JUNGLE JIM AND THE VOODOO TIGER,
RELEASE DATE MAY 30, 2006
JAMES LUTHER DICKINSON
Jungle Jim And The Voodoo Tiger (Memphis International)
Free Beer Tomorrow, Jim Dickinson's "follow-up" to
his 1971 solo debut Dixie Fried, sounded like a well-conceived showcase
for his favorite mostly-obscure songs, this one sounds more like one
man's quickly-tossed-off, romping, stomping homage to southern music.
Not that he hasn't, in the process, unearthed some long-lost gems. Collin
Wade Monk's aching, slo-burn "Violin Bums" sounds like something
Tom Waits wishes he'd written, while "White Silver Sands" (once
the theme song of '60s southern comedian Brother Dave Gardner) is weird
and witty cocktail-lounge jazz-bop.
But he seems especially happy bellowing his way through the likes of
Terry Fell's war-horse "Truck Driving Man" or Lightning Slim's "Rooster
Blues". And his bloozy reading of "Love Bone", a 1969
hit for Johnny Taylor, is delivered with an irresistible wink and smile
that makes the original sound kinda chaste.
With a band anchored by his sons Cody and Luther of the North Mississippi
All Stars, this veteran artist/producer has never sounded looser on record,
which is saying a lot after the drunken carnival sound of Free Beer.
He makes pure roots music that's not purist, music that breathes, with
lots of open spaces; plays roadhouse piano that bridges black and white;
and is arguably the last man alive who knows how to record a sax so it
sounds like a sex toy.
The rockers are hell-bent and the slow ones are heaven-sent. He's serious
and he's fun and he does it from the heart. All this and a lolling/lulling
version of "Samba De Orfeo" from Black Orpheus, too. - JOHN
JAMES LUTHER DICKINSON
Jungle Jim and the Voodoo Tiger
Memphis International DOT 0215
of all worlds," if possible, would be
an alternate universe where, leaving politics aside, Steve Buscemi is
a major star, Tom Cruise an extra on Will & Grace, and the
Cash Show with special guest Bob Dylan in perpetual TV rotation. But
alternate universes exist only in sci-fi and the minds of soon-to-fail
communards. Instead we have cult heroes who, by definition, are failures
wide popularly. But cult favs in music are the staff of life for those
who don't give a damn about American Idol.
Dickinson holds a front-row in the pantheon of little-known heroes.
He's never had a hit record
as a performer, the discs he's produced haven't been big
sellers at Wal-Mart, and listeners who've heard him on albums by Rolling Stones,
Aretha Franklin, etc., didn't buy them because of his presence.
the music he's released as Jim Dickinson, James Luther Dickinson and
as Mud Boy & the
Neutrons is the real stuff - raw-to-the-bone roots-core done in the
fat Memphis tradition that encompasses Furry Lewis, Elvis, and Big Star
latest, Jungle Jim and the Voodoo Tiger,
is a roaring beast of a disc for those who prefer untamed to domesticated.
his sons Luther
and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, Alvin Youngblood
Hart, Amy LaVere (who played Wanda Jackson in Walk the Line) and various
sidemen, Dickinson rips through a string of tunes that pretty much tell
the tale in their
titles: "Red Neck, Blue Collar," "Truck Drivin' Man," "Violin
Bums," "Out of the Blue," "Love Bone," "Rooster
Blues," "Somewhere Down the Road," "Can't Beat the
Kid (Part 2)," and "Hadacol Boogie." And like the ingredients
in that old patent medicine, they are good for what ails you, with a dash
of honey, vitamins,
and a rot-gut alcohol.
knows this music like contents of the barn he's turned into a recording
studio in the Mississippi hill country. His
well-worn voice and
along his sons' guitar and drums, make this disc near perfect for those
who hate the
watered-down pop that sells. Extra bonuses: a fun little closing romp
de Orfeo" from Black Orpheus and amusing liners by Dickinson fan
Ry Cooder. - BILL WASSERZIEHER
James Luther Dickinson
FREE BEER TOMORROW
NEW YORK TIMES: "Mutant white-boy funk."
SPIN Magazine: "William Faulkner beating the crap out of Dr. John."
VILLAGE VOICE: "One of the greatest storytellers and piano players in rock'n'roll history."
BILLBOARD: (Chris Morris)- "Bar-b-qued southern dementia- enough bloodshed, inebriation, and lust to fill half-a-dozen other long-players."
ROLLING STONE: (David Fricke)- "A rough, rowdy music as big as Dixie itself. A thumping backroad tour of loss, rage, and outlaw whoopee."
HONG KONG MORNING POST: "If the devil has a sense of humor, this could be Hell's soundtrack."
OXFORD AMERICAN JOURNAL: "The Memphis musical tradition channels itself through Dickinson. Is he black?
White? or some new race altogether? He is a practitioner and apostle of a
kind of American mongrel music that arieses out Memphis where the backwoods
and the parlor, the negro and the redneck, the frat boy and the Bishop come
A great record!