“There are cool cats and there are cool Memphis cats but no one, not
Elvis, not Jerry Lee, not even the Wolf came close to epitomizing Memphis
and cool like Jim Dickinson did. He was the Top Cat Daddy, an
inspiration, a mentor and my friend.

If you knew his music and understood his role as one of the links between
black and white culture and between blues and rock and roll, you know what
I'm talking about. If he is unfamiliar to you, now's as good time as any
to get to know him, even though he's checked out of the motel.”

--Joe Nick Patoski

For more about Jim go to

Saturday, September 6, 2014

CONTEST VIDEO #11 - Final Contest Video

This recording of Jim, Luther, Cody, Paul Taylor, and the big man in the hat, Jim Spake, playing "You Made Your Move Too Soon" puts a big smile on my face.  It's one of the few songs Jim performed that he modified the lyrics to fit his life.

This song "pretty much wraps it up, ties it so to speak," says Jim.

(At first it's about two star-crossed lovers….)

"Freezing snow out in Birmingham,
Thought you might wonder baby where I am,
I dialed your number all night long,
No consolation on the telephone.
So I went on out I call it midnight,
A little love makes everything all right.
Landlord said, 'You moved away.  Left me
With all of your bills to pay.'
I gotta tell you, Baby I think you kinda made your move too soon."

(But a little irony slips in….)

"You left me stranded with a Bingo card
Down in Tunica where they just ain't got a heart.
I ran it up to about fifty grand,
Cashed it and held it in the palm of my hand…"

(What?  This guy's not a loser after all!)

"That kinda news really gets around,
Tends to make a lost lover come up found
Here you come at my door,
You ain't living here with me no more.
You made your move too soon
You vacated the premises prematurely"

(Jim triumphs!)

Luther takes a rousing solo.

Jim introduces the band,
"Not because I don't think you know who they are but because we have a short set. We haven't rehearsed and we haven't played together for a year and a half, but it really is fun to play with this particular aggregation in this particular situation, as it were…"

(After he finishes with the band, Jim introduces himself in the last verse….)

"As for me….

'I've been from Memphis down to Mexico,
Orange Mound to Ontario.
I'm not the type to make the news,
I'm just a country boy likes to play the blues.
I takes my liquor with me everywhere and
If you don't like it, child, I really don't care.
The towns come up, my friends fall down,
They love to see us when we roll into town.
We never make a move too soon….'"

You notice at the end of the song there are only a few people clapping.  Jim liked it that way.  He told me, "I love it when people walk out.  It means the ones who are left are serious!" If you're still here and reading this, listening to the tune, you are serious and like me, happy because Jim is "just dead. He's not gone."  Thanks for sticking around.  You're the best.

Visit the Jim Dickinson's Legacy Facebook page to vote for your favorite video! One entry for each Like and one entry for each Share! This is the final video and the last chance to become part of the contest before we select the People's Choice Award and select a winner from all those that voted and shared that video!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014


Jim always said, "The best songs don't get recorded and the best recordings don't get released."   "Rumble" is a special case, the exception to the rule.  It's a great song recorded in moments of time stolen from other sessions by artist/producer Jim Dickinson and his co-conspirator, Barbarian Record Company owner, Jim Blake. 

"We went to every studio in Memphis and every musician we were working with played on it - the likes of Sid Selvidge, bass player Tommy McClure, Jim Lancaster, Richard Roseborough, Jimmy Crosthwait, Fred Ford, and many others. Lee Baker took a distinctive 'chicken scratching' solo. That's Danny Graflund screaming, 'NEET NEET!'" said Blake.  "We worked for free because we knew it was important.  It took four or five years. We went to Ardent for their orchestra chimes.  A fraternity brother of mine from college was running a car lot/garage behind the original Sun Studio which was run down and empty.   He said we could use the building but there wasn't any electricity.  Someone who shall remain nameless broke the seal on the Memphis utility Light, Gas and Water meter box and turned it upside down.  Presto, electricity.  That was big time illegal.  A topless dancer shook her money maker on the hood of a car because Jim wanted her to."

"Cops patrolled the street and never even noticed us," laughed Dickinson.

On another session, a Memphis motorcycle outlaw named Campbell Kinsinger stole the show.  Jim had him bring his Harley into Dan Penn's studio, Beautiful Sounds, a tiny outback building in Mid-town.  Jim wanted the gleaming silver and black hog to play the song itself, with the deep bass rumble of the growly Harley motor keeping time. To make this happen Campbell whipped out a long screwdriver and retarded the spark of the motor, slowing down the pulsing of the engine until it was playing in sync with the music.  Dickinson described the scene, "By the time the session was over, the air was blue with carbon monoxide and the motorcycle was shooting flames a foot long out of its tail pipes."

The noise at the end of "Rumble" is a recording of the first explosion of the atom bomb.

 "Rumble" reeks of danger.  Kick back, pour yourself a gin, and take a listen.  You ain't heard nuttin' yet.

Visit the Jim Dickinson's Legacy Facebook page to vote for your favorite video! One entry for each Like and one entry for each Share!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Luther - Jellyrollin' All Over Heaven

Jellyrollin' All Over Heaven performed by Luther Dickinson from a few years ago - seems appropriate as we acknowledge 5 years since Jim passed. #justdeadnotgone

Don't forget to visit the Jim Dickinson's Legacy Facebook page.

Thursday, July 31, 2014


This is Jim's last performance with Mudboy and the Neutrons. Jim's performances were always "for the ages" as is seen in this video. "Hitler Lives" couldn't be more timely.  Vintage Jim and his humor- he was cracking his own band up.  Notice the guitar solo by Sid's son, Steve Selvidge.  The lineup is Jimmy Crosthwait, Sid Selvidge, Jim Dickinson, Steve Selvidge, and Paul Taylor on tub bass.  Enjoy!

Visit the Jim Dickinson's Legacy Facebook page to vote for your favorite video! One entry for each Like and one entry for each Share!

Saturday, July 26, 2014


This video of Jim’s signature song, “Down In Mississippi,” features a cut that was recorded for his album, Free Beer Tomorrow, but never released except on an Oxford American magazine compilation. The video was conceived, directed and produced by Mike McCarthy, Memphis’ own Film Cult King. Director of such underground classics as TEENAGE TUPELO and CIGARETTE GIRL, Mike is known to be “passionate about the region he lives in, and the history, and how to honor and preserve that history…,” as director Craig Brewer described him.

This work of Mike's honoring and preserving Jim’s uniquely Southern artistry began one chilly afternoon when Jim answered the phone and Mike said, “Jim, I’ve noticed you don’t have a video of you and your music, so I’m going to make one for you.” What an adventure filming it was, horses, barefoot girls dancing around Jim in the icy mud, Jimmy Crosthwait's sinister. menacing presence cradling a Civil War era rifle, the half naked girl wearing the Confederate bra, the flaming cross.... This you've got to see.

Thank you, Mike. Jim’s legacy thanks you. This video is a labor of love and a gift to us all. Jim’s song and Mike’s vision take us deep into a world that never was.

As Jim wrote in his last words, "As long as the music lingers, I'll be there."

(With thanks to Greg Akers and the MEMPHIS FLYER)

Visit the Jim Dickinson's Legacy Facebook page to vote for your favorite video! One entry for each Like and one entry for each Share!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


Some fans may have seen this clip from the Maysel Brothers’ film of the Rolling Stones’ 1969 tour called “Gimme Shelter-” of Jim sitting with Keith Richards in the control room of Muscle Shoals Sound Studios, listening to the just mixed playback of “Wild Horses,” on which Jim is playing tack piano; but few of you have read Jim’s hilarious account of the set-up of the shoot. This is from Jim’s unpublished memoir, “The Search for Blind Lemon.” Sit back, put some gin in your glass. Enjoy.

“As they mixed, I couldn’t help notice the Maysel Brothers setting up two light trees pointing at the control room window from the tracking side of the glass. Available light was lacking. My vast theatrical training at Baylor Theatre led me to realize that whatever they shot with lights had more chance of making it to film. I studied the situation.
Nobody was on the big back couch where Charlie had been hiding. The lights and the camera aimed directly at it. I had the last joint. Keith knew it. As they worked on “Wild Horses,” I put the joint behind my ear and sat on the couch. Keith joined me. The light came on. Tape and camera began to roll. I was in the movie.
Two shots from the Muscle Shoals session survive in Gimme Shelter:
a shot of Mick and Jimmy Johnson behind the mixing console and the shot of Keith and me on the couch, our eyes closed during the “Wild Horses” play back. Thank you, Baylor Theatre.”

Visit the Jim Dickinson's Legacy Facebook page to vote for your favorite video! One entry for each Like and one entry for each Share!

Thursday, July 3, 2014



In Contest Video #5 during the filming of "Li'l Art's Texas Bar-B-Q" broadcast from SXSW in Austin, we heard Jim telling Art, Huey, and Joe Nick about remembering a world before rock 'n' roll. He said he tried to make young musicians imagine what this was like. But as we hear in Contest Video #6, the Cramps didn't heed historical schooling. Lux Interior and Poison Ivy were building our musical future as they recorded their debut- a new genre near and dear to Jim's heart- PUNK! You can hear the crazed excitement and joy in his voice as Jim sings.

"Jim Dickinson & the Cramps- Red Headed Woman (Big Beat, recorded 1977, released 1981, at Sun Studio while the Cramps were recording the tracks for the Gravest Hits EP).

I have pretty much written what I have to say about Jim in the earlier postings, but let me reiterate, we'll never see another one like Jim Dickinson, he is one of immortals." (Thanks to The Hound Blog)

Visit the Jim Dickinson's Legacy Facebook page to vote for your favorite video! One entry for each Like and one entry for each Share!