“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

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Remembering Jim - Harris Scheuner

I'm reprinting this visitor's post that Harris Scheuner wrote Saturday about Jim. Here's what I believe Jim would say about it: "Not just yes, but HELL, YES!!!" "World boogie is coming!" Harris Scheuner: As I begin to write about Jim Dickinson on the anniversary of his just being dead, not being gone, in my head I am listening to him playing, "There's No Place Like Home" which he played and sung with such an emotion......As soon as I could understand and speak words, I found my truths, my morality, my my strength, my solace on 70's AM radio...WHBQ and WMPS, my theme song, at age six was Sunshine by Jonathon Edwards....." He can't even run his own life, I'll be damned if he'll run mine" I would later in life understand that the song was about our government, but to me it was about my home life. To say the least, there was no positive role model at our house, and so, it went for years, messages about right and wrong, and fairness, and such came from my only true and respectable friend, Rock-n-Roll. Then, on Halloween 1985 at Handy Park on Beale Street, I saw Mudboy and the Neutrons for the first time, and had my life's one true epiphany. Jim was Rock-n-Roll and truth and justice all wrapped up in a brutal Rock-n-Roll rage, and for the first time in my life, I felt like I was in church the way church is supposed to be on it's best day, and for the first time in my life, I felt at home....Standing in awe in Handy Park, I felt at home for the very first time in my life.....and I felt that all this time, I had been right.....right to find what is right through Rock-n-Roll, and that there were others, and that of it all, Jim was the leader. That is Jim Dickinson's Legacy, Shouting truth with songs and with speech, and encouraging others to do so, not by asking them to, but by powerful example. Jim was not shy about what he had to say, he meant it, and he said it loud and clear. Going to see/hear him was the food for my spirit, for my soul. He was the closest thing to a pastor or rabbi I ever had, he never ever failed to talk about some injustice or wrong, or right both through speech and song, and it kept my spirit full and satisfied. Maybe it is the loneliest, most empty people....people with less love and family than need there church and there pastor the most. On August 15th 2009, I was set to have a pretty good night, I when to the Antenna for the Antenna Reunion the night before, and it was like the best high school reunion ever, and was set to reunite, after 20 years, with my band Los Pimpin' that night.....hadn't played out in a long while, and was excited to play, then Linda Heck gave me the news, and the bottom fell out. No words.....If you don't know who Jim was, he would say that you were better off, but if you have know idea of him, just think; he was the Perry Mason of Rock-n-Roll.....he is to Rock-n-roll what Moses was to the Jews......he was the king of goodness through Rock-n-Roll.....the wisest of wise men.....So after a few hours of no words, then I became enraged, like Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump up on top of the pole screaming at God that he had pushed me just too far, and that if he wanted to come fight for it just outside of Murphy's, that I was ready and not in the mood to wait.....and in a fist fight with God on that day, I would have won.....easily. So with that spirit we played our stupid little gig, and in honor of our fallen leader, we played "I've Had It" a song he is known for, or rather a song that is known because of him, with Greg Cartwright sitting in and singing it. Needless to say further, but I will, I wanted to be him when I grew up....He was and still is my role model. Sometimes when I speak up for or against something, I am often viewed as a jerk. I don't have the "it" that Jim had nor the grace, but when I get weak and think about not speaking up, I think of the video of him that I saw at his tribute. To paraphrase, he said when "they" don't like it, or "they" disagree, and they tell you to stop, he said don't tell them no, tell them HELL NO! So as I feel like George Bailey standing on the bridge, I'll use the same words he did; Dear Lord, if you are up there, and you can hear me.....please help us cultivate and grow that which Jim planted in me the way, Lord, show us the way. World Boogie is coming if it kills me!

Six years

Six years ago, I walked into our home on the Zebra Ranch for the first time as a widow. The phone was ringing. I answered it. It was a reporter from Reuters, a world wide news organization. Jim had been dead a handful of hours. I couldn't believe the news had broken so fast. I hung up the phone in a daze after talking to the reporter. The second I put the phone down, it rang again. It was my niece from Florida, giving me her condolences for my loss. I was bewildered. It was the first inkling I had of the magnitude of Jim's fame. Since then James Luther Dickinson's legacy has spread. Cody dedicated the magnificent movie he conceived and produced (with his partner, Martin Shore), "Take me to the River," to his father, and played with Luther on the NMA CD that Luther mostly wrote, "Keys to the Kingdom." The music they play around the world keeps his legacy alive, proving his now famous last words, "I'm just dead, I'm not gone." 

Surprise! The best is yet to come! That is a promise!

Meanwhile, an important man in the life of Luther and his family, the Rector of Gray St. Luke's Episcopal church and school, was so touched by Luther's songs in "Keys to the Kingdom," that he asked Luther to play for the church these songs and tell how he came to write them. I do believe this is the best, most transcendent playing that has ever come out of Luther's guitar.

What do you think?

 As Jim would say, "Sit back, relax, pour some whiskey in your glass. Enjoy"

 World boogie is coming!

Up Over Yonder: The Sights and Sounds of Heaven with Luther Dickinson from the band North Mississippi Allstars from Grace-St. Lukes Episcopal Church on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Remembering John Fry

I can't let this week slip by without writing more in tribute to John Fry, not the music man or the gentleman or the friend of all who wanted to learn about everything from studio engineering to aviation. (Yes, John taught many of his young engineers to fly airplanes). The John Fry I want to remember tonight was my prayer partner, my brother in Christ; a fearless, fervent witness to whomever would listen about the Gospel, the good news that "God so loved the world that He sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him will not perish but have everlasting life." John ran the Evangelism Explosion at Bellevue Baptist Church for eighteen years and himself knocked on many a door asking people if he could come into their homes and pray for them. Of course, John being John, music could not be far behind and along with my nephew, Eddie DeGarmo and his band, DeGarmo and Key, John had a great hand in recording the first Christian rock music that still rocks our world. I can see John now- up in Heaven, resetting the EQ in the great Control Room in the Sky and holding the Keys to the Kingdom, while St. Peter takes a break.

This photo was from such a fun night in Nov. 2012. Al Kapone gave a smoking performance, John accepted a Pyramid Award from the Blues Ball for Big Star, and Jim was posthumously honored as one of the inaugural members of the Memphis Music Hall of Fame. Two years later we celebrate the life of our remarkable, unforgettable, and irreplaceable friend, John Fry, and his almost fifty years of setting the bar for excellence in Memphis music. I praise the Lord for the privilege of having known and revered John. I will treasure his memory always.

(photo courtesy Sharon Bicks)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Jim with Joe Hardy at Ardent Studios - "Quantizing"

Jim with Joe Hardy at Ardent Studios. Jim and Joe were in the midst of inventing a process called "Quantizing," using a Fairlight. This involved being able to move the beats of a drum part around, eons (in recording time) before the likes of Pro Tools. They were both high as kites from the sheer outrageousness of what they were doing. (h/t Kelly Fisher/Ardent Studios)