heard on Jungle Jim
  • “I Was A Champion” was written by Allen Jacobs and Andrea Skinner a/k/a Bunky & Jake.  “I bought the album because of the picture of the cover,” says Dickinson of that 1969 release.  “I had to wait to record it until my kids could play it.”
  • “No, No Never Again” is a song that Jim first heard when he was producing an Australian group called The Big Don’t Argue.  “They were the most primitive white guys I’d ever met,” he recalls of his late 80s sessions with the band.
  • “Sweet Peace Within” was first heard on Mylon Lefevre’s album Holy Smoke.  “It was the first Christian rock record,” Jim declares, “and Mylon was the first guy I ever saw who wore embroidered blue jeans.”
  • “I Need You” is a song that Jim first heard when he produced a band up from Mississippi who called themselves The Sugar Cube Blues Band back in 1966.
  • “Morning After The Night Before” is a Jim Dickinson original that was written for an unreleased film entitled American Saint starring Fast Times at Ridgemont High’s Vincent Schiavelli.  It’s not often that Jim deigns to record a song of his own creation so this is of special note.