Hearing Aide: North Mississippi Allstars ‘World Boogie’

New Orleans and Chicago can lay claim to their own blues sound, but the Memphis and North Mississippi Hill Country sound is the rarer, less explored gem of sound to discover. Fortunately, Luther and Cody Dickinson, the core of North Mississippi Allstars have spent the better part of the past 20 years sharing this sound with fans, following in the footsteps of producer-father Jim Dickinson. The sound – a gritty, unrefined and powerful force gushes forth in the fantastic World Boogie is Coming. Featuring tracks varying in length from one to ten minutes, the full pantheon of the regional blues sound is delivered through covers from blues legends the Allstars are happy to introduce you to, as well as originals and instrumentals.

“Rollin ‘n Tumblin”, best interpreted by Muddy Waters, kicks off with gritty guitar work from Luther, both plucked acoustic and shredded electric, and primal drums from Cody, leading to a fresh take on the early blues number. “Snake Drive”, the RL Burnside original the trio has performed for years has the vocals strained through a megaphone that makes for a distant, stripped down juke joint vibe. “Meet me in the City”, one of the more upbeat songs on the album (as close to a ballad as NMA gets, via Junior Kimbrough) drifts off into “Turn Up Satan”, where Luther Dickinson sings with a love-scorned blues infusion at its core.

“Shimmy”, another staple from the NMA live catalog is pure instrumental howling guitar while “World Boogie” and “Goin’ to Brownsville” give a taste of local flavors embedded in the vocals. “Jumper on the Line” is 10 minutes of bluesy bliss, anchored by Luther’s guitar and Cody’s drumming and a bass beat held down by Chris Chew, but it is the vocals on this RL Burnside tune that are inviting throughout.

A unique aspect to the album are the short interludes between the main tracks – “That Dog After That Rabbit”, “My Babe”, “Cuttin’ Shorty” – add to the album by providing slight valleys to the multiple peaks on the album. The bonus tracks are solid as well – “Back Back Train”, a lively and seemingly spontaneous “Hodown” and a studio take on a fun live tune, “ML (Goin Home)” are great extras for an album that is strong and thorough. Produced by the Dickinson brothers and featuring Lightnin Malcolm, Alvin Youngblood Hart and Duwayne and Garry Burnside, among many others, the musical history heard in this album is a rare-treat.

Key Tracks: Rollin n Tumblin, Turn up Satan, Shimmy, Jumper on the Line

[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/111236540″ width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]