“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

Monday, November 1, 2010

One More for the Road

It was July 13, 1978, that afternoon in New Orleans when Jim and Keith
laughed about the fiasco in Fordyce, Arkansas (see blog below). Soon it
was time for Keith to get ready to play the New Orleans Superdome
before the largest indoor crowd ever gathered together in the United States.
Keith told us we could ride to the gig in the limousines with the band,
but it would be cooler if we could get there ourselves. He made sure
we had the highest level access passes. No problem getting there, but
inside the backstage area of the Superdome there were seven levels of
security to pass through .We made it through six of them, but the biggest,
most hostile security guard I ever saw stopped us at the seventh level.
Jim scrawled his signature skull on a scrap of paper, signed it, and handed
it to a lackey inside the chain link fence, "Give this to Keith."

Our friend, the girl who got things done, came bustling out and told
the security guard to let us in. He shook his head. She put her hands on
her hips and said, "Keith is the man. Are you going to tell the man he
can't have what he wants?"

That did it. We were backstage with the band, their ladies, and Buzz
Aldrin, the astronaut who walked on the moon. Suddenly, the musicians
were leaving for yet another secret hide-out, a small contractor's house in
the center of the fenced off area. I scurried behind them, wanting to stay
close but knowing I couldn't invade the inner sanctum. Jim sat down inside
the trailer. Keith and Jim began to play. I was alone, terrified the mean
security guard would snatch me up and throw me out. But I told myself, as
long as I can see Jim's hat, I'll be safe.  And I was.

Jim never told me what the Rolling Stones said to him that night.  Some
things are sacred.  As Jim wrote in his memoirs, The Search for Blind
Lemon, "Only the players share the truth."

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