“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

Thursday, December 6, 2012

NMA's website's news of Luther's Grammy Nomination

We are proud to announce that Luther Dickinson received
a Grammy nomination last night in the 'Best Folk Album' 
category for his solo instrumental album Hambone's

Released last May through NMA's label Songs of the South
Records, Hambone's Meditations was born out of Luther's
passion for the acoustic folk and blues music of the 
American South that surrounded him growing up. Drawing
inspiration from acoustic heroes John Fahey and, more 
recently, Jack Rose, Hambone's Meditation features five 
original compositions and a reworking of a gospel medley. 
The result
is 6 powerful tracks from the heart and soul of Luther 

John Fry and Al Kapone after the Ball.

Mary Lindsay Dickinson hanging out and having fun after Pat Kerr Tigrett's
Bodacious Blues Ball, 2012, with John Fry of Ardent Recording Studio and
the great Memphis artist, Al Capone.  John Fry engineered and Jim Dickinson
produced the cult favorite band, Big Star's final record- Big Star Third/
Sister Lovers.  Big Star was honored at the Ball with the Pyramid Award.
John presented the award to Jody Stephens, drummer for Big Star and long
time manager of Ardent.  As John pointed out in his address to the packed
crowd, "All three of Big Star's releases were included in Rolling Stone
Magazine's list of "The Best 500 Records of All Time."

What an honor it is to be associated with art of this caliber.

WREG Channel Three Video

The morning after Jim Dickinson's induction into the Rock'n'Soul/
Smithsonian Museum's Memphis Music Hall of Fame, Jim's wife of
forty-five years,  Mary Lindsay Dickinson, was invited to comment
on the event and why Memphis and the surrounding area is
home to such world-changing music.

Watch Mary Lindsay's appearance @

Grammy nomination for Luther!

December 6.20.12

 Hambone's Meditations, Luther's solo acoustic record has been
 nominated for a Grammy!  It's on NMA's record label, Songs of 
the South, and is a first nomination for the label.

Thanks to all the folks who voted for Luther. What a great honor for 

him and Jim's legacy.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

'Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me' - Eagerly Awaited Music Doc Has 'U.S. Premiere' Here Thursday

"Having inspired a Grammy-winning box set, international tribute
concerts and now a documentary film, has Big Star -- the Memphis
 rock band that achieved legendary status long after the commercia
l failure of its 1970s recordings -- reached the apex of its influence
 and posthumous popularity?
"Just as soon as you think it's peaked, it hasn't," said Jody
Stephens, 60, drummer and only surviving member of the
Big Star lineup that recorded the revered early 1970s power
pop masterpieces,"#1 Record" and "Radio City," as well
as the more ghostly final studio album,"Third/Sister Lovers."
Years in the making, the documentary "Big Star: Nothing
Can Hurt Me" has its designated U.S. Premiere as the
opening night "Gala" selection of the 15th annual Indie Memphis
Film Festival. The movie screens at 6:30 p.m. Thursday,
November 1, 2012 at Playhouse on the Square.
Link to the original article by John Beifuss: http://blogs.

This is a must-see film for anyone who cares about the direction
of music in the past few decades. Big Star's influence was
seminal and (except for John Fry), nobody's influence on the band
was stronger than that of Big Star Third's producer, Jim Dickinson.

A subject that is not touched on in the movie is what inspired Alex
Chilton to ask Jim Dickinson to produce Third.  I can't answer that,
but I'll never forget the cold winter day when Alex brought
the demos to our house to play for Jim. I was rocking baby
Luther in the next room but I heard every note.  After Alex left,
I came out and looked at Jim.  He read the bewilderment on
my face.  "Don't worry," he laughed. " I can hear exactly where
Alex is going."

Jim not only produced Big Star; he played on the Cramps record
that Alex produced, nurtured and produced Tav Falco and Panther
Burns, and produced The Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me,
whose anthem, "Alex Chilton" re-introduced Big Star to the world.
The rest is history.

Where would American music be without Big Star and Jim
Dickinson's legacy?  It wouldn't be the same.  Big Star
forever changed the direction of pop music.

by Mary Lindsay Dickinson, November 4, 2012

Friday, October 26, 2012

Memphis Music Hall of Fame

Mary Lindsay Dickinson 
When dear Jody Stephens announced Jim's name as one of 25 inaugural 
inductees in the Memphis Music Hall of Fame as established by the 
Memphis Rock 'n' Soul Museum, he was holding this guitar like a regular 
guitar.  When he flipped it over there was Jim's name. I felt blessed to be
part of this ceremony on Jim's behalf, as he took his place (in absentia)
with Elvis, Dewey, Sam Phillips, B.B. King, Otis Redding, among 
others, as one of the original members of the Memphis Hall of Fame.  
John Doyle headed up the group at the Rock 'n' Soul Museum and 
in Memphis who worked for years to pull this together.  The Dickinson
family thanks them.  The Warehouse made us feel welcome;  the house
band was rocking; and a great time was had by all at this press release
party.  A larger star -studded celebration will be held at the Cannon 
Center in Memphis on  November 29, 2012. 
Photograph courtesy of Glenn Goodman

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jim Dickinson's Legacy Thrives....


From The Memphis Flyer (10.4.12):

"Best Band
 North Mississippi Allstars

More than a decade into their run, the North Mississippi Allstars —
brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson, with bassist Chris Chew —
are better and more popular than ever. The trio's most recent album,
Keys to the Kingdom — a tribute to the brothers' late father,
Jim Dickinson — saw the band's command of a sound that
encompasses hill-country boogie, gutbucket blues, New Orleans
soul, and Delta gospel at an all-time high. Touring demands make
their local gigs rare these days, but that also makes them more
special when they come around."

Enjoy Keys to the Kingdom,

Thus does Jim Dickison's legacy continue to thrive.  Not only has
NMA been chosen Memphis' best band for the third year in a row,
but Jim's own 2006 live record "I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone,"  is
in the TOP TEN on SiriusXM  radio.

"World boogie is coming!"

Thursday, September 20, 2012

"Bad News" Jerry "The King" Lawler...

Jerry "The King" Lawler and Jim Dickinson

     It was 1974 in Memphis and wrestling was the biggest thing in Memphis.
Our phone rang.  It was Barbarian Records' mogul,  Jim Blake, inviting Jim
to come to Ardent Studio- B and co-produce the music for the world's first
wrestling video, "Bad News," on Jerry Lawler, the number one "heel" in
town.   Dickinson made Jerry comfortable in the studio by having him take
off his shirt and wear his crown. The session rocked. It wound down
when Jerry said, "I've got to quit and get something to eat.  If I don't eat now,
I'll puke in the ring."

    Countless wrestlers have strutted their stuff to their signature rock
songs with their signature videos, but The King had the first one, thanks to
his friends, Jim Blake  and Jim Dickinson.  Jerry's Saturday morning tv
wrestling show entranced Memphis for years and the whole world tuned in
when he wrestled actor Andy Kaufman.  Who didn't see news clips of Jerry
slap Andy Kaufman out of his chair on the David Letterman show?  If you
didn't see it, you claimed you had.

     Lawler moved on to the mighty World Wrestling Federation as a wrestler
and announcer.  On September 10, 2012, he won a four man tag team match,
sat down behind the announcer's table, and keeled over with a massive heart
attack.  He had two stents put in his heart and was sitting up, beaming at the
camera two days later, even though as he said, "I've got more wires coming
out of me than AT&T!"  Yesterday,  he was flown home in a private jet
and was picked up at the airport in a limousine provided by Ardent Studios.

Rock on, King.   Memphis loves you.  World boogie is coming!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Jim and the Replacements

This is long but worth it- especially if you're a 'Mats Freak

     Here was my chance to talk to the great Jim Dickinson-
the man Bob Dylan frequently referred to as "brother,"
the producer of Big Star's Third album, a lifelong intimate
of Alex Chilton, and the man who'd added the funky piano
part to "Wild Horses" in the 1969 Muscle Shoals sessions
that, two years later, became the Rolling Stones' Sticky
Fingers. It was a golden opportunity to hang with a legend,
to learn or at least be a reporter-and yet, while the spirit was
willing, the mind, mercilessly battered by alcohol and inane
chatter, was offline.
      Suddenly, a thought whispered. "What was it like
recording the Replacements?" I heard myself asking.
     "Well, they walked in, and Paul said, 'We fired Bob-
but don't worry we got it covered."'
     That indelible vignette has remained a vivid war story
for me, which made the July release of l’m Just Dead I'm
Not Gone- a live album Dickinson cut in 2006 with his sons,
 Luther and Cody, aka the North Mississippi Allstars, such a
pleasure to behold- That the record sounds remarkably clear
and alive for having been recorded in mono made my
reunion with that long-ago morning in Austin complete,
so much so that I had to call Jim's oldest son, Luther who,
besides fronting the Allstars, now also plays guitar with the
Black Crowes.  His dad died of heart failure in Memphis in
 August 2009.
    "It's just beautiful, the outpouring of love from
people that he touched. He touched so many musicians,"
Luther Dickinson says. "People used to call him in the
middle of the night. People who weren't famous. From the
road. They knew they could call him when it was gettin'
dark, when they just had to talk. You had that one
conversation at South by Southwest and it stuck with you.
He had that gift.
    "The way you felt that morning, I felt like that all the
time. We always talked about music and art and records.
As a musician, he was on Sun [Records], he worked with
Sam Phillips, and then Jerry Wexler and Tom Dowd, and
then Lenny Waronker at Warner Bros. He never wanted to
go on the road, so he figured out how to produce."
     While he won a national reputation with high-profile
producing jobs for Primal Scream, Toots and the Maytals,
Mudhoney, Ry Cooder, and, most famously, Big Star, in
later life he preferred to make records at his Zebra Ranch
Studio, in Hernando, Missouri, outside Memphis, with local
Memphis artists like solo singer and double-bassist Amy
LaVere and the band Lucero.
     "He liked to capture the initial creative spark of the song,"
Luther says. "He didn't want to do preproduction and do a
hundred takes; he wanted to capture the learning process of
the song being born. And he would try and create space.
Songs and music, that's the artist; the space in between the
notes, that was his place."
     After Big Star, Dickinson's most famous producing gig
was serving as chief cajoler and disciplinarian for the chaotic
1987 sessions at Memphis's Ardent Studios that became The
Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me.  Being a 'Mats freak, I had
to hear more from Luther about his father's adventures with the
gloriously hazardous quartet, which had just then become a
trio with the exit of founder and guitarist Bob Stinson, who
either quit or was forced out because of substance abuse,
depending on who tells the story.
     "They were so ragged," Luther says of Paul Westerberg,
Tommy Stinson, and Chris Mars. "Dad said they couldn't play
when they were sober, and then they'd have a couple of hours
when they were hot, and then they'd get too drunk.
Westerberg never wrote any of those songs down. They were
all in his head. And they would change every take. He would
use every take of Westerberg's lyrics, which were different
every time, and go back and edit them all together. So a lot
of the songs are pieced together from multiple takes of
unrepeated verses.
     "Dad's thing was, 'Bring me Bob.' He wanted to call the
record Where's Bob? He felt like he could have helped Bob.
He would teach these bands how to play. These rhythm
sections. He would try. Teach them music history,  rock 'n' roll
 history. And give them a sense of self as a rock 'n' roll
musician.  I think that's why people would call him in the
middle of the night "

Music critic Robert Baird (robert.baird@sorcam)
October 2012'

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Review of "I'm Just Dead I'm Not Gone"

James Luther Dickinson and North Mississippi All Stars

I'm Just Dead I'm Not Gone
(Memphis International Records)

By Bill Bentley

There aren't many musicians who cast as wide a shadow as James Luther
Dickinson.  Around Memphis he was an instigator of countless escapades,
from early days pushing aging bluesmen to the front of the line, then as
keyboard player in the decidedly funky Dixie Flyers and producer non-pareil
of everyone from Big Star, the Replacements, Texas Tornados, John Hiatt and
onward. Some first found out about Dickinson from his aching piano on the 
Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses," which opened a lot of doors for someone who
wasn't shy about knocking them down if need be. He was Ry Cooder's 
co-conspirator for years, and even ended up on a Bob Dylan album a
decade ago. There was nowhere this man didn't go.

In the '90s his sons Luther and Cody Dickinson kicked up their own sand
after forming the North Mississippi All Stars. Needless to say, the music never
stopped around the Dickinson abode, and as he once explained, he had to 
"raise his own band," which the father definitely did. When he died in 2009, Jim
Dickinson had aptly reminded everyone beforehand, "I will not be gone as long 
as the music lingers." This live concert recorded at the New Daisy Theater on 
Memphis' famous Beale Street in 2006 captures the man and his sons in full 
glory, taking a blowtorch to roots music and fashioning something altogether 
their own. They had such an instinctual feel for these songs--music that was 
almost literally in their blood--that the sound feels like it comes from a down
 home frontporch with the ions thick in the summer night and the spirit of 
America in the air.

The set list is one that reflects where Jim Dickinson started, with classics by 
Sleepy  John Estes, Furry Lewis, B.B. King and J.B. Lenoir to cover the blues 
foundation. Then there's songs by Mack Rice, Buffy St. Marie, Bob Frank, 
Jerry West and Terry Fell that veer from swampy rockers to country stompers. 
Everything comes out with an unstoppable beat and bad boy attitude, 
something the Tennessee favorite son came by naturally. With a gruff voice 
that commanded complete attention, it sometimes seems like Dickinson might
have missed his calling as a preacher or a politician, but in a lot of ways that's
what he was too. He just did it from behind a piano, and let the notes fall 
where they may. There is no denying we won't see his like again, but once
more the Big Man was right when he predicted: he's just dead, he's not gone.
Thank God

Thursday, June 21, 2012

I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone - PRE-ORDER CONTEST


James Luther (Jim) Dickinson's first and only live record with sons Luther and Cody plus Chris Chew of the North Mississippi Allstars, and Jimmy Davis on rhythm guitar is being released on July 3, 2012. The CD is called, "I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone." It was recorded at the New Daisy Theater in Memphis. It's probably Jim and the boys' BEST live performance ever. Jimmy Davis puts them over the top. Great sound, pickin', and Jim is on fire.

To make this more fun, Zebra Ranch is offering a pre-release contest until July 3 to win FREE cds. Order "I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone" from the, Zebra Ranch Store before July 3, and you will automatically be entered in a drawing to win the contest. The prize is 3 more CDs of your choice from the Zebra Ranch Store absolutely FREE! This includes Luther's Grammy nominated tribute to his dad, "Onward and Upward."

Whoever orders a vinyl copy of "I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone" will receive 3 extra cds of his/her choice for free.

All CDs and vinyl purchased from the, Zebra Ranch Store including the winners will be shipped on July 3. Can't beat this with a stick! Be there or be square! World boogie is coming!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Allstars at the Beale Street Music Festival

"As in life, time seems to fly by at the Beale Street Music Festival. Not that long ago, the North Mississippi Allstars and Three 6 Mafia were among the festival's fledgling acts, musical upstarts representing the new generation of Memphis music.

But as the 2012 edition of the three-day concert event kicked off on Friday evening, the Allstars and Three 6 had come to occupy a rather different position: the two groups having evolved into Mid-South institutions epitomizing the wide spectrum of Memphis music that's defined the past two decades. Led by the Dickinson brothers -- guitarist Luther and drummer Cody -- the Allstars were in fine fettle on the Bud Light stage as they savored the fading bits of daylight, conjuring an impressive kickoff to the weekend's entertainment.

The band's prodigiously built bassist Chris Chew, who's developed a second career as a tour bus driver, and who will soon be taking a hiatus from the group, was a welcome sight on stage as his rock steady rhythm and infectious presence seemed to galvanize the Dickinsons.

The three-piece combo, aided by a trio of sweet-voiced backing singers, and the odd guest, including British bluesman Ian Seigel, delivered a crowd-pleasing set, carving new filigrees into familiar favorites like "Keys to the Kingdom" and "Let My Baby Ride."

Their performance reached a crescendo as Luther broke out an electric diddley bow -- a distinctly fashioned one string guitar -- and made the instrument come alive to the strains of "Rollin' and Tumblin'" while brother Cody strapped on a washboard; together they summoned the "world boogie" sound their departed father, Memphis producer Jim Dickinson, fashioned as his mantra and legacy, while family matriarch Mary Lindsay Dickinson watched approvingly from the side of the stage"

-Bob Mehr, Commercial Appeal
May 4th, 2012

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recording with The New Beale Street Sheiks

" ….I called Crosthwait and asked him if he had ever thought about playing the washboard. We went to a hardware store down by Memphis State and got a Zinc King washboard and half a dozen sewing thimbles to use as picks.  We drafted our friend George Gillis who had played bass on my Home of The Blues session to play wash tub and the New Beale Street Sheiks were born.
         We rehearsed once, played a gig Friday night at The Pastimes Peanut Bar, and showed up at Sam Phillip’s Studio Saturday morning for the session.  Nobody was there except Scotty Moore, Bill Black, and Rowsey, the repair man.  Justis had failed to nail down the booking for the session, and Scotty wasn’t buying it.  We looked pretty bad.  Crosthwait had hair trailing down his back and Gillis and I were hung over.  I told Scotty to call Justis in Nashville, which he did.  After he got off the phone, Scotty okayed the session and it fell to Rowsey to engineer.  I found out later it was his first and only session.  We set up around a couple of RCA 77s and laid down four songs as fast as we could.  While we were cutting, Bill Black was calling people on the phone and having them come over and laugh at us from the control room.
          When we finished Bill Black was shaking his head.  “Dickinson, this is the wildest thing you’ve ever done,” he chuckled."
(From The Search for Blind Lemon copyright by Jim Dickinson)