Monday, August 17, 2009

R.I.P. Jim Dickinson

Jim Dickinson
I'm just dead, I'm not gone.

Famed musician/producer Jim Dickinson died on Saturday at the age of 67.

Cut from

One of the pioneers who helped define the Memphis sound—a mixture of rock, country, R&B and soul—and the father of Luther and Cody Dickinson, two-thirds of the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi Allstars, Dickinson’s career highlights are numerous and span over four decades: he recorded the Rolling Stones’ “Wild Horses” in Muscle Shoals, Alabama; formed the Atlantic Records house band The Dixie Flyers to record with Aretha Franklin and other R&B legends; inspired a legion of indie rock bands through his work with Big Star; collaborated with Ry Cooder on a number of movie scores, including Paris, Texas; and played with Bob Dylan on his Grammy-winning return to prominence, Time Out of Mind. He recorded with and produced greats like Aretha Franklin, Lucero, Mudhoney, The Replacements, T Model Ford and Sam & Dave. Dickinson released his final album, Dinosaurs Run in Circles, in May.

Cut from the Memphis Commercial Appeal:

What Dickinson understood was both the impermanence of his own life and the enduring power of the music he made. It’s a sentiment reflected in the epitaph he chose for himself: I’m just dead, I’m not gone.


Pretty much every Memphis musician who ever worked around Jim Dickinson has a few Dickinson stories.

Mine goes...

The band I was working with, circa mid 70's, was splitting a gig with Jim; Mudboy and the Neutrons I believe, down on Beale Street before it's rebirth. On our break we all snuck out back to relax in my luxurious 1970 Plymouth van. I remember feeling honored to have the infamous Jim Dickinson hanging out with us.
I had just returned to Memphis after a long stint in New Orleans and was lucky enough to be playing with one of the world's most famous unknown Memphis blues guitar players, Glenn Cammack, along with the funky Phil Durham on drums, and singer/songwriter/piano playin' George Parks.
Dickinson was holding court to a pile of us there in the back end of that van, telling stories about songwriters and other artists when he smiled and said (of course I paraphrase), "Man, I like your band. It's like New Orleans funk covered in Memphis blues guitar, that's crazy! Kinda like Barbecue Oysters." We all cracked up, put it out, then went back to finish the gig.
Actually, he said a lot more but we won't go into all that here.

I wasn't around Jim much after that and had filed my little memory of Jim Dickinson under -funny old musician stuff- until I heard news of his death. in hindsight I have to say, he was right, we were like Barbecue Oysters. Interesting, pretty good, but not for everyone.
The man had a way with words that was a bit acerbic, but with sweet, and damn funny undertones. Like the real Memphis music. The kind you don't hear anymore.

Dickinson always had an opinion if you liked it or not. Most times I didn't understand what the hell he was about. But... He was and will always be authentic. He was a one of the ones that put the Memphis in Memphis Music.
He will be missed by many, in many ways.

Worth reading.

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