Jim Dickinson’s third album, in as many years, for Memphis International is very much a stylistic departure from anything he’s previously recorded in a music career that spans five decades. Dickinson, producer (Big Star, Replacements, Green On Red, Ry Cooder, Mudhoney, Alvin Youngblood Heart, etc.); session man (Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Duane Allman) and cultural observer (“Memphis Saturday Night”) is, to say the least, one of the most idiosyncratic artists of our time. Here, he is joined only by the rhythm section of Sam Shoup (bass) and Tom Lonardo (drums) for an outing that celebrates his non-rock and roll roots.
“I’m so old that my musical tastes developed before there was rock and roll,” Jim explains. “This is the music that’s in my heart. Only this late in my so-called career and only with Sam and Tom could I have done this.” This is an album not specifically of standards but, rather, a collection of songs that have been around a long, long time and offer something evocative, recalling a time when a voice and piano were entertainment enough for a young boy growing up in the Deep South. Co-produced by Dickinson and David Less, the album’s intimacy, its very understatement, is its compelling strength. It’s pop music in its purest, most unfettered incarnation. Because it is so elemental, it can inarguably be considered jazz, roots or blues in light of its elemental.
While the sidemen are undeniably stellar -- “Sam is probably one of the best musicians in the city of Memphis and Tom has just got a feel; you’d have to dig somebody out of the ground to find somebody who has his brush technique; it really exists no longer on earth” – Jim’s naturalistic approach makes this one of the most intimate album from a musical icon released in modern memory. Dickinson reveals, “the piano” (a high polish red Baldwin baby grand that is the centerpiece of his Zebra Ranch studio in rural Independence, MS) “was intentionally not tuned for these sessions; “it was flat and so was I.”
Jim’s mother was an accomplished pianist and collected sheet music giving Jim an early appreciation for both musicianship and composition. Her inspiration combined with his in-studio innovation made “Dinosaurs” come to life. At the heart of the effort is the song selection.
|Release Date||Nov 23, 2015|
|Artist||James Luther Dickinson|
|Record Label||Memphis International Records|
|Music Genre||Pop / Rock|
|Number of Discs||1|
|Box Lot Quantity||30|