Jim Dickinson is the real deal. He’s been in the music business for 50 years, playing “rhythm piano” with The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Aretha Franklin and others. Producing records with Ry Cooder, John Hiatt and Big Star, to name a few. He says his mere physical presence is enough to affect the music in the room. That room is usually the studio at the Zebra Ranch, his home base in North Mississippi. That’s where he’s recorded his latest solo albums, and that’s where his sons Luther and Cody record. They’re founding members of the band North Mississippi Allstars, which has earned multiple Grammy nominations.
Luther and Cody have also organized the benefit concerts that are helping to pay some of Dickinson’s recent medical bills. He had triple bypass surgery in June, and his recovery is expected to be long. The first concert is this Saturday in Memphis, and another will follow in Los Angeles. Ardent studios is helping to organize donations, and you can click here to find out more.
Bob and I met Dickinson in February of 2008. He was generous with his time and a good host to a couple of outsiders from the media. It was an honor to meet someone who’s worked so long in the Memphis music scene that he performed on Cadillac Man, the last Sun Record before Sam Phillips sold the label. Dickinson told Bob that he thinks there’s a restless spirit that’s responsible for the remarkable music that comes out of the Mississippi Delta. It’s not always present, but it never goes away completely. Hopefully, it’ll be strong on Saturday night, as Dickinson’s comrades pay him tribute and play him on to many more years of music making.
— Geoffrey Redick