Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Part Two: James Luther Dickinson - World Boogie Is Coming!

A young James Luther Dickinson
(from Jim Dickinson Facebook Photos)

I found a further tape with another (somewhat shorter) section of the Jim Dickinson "interview" on WEVL Memphis which I present to you here, once again with the music he played (with one extra bonus track).

JLD – I stole my arrangement of “John Brown” - anybody who's heard – I had never heard the Dylan version when I cut the song – it doesn't have the chorus in it. Only thing I'd heard was the Staple Singers which is what I copied – which makes mine sound stupid (...PAUSE....) A little song about mama! This is with Dr John and Charley Freeman playing guitar and Memphis's own Charlie Lawing playing clarinet with French embouchure – and T Tommy McClure playing the inside out stereophonic Lesley-ised bass....

James Luther Dickinson - "John Brown"

Another great ending on that one – reminds me of the Lawson & Four More record.

JLD – Well that was, yeah, Terry Manning's synthesizer going down the hole in the centre of the record. And me croaking and choking and sounding silly....but I'm glad Bob (Dylan) likes it.

Your favourite on here is “Casey Jones”

JLD - “Casey Jones" and "Wild Bill Jones”, the Bob Frank (described by Jim as the "southern Bob Dylan") song

James Luther Dickinson - "Casey Jones"

And this is Shelley....

JLD – Shelley Nemitz, Memphis's own Shelley Nemitz – go with “Shotgun”. The other voice on this is the late great John Hurley (co-writer of "Son Of A Preacher Man"), one of the two best white voices I ever heard come over a microphone. He's also the producer of this particular item. It was recorded in San Francisco. Tom Donahue ("beat hipster producer extraordinaire") was the alleged producer – he was fulfilling the Shelby Singleton role. And sitting in two chairs. Now a man who sits in two chairs, let me tell you, is impressive.

When did John Hurley die?

JLD - Died this last year. Died in Nashville. Yeah, went to the big mix down in the sky. He was the first client I ever had as an engineer who requested me specifically. I mean I had worked for other victims but Hurley was my first real client and I learned a lot of stuff from him. Heavy duty. This is a much better record than it appears to be (...laughs heartily...)

Shelley's still active?

JLD – Shelley's definitely still active wherever she is. I'm sure she's active as we speak. Let 'em hear “Shotgun” - the other material on the record is too heavy for family consumption.

Shelley had quite a visual presentation!

Shelley Nemitz - "Shotgun"

Jorge Santana (Carlos Santana's brother) huh?

JLD – That was him. Having a fit there. And Ronnie Wilkin (co-writer with Hurley of "Son Of A Preacher Man") playing, probably my major influence as far as piano is concerned other than my mother, playing piano. I was playing rhythm guitar, laughingly he said, chukka chukka. Various other strange people were singing, Claudia Lennear (Tina Turner backing singer with whom Mick Jagger had an affair and who inspired “Brown Sugar”) among them. It was a fun time back in the real record biz days.

Claudia Lennear - "Casey Jones"

JLD – This next little gem – we're getting serious here as we wind down and approach the end of our little trip here, as we used to say in the sixties. This is the only unsuccessful record Ronnie Milsap ever made. And Dan Penn produced it and we went hither and yon to Nashville and Muscle Shoals and thereabouts, cutting various parts of it. This particular instance was recorded in Muscle Shoals. It has notable performances by Spooner Oldham and, myself, of course. I always have myself in there, and Lightning Wayne Perkins (lead guitarist on the Rolling Stones "Black And Blue" album) and Chris Ethridge (founder member of The Flying Burrito Brothers) and Roger Hawkins (drummer on Aretha Franklin's "Respect") and Milsap himself. This is also an unsuccessful Kris Kristofferson song which I think is very good.

His only unsuccessful record, huh?

JLD – That was it. Very interesting artist Ronnie Milsap – we recorded some of it in American Studios with the American Section and some of it in Nashville with the 615 Band, and that was like middle of the night crazy stuff in Muscle Shoals. The other guitarist on there was Tippy Armstrong – no longer with us.

We got the Lulu “Melody Fair” album.

JLD – Yeah, this is another one of my personal little favourites from Miami.

A Mickey Newbury song.

JLD – Yeah, the thing that people fail to perceive about Lulu is that she's a redneck. Just because she's British, y'know.....

Lulu - "Sweet Memories"

1 comment:

  1. Great read Chris - listening to the swampy 'John Brown'.... That Claudia Lennear record is a good one - she was a key part of the Shelter label's 'ensemble' & it's kinda odd she's best known as a muse for Jagger & Bowie. I think half her solo album was produced by Ian Samwell - the writer (or co-writer maybe) of 'Move It', probably Britain's earliest decent rock'n'roll effort, alongside Kidd's 'Shakin' All Over'. Great seein' '17' back on track! Laters Chris - Pedro