“(Jim Dickinson is)…. that magical musical maestro from Memphis…. he was the kind of guy you could call to play piano, fix a tractor, or make red cole slaw from scratch.”
“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
John Brown (from his great 1972 album “Dixie Fried” – words by Bob Dylan):
James Luther “Jim” Dickinson (November 15, 1941 – August 15, 2009) was an American record producer, pianist, and singer who fronted, among others, the Memphis based band, Mudboy & The Neutrons.
- In the late 1960s, Dickinson joined with fellow Memphis musicians Charlie Freeman, Michael Utley, Tommy McClure and Sammy Creason; this group became known as the “Dixie Flyers” and provided backup for musicians recording for Atlantic Records. Perhaps their best-known work was for Aretha Franklin’s 1970 Spirit in the Dark.
- In December 1969, Dickinson played piano on The Rolling Stones’ track “Wild Horses” at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Alabama
- In 1972 Dickinson released his first solo album, “Dixie Fried”, which featured songs by Bob Dylan, Furry Lewis, and the title song by Carl Perkins.
- In 1974 he produced Big Star’s Third
- Co-produced with Alex Chilton on the 1979 Chilton album Like Flies on Sherbert.
- He has produced Willy DeVille, Green on Red, Mojo Nixon, Neon Wheels, Jason & The Nashville Scorchers, The Replacements,Tav Falco’s Panther Burns, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, and The Dick Nixons, among many others
- in 1977 an aural documentary of Memphis’ Beale Street, Beale Street Saturday Night, which featured performances by Sid Selvidge, Furry Lewis and Dickinson’s band Mud Boy and the Neutrons.
- He has also worked with Ry Cooder, and played on Dylan’s album Time Out of Mind.
He played keyboards, Wurlitzer electric piano, pump organ on “Love Sick”, “Dirt Road Blues”, “Million Miles”, “Tryin’ to Get to Heaven”, “Til I Fell in Love with You”, “Not Dark Yet”, “Can’t Wait”, and “Highlands”
- In 1998, he produced Mudhoney’s, Tomorrow Hit Today.
Introducing himself – from www.artistshousemusic.org:
Down in Mississippi:
Check out this great blog:
Spotify playlist of the day:
- Gerald “Jerry” Wexler (January 10, 1917 – August 15, 2008) was a music journalist turned music producer, and was regarded as one of the major record industry players behind music from the 1950s through the 1980s. He coined the term “rhythm and blues”, and was integral in signing and/or producing many of the biggest acts of the last 50 years, including Ray Charles, the Allman Brothers, Chris Connor, Aretha Franklin, Led Zeppelin, Wilson Pickett, Dire Straits, Dusty Springfield and Bob Dylan. Wexler was inducted in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Jerry Wexler was one of the most highly-regarded A&R men in popular music history, a status bolstered by his accomplishments with Aretha Franklin.
- Jimmy Webb (born August 15, 1946) is an American songwriter, composer, and singer. He wrote numerous platinum-selling classics, including “Up, Up and Away”, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Galveston”, “The Worst That Could Happen”, “All I Know”, and “MacArthur Park”. His songs have been performed by many popular contemporary singers, including Glen Campbell, The 5th Dimension, Thelma Houston, The Supremes, Richard Harris, Johnny Maestro, Frank Sinatra, Elvis Presley, Isaac Hayes, Art Garfunkel, Amy Grant, America, Linda Ronstadt, R.E.M., Michael Feinstein, Donna Summer and Carly Simon. According to BMI, his song “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” was the third most performed song in the fifty years between 1940 to 1990. Webb is the only artist ever to have received Grammy Awards for music, lyrics, and orchestration.
- Oscar Emmanuel Peterson (August 15, 1925 – December 23, 2007), was a Canadian jazz pianist and composer. He was called the “Maharaja of the keyboard” by Duke Ellington, “O.P.” by his friends. He released over 200 recordings, won eight Grammy Awards, and received other numerous awards and honours over the course of his career. He is considered to have been one of the greatest jazz pianists of all time, having played thousands of live concerts to audiences worldwide in a career lasting more than 60 years.
- Big Bill Broonzy (June 26, 1903 – August 15, 1958) was a prolific American blues singer, songwriter and guitarist. His career began in the 1920s when he played country blues to mostly black audiences. Through the ‘30s and ‘40s he successfully navigated a transition in style to a more urban blues sound popular with working class Black audiences. In the 1950s a return to his traditional folk-blues roots made him one of the leading figures of the emerging American folk music revival and an international star. His long and varied career marks him as one of the key figures in the development of blues music in the 20th century.