Archive for Jim Dickinson

Review: Christmas Closeout

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 16, 2009 by 30daysout

Going to take a whack at the last few new releases that’s caught our attention in the past few weeks … a lot of old-guy stuff, a new blues-roots classic and a pretty good anthology from the Lone Star State:

Neil Young has been endlessly releasing archive material the past year or so, and his newest, Dreamin’ Man Live ’92 is a live show from the 1992 solo tour that preceded the album Harvest Moon.  Impeccably recorded and performed in the same order as the studio album, the songs here match or in some cases surpass the studio versions.  At the time Young performed these songs he received more than a few catcalls and gripes from audiences hoping to hear his greatest hits.  None of that animosity appears on Dreamin’ Man, though, and it’s too bad – that would have been a welcome spark to a live set that needs a little more life.

Stream the entire Dreamin’ Man album at Never Get Out Of The Boat!

Something’s up with the new Jimmy Buffett album, Buffet Hotel, and it’s not the apparent misspelling on the album cover (actually it’s a real hotel/whorehouse somewhere in Africa).  The 63-year-old singer/songwriter tries to return to his “roots” on this new album, and relies on co-writers to produce music that sounds an awful lot like the stuff he’s been releasing the last four decades or so.  You got yer summer song (“Summerzcool”), you got yer topical talking folk blues (“A Lot To Drink About”), and you got yer songs that are going to be live favorites on the next tour (“Rhumba Man,” “Surfing In A Hurricane”).  For Parrotheads only.

MP3: “Surfing In A Hurricane” by Jimmy Buffett

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James Luther Dickinson, R.I.P.

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on August 18, 2009 by 30daysout

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James Luther Dickinson, a musician, producer and patriarch of Southern music, died Sunday after heart bypass surgery.  He was 67.  In the 1980s I worked with this guy, John W. King, who was an A&R guy at Stax Records in Memphis back in the day.  One of his co-workers at Stax was a young Bill Browder, who would later become the country singer T.G. Sheppard.  And one of his good buddies was James Luther Dickinson.

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Review: Ry Cooder, Graham Nash boxed

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , on February 12, 2009 by 30daysout

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A couple of new box sets attempt to take in-depth looks at the career output of two rock artists who may not be A-list famous, but are vital nonetheless. 

Ry Cooder’s 2-CD set The UFO Has Landed reviews the work of the incredible guitarist who’s played with the Rolling Stones and Van Morrison, scored a number of movies and as a solo artist released one of the most eclectic catalogs in recorded music.  This anthology, assembled by Cooder’s son and musical partner Joachim, doesn’t tackle Ry’s work in a chronological order so you have early covers of Woody Guthrie and Willie Dixon next to some of his moody, swirling film instrumentals. 

Less than half of the 34 tracks on this anthology are Cooder originals; the rest are interpretations of traditional music.  But if you aren’t familiar with Ry Cooder’s work, don’t let that stop you: this stuff rocks, sometimes unbelievably so.  “Get Rhythm,” the Johnny Cash cover that kicks off Disc 1, mixes some nasty slide guitar work with a tropical beat that’s instantly infectious.  A cover of Wilbert Harrison’s “Let’s Work Together” has guest performances from Zydeco accordionist Buckwheat Zydeco and Memphis legend Jim Dickinson on keyboards – and of course, it rocks. 

I don’t have enough time or space to riffle through all the tracks, this is all great listening.  Hats off the boys at Rhino Records for this great compilation!  One track they missed though – Cooder’s version of “Across The Borderline,” a song he wrote (along with Dickinson and John Hiatt) for the 1982 Jack Nicholson flick The Border.  The song has been done by Freddy Fender, Dwight Yoakam, Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen, but Cooder’s version is the best – it guest stars cult movie fave Harry Dean Stanton!

MP3: “Let’s Work Together”

MP3: “Across The Borderline” (with Harry Dean Stanton)

Graham Nash is, of course, the guy we all loved in the Hollies, the dude we were OK with in Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young and the solo artist who went from charming to irritating to “American Idol” over a 30-year span.  And that’s sort of how the retrospective Reflections plays out over three discs. 

Disc One is easily the most indispensable, the curtain rising on three Nash-written classics from the Hollies (in mono!) and rolling right into the monumental songs he did with CSN and Y: “Marrakesh Express,” “Teach Your Children” and “Our House,” among others.  His navel gazer “Right Between The Eyes” (heard previously only as a live version) pops up here as a studio demo.  The first CD winds down with early solo work that’s pretty good; many of these songs (like the wimpy protest songs “Chicago” and “Military Madness’) feature many of the crowned heads of the late ’60s hippie kingdom like members of the Dead, the Airplane and whomever. 

But after that first disc you get two platters’ worth of plodding piano plunkers and hilariously dated synthesizer screamers, interrupted only occasionally by a really listenable moment.  “Wasted On The Way,” a chart hit for CSN, is OK, and buried on the third disc there’s a charming “Two Hearts” which teams Nash and Carole King for some truly impressive harmony work.  The historians at Rhino did some great work for Graham Nash (as they did with the Crosby box set last year, and presumably with the upcoming Stephen Stills set), but I wish they would’a tossed in “The War Song,” the 45 single Nash and Neil Young cut in 1972 to support George McGovern’s presidential bid.

MP3: “Carrie Anne” by the Hollies

MP3: “The War Song” by Neil Young and Graham Nash

Rhino Records official website