Thursday, August 31, 2006

Sweet Hall of Dixie Fried Jim

On this date in 1995, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame opened up in Cleveland...

It was celebrity soup of course, with stars paraded in front of the cameras, and a huge all star multi artist concert to celebrate the event... Bruce Springsteen, Al Green , Jerry Lee Lewis, George Clinton, Iggy Pop, Kinks, Allman Bros., Sheryl Crow and numerous others were up onstage. One special interest group that was lobbying hard for inclusion in that palace of the pantheon of pop was Lou Reed. He wasn't voted in right away, but they did let him play the party...

Here's Lou Reed backed by Soul Asylum on Sweet Jane from Aug 31st 1995, dedicated by Lou to the then just passed Velvet's bassist Sterling Morrison

Lou Reed w/ Soul Asylum - Sweet Jane

It's still available on Dbl CD with other highlights from the historic show including stuff from Johnny Cash, James Brown, Pretenders & many more.

p.s for more Soul Asylum, hit up the profile I posted a week ago on em and download some key early tracks while ya still can... it's stuff recorded in their scrappier days, well before they would ever be invited to Rock any Halls of Fame...

Speaking of worthy nominees...

One of the most colorful characters to surface in the muddy bywater holes of Rock n Roll , but who seems unlikely to ever be acknowledged by the hallowed hall, is James Luther Dickinson ...

His presence can first be traced to the early 60's Memphis scene, and many teenagers can say they had a contract with Sun Records?

Jim did, in fact his band The Jesters has the dubious distinction of being the last single released by ol' Sam Phillips when he still ran the label.

He has since had flings, fights & full fledged affiliations with many disreputable acts ranging from The Rolling Stones during their most scrappy hedonistic heroin infused era, to playing with Bob Dylan on the Grammy award winning Time Out of Mind album.

Jim has spent some of his idle hours producing Big Star, The Replacements, Mudhoney, Greeen On Red to his lesser known stints spent playing with Flash & The Memphis Casuals as well as Mudboy & The Neutrons.

Jim gained his notoriety basically by being one outstanding fella amidst a posse of top numerous Memphis studio musicians who played on many classic records backing artists like Aretha Franklin, Sam and Dave and so many others that it gets a little blurry.

Now who do ya think was down in Muscle Shoals & played the Piano on "Wild Horses" ?

Rolling Stones w/ Jim Dickinson - Wild Horses

In the early 70's, Atlantic honcho Jerry Wexler was convinced that Dickinson and his talented pals, a bunch of studio backing musicians by then known as The Dixie Flyers should record their own LPs and go on tour to become big stars in their own right. Comprised of Charley Freeman, Tommy McClure, Sammy Creason and Jim, they were considered a top notch rhythm section, and had relocated to Miami where they were already in demand for many sessions.

Apparently living out suitcases and impressing fickle teenagers & Yankees in suits in NY was not a priority for these already comfortable Memphis cats. Instead of slick radio ready tunes, they recorded an LP back home that was more a series of downhome muddy southern boogie blues rock jams that included guests like Dr. John and Charlie Freeman.

Jim Dickinson - O How She Dances

Dickinson's interpretation on that LP of Wild Bill Jones, a song written by Bob Frank,

"stands as one of the great testaments not only of rock 'n' roll but also of its ancient and unfathomable roots," least according to author Nick Tosches. Decide fer yerself...

Jim Dickinson - Wild Bill Jones

The 1972 album those two tracks are culled from was called "Dixie Fried" and any original vinyl still goes for a good penny in collectors circles, but a CD reissue is also out now on the indie Sepia Tone.

In the 70's Jim toured as part of Arlo Guthrie's band when Woody's son was riding high after City of New Orleans hit. Later he worked a lot with Ry Cooder scoring soundtracks including Paris Texas. Dickinson had won Producer of the Year seven times before retiring his name from competition.

Apparently his taste for fine swampy rock has been down to his children, Luther & Cody who now comprise the core of the North Missipppi All Stars...

North Mississippi All Stars - Eyes

Daddy Dickinson, despite his relatively important status amongst rock & rollers in the know, remains somewhat of an outsider in the music industry to this day. He is likely feeling no real pressure to please any bean counters or radio programmers, and now in his 60s, continues to record & release material ocasionally as he sees fit. In fact, he's put out about three studio solo albums in just about 34 years. Two in the last 5 ...

Some recent Jim Dickison material:

Jim Dickinson - Red Neck, Blue Collar
another Bob Frank tune , this one from the 2006 album Jungle Jim & The Voodoo Tiger

This next one is from Free Beer Tomorrow a 2002 release on Artemis, where he interprets a tune written by SF based singer/guitarist & occasional Dickinson collaborator Chuck Prophet...

Jim Dickinson - Hungry Town

Recently David Katz Nelson's Badman Recordings found fit to put out a spoken word album of Dickinson's distinctive delta dixie fried dialectics, featuring his grizzled voodoo invoking baritone. Each tale is a rambling poetic yarn, delivered with in a charming slow & simple southern drawl.

Said the eloquent former Austin writer Bill Bentley of Dickinson in 2004
"As a performer, Dickinson has notched plenty of prime-time hours on sessions and stages everywhere. He's been in bands capable of setting listeners' ears on fire, and recorded songs that have permanent positions on radio playlists across the planet. But underneath it all, like the true Southern gentleman, he is a storyteller. Because no matter what form of emotional reality Dickinson is working in, he is above all else telling a tale, with his hands on a keyboard, his voice at the microphone or his body behind a recording console. He will use whatever it takes to sell that story to the listener. In that way, he is almost like an auctioneer, spinning out music as he takes the performance to its highest bid in an attempt to be better and smarter and more alive, plugged into the huge beating heart at the center of all true art forms. Now, Dickinson is stripping his talent down to its essence on Fishing with Charlie, using only words to paint the pictures he is so good at. And what potent portraits they are....

Jim Dickinson - Congo

Fishing With Charlie, And Other Selected Readings

Download "Fishing With Charlie" (MP3, 192kbps)

a touching spoken word piece about Dickinson's late fishing buddy, Charlie Jacobs of the Mississippi band the Tangents.

Read more about Jim's old pal Charlie who passed away back in 1997 at this link

from : Fishing With Charlie, And Other Selected Readings

available via: Birdman Records

1 comment:

dan said...

so, i'm sitting here smiling as I listen to SOUL ASYLUM medley .. wow that is great to hear again. sorry for my lame un tech savvy-ness, but how do i 'download' the MP3 so i can listen to it -- not at my desk?

great blog/site found it while searching for SA setlist from saturday's st. paul show....