Monday, August 17, 2009

Jim Dickinson RIP

Memphis music legend Jim Dickinson has died aged 67. Although hardly a household name, his career spans just about every aspect of Memphis music and takes up a good chunk of Robert Gordon's book 'It came from Memphis'. According to Gordon, Dickinson 'lives deep in the Mississippi woods, where he smokes spider webs, eats rattlesnake meat, and fends off voodoo spirits with possum tails. Or so those who don't know would have you believe.'
Whatever the truth, Jim's career was undoubtedly varied, from his early involvement with Stax at the very earliest stage of its development, through to his recording of 'Cadillac Man' - reckoned to be the last great record to come out of Sun Studios, to his solo album Dixie Fried, his work with the likes of Alex Chilton's Big Star, Toots Hibbert and Ry Cooder, his involvement with Ardent Studios in Memphis and his best known band Mud Boy and the Neutrons. Not least was his involvement with the Dixie Flyers, which Jerry Wexler used as the Atlantic recording band for works by Aretha Franklin, Delaney and Bonnie, Jerry Jeff Walker, Sam and Dave, Sam the Sham, Lulu and Ronnie Hawkins. Father of two of the North Mississippi All Stars, Jim comes across as a very much larger than life character and his personality is perhaps summed up in a paragraph in his obituary in the Memphis Commercial Appeal: "A gifted raconteur, musical philosopher and cultural historian, Dickinson was a veritable treasure trove of pop arcana and profound theory, capable of finding the cosmic and literal connections between deejay Dewey Phillips and former Mayor Willie Herenton, wrestler Sputnik Monroe and Dr. Martin Luther King .". Here's his obit in The Times
And here, rather belatedly, is the obituary in The Independent of Muscle Shoals musician Barry Beckett, who died on June 10.


At 8:08 pm , Blogger Nick said...

A real highlight of the 2008 Stomping USA trip was a visit to Dick Waterman's house in Oxford, Mississippi. He made this group of visitors from the UK very welcome and entertained us with his tales of his long career in the music business and involvement with any number of blues legends and big names in music, as well as showing us many of his fine photographs taken over the years. I've just discovered that Dick has a blog and that he was a friend and fan of Jim Dickinson. Here's the link and it's well worth a look.


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