Tuesday, September 3, 2013


WORLD BOOGIE IS COMING. Actually, it is finally here. North Mississippi Allstars' first album since 2011, WORLD BOOGIE IS COMING was released today. NMA has never been too far removed from their roots in the hill country of North Mississippi, but this album returns to the sounds and traditions which got them started as one of freshest, most unique and truly talented groups playing the blues. Two-thirds of NMA is the brother tag-team of Luther Dickinson (guitar and vocals, who recently played a stint with the Black Crows) and Cody Dickinson (drums, electric washboard, vocals, guitar), sons of the legendary piano man and producer, Jim Dickinson. To understand this record, you need to understand Jim. Here is the most abbreviated description I could come up with (and I'm leaving a lot out) for such an interesting guy like Jim. Jim, a.k.a. East Memphis Slim, grew up in the best era of Memphis soul music, playing with the Dixie Flyers. The Flyers backed Atlantic artists like Aretha Franklin and Sam and Dave. Jim played piano on the Rolling Stones "Wild Horses" and organ many of Dylan's newer albums. He played with Taj Mahal, Aretha Franklin, Ry Cooder, Toots and the Maytals and Los Lobos to name a few. His producer credits feature Big Star, Toots and the Maytals, Lucero, Bob Dylan, Mudhoney and G. Love and the Special Sauce among others. Check his rap sheet for more info. Chances are he produced or played on some of your favorite records. Jim was just as well-known for some of his sayings. Hell, I've heard his epitaph reads, "I'm just dead; I'm not gone." My personal favorite is "Hits are in baseball, singles pick each other up in bars, and your royalty lives in a castle in Europe," because it's probably the most accurate description of the record business I have ever heard. And Jim would know. He experienced all sides of it. He was a realist when it came to the business. On a visit to Zebra Ranch in 2008, when he asked where I was moving, I told him Nashville and he replied "Hmm. Yeah. Memphis. A good place to be from. Not a good place to be." He was referring to it being tough to 'make it' out of a town like Memphis. It wasn't something I wanted to admit to myself, but he hit it the nail right on the head and it was something I often thought about. It's crazy how many talented, world-class musicians rot in obscurity in Memphis. More often than not, the best music never makes it out of the Bluff City. Musicians go play for the money-makers elsewhere. It was just the way he said it that stuck with me. But yeah, back to Jim's sayings...He often ended letters with "World Boogie is Coming!" Part of his legacy is this "World Boogie," a timeless, limitless, musical exploration of sorts by Jim and some of his friends in their attempt to rediscover and reshape old and new. NMA is known for putting a new twist on the hill country blues and they wanted to pay homage to their late father, who passed on in August of 2009, by recording an album in their interpretation of World Boogie. 

North Mississippi Allstars' seventh studio album, WORLD BOOGIE IS COMING was recorded at Jim Dickinson's famous Zebra Ranch in Coldwater, MS. The band went old-school using just a 2-inch tape machine to record and cut most of it live. Cody produced it and even directed the videos. Cody also dons his 'electric' washboard and this isn't just a gimmick. He uses it as a lead and rhythmic instrument adding layers to the already fat drums. And for the purists out there, WBIC features much more drum and fife. Luther's guitar work is nothing short of genius. Whether it's the muddied-down, crunchy riffs or the cleaner slide work he is known for, Luther doesn't disappoint. WORLD BOOGIE IS COMING features Robert Plant on harmonica. Yes. That Robert Plant from Led Zeppelin. His harmonica parts was the only thing tracked outside of Zebra Ranch (he recorded at Memphis' legendary Royal Studios). WBIC also features their friends, Chris Chew, Duwayne and Garry Burnside, Lightnin’ Malcolm, Kenny Brown, Alvin Youngblood Hart, Sid and Steve Selvidge, and more (if you don't know who any of these guys are, do some homework. You're welcome). The record gets back to what made NMA what they are. They take their favorite hill country blues tunes from their biggest influences like Junior Kimbrough, R.L. Burnside and Mississippi Fred McDowell and make them heavier, funkier and yet preserve that raw spirit of the Mississippi hill country.

You can buy WORLD BOOGIE IS COMING at the band's online store or on iTunes.

Rollin 'n Tumblin from North Mississippi Allstars.

1 comment:

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