Keys to the Kingdom North Mississippi Allstars

Album info



Label: Legacy Recordings

Genre: Rock

Subgenre: Blues-Rock

Album including Album cover

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  • 1This A'Way04:17
  • 2Jumpercable Blues03:25
  • 3The Meeting04:10
  • 4How I Wish My Train Would Come03:52
  • 5Hear the Hills06:56
  • 6Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again03:17
  • 7Let It Roll03:23
  • 8Ain't No Grave03:47
  • 9Ol' Cannonball03:16
  • 10New Orleans Walkin' Dead02:32
  • 11Ain't None O' Mine04:09
  • 12Jellyrollin' All Over Heaven04:42
  • Total Runtime47:46

Info for Keys to the Kingdom

Keys to the Kingdom is easily the most personal album recorded by the North Mississippi Allstars to date. Luther and Cody Dickinson lost their father, the legendary producer and musician Jim Dickinson, in late 2009. Along with fellow bandmember Chris Chew, the trio gathered together in the Dickinson family's home Zebra Studios to record a tribute. The words "Produced for Jim Dickinson" adorn the back of the album Keys to the Kingdom CD music.

Despite the sobering circumstances, the band focused on their father's motto -- "I will not celebrate death" -- as the m Keys to the Kingdom album for sale. o for the sessions Keys to the Kingdom songs. They gathered together a slew of family friends including Alvin Youngblood Hart, Mavis Staples, Ry Cooder, Spooner Oldham, Gordie Johnson, and Jack Ashford, among others, to cut a set of original material inspired by old-school Dixie-fried roots rock, Delta blues, funk, and R&B. The album features a single cover, a one-chord blues version of Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile (With the Memphis Blues Again)," to fulfill a last request by their father. Keys to the Kingdom album for sale by North Mississippi Allstars was released Mar 15, 2011 on the Songs Of The South label.

„Keys to the Kingdom is the most personal recording in the North Mississippi Allstars catalog. That said, "personal" doesn't mean "quiet." It was recorded at their home Zebra Studios in the aftermath of Cody and Luther Dickinson's father, musician, producer, and Southern music historian Jim Dickinson's passing and the birth of Luther's first child. The words "Produced for Jim Dickinson" that adorn the album's back sleeve offer a hint as to the album's sound. The metallic sheen that permeated 2008's Hernando has been stripped away to make room for the most stripped-down recording since the band's debut album, Shake Hands with Shorty. The sounds here have been informed by Cody and bassist Chris Chew's side project, the Hill Country Revue, and Luther's involvement with the Black Crowes and the South Memphis String Band. The latter released the Grammy-nominated Home Sweet Home. Also nominated for a Grammy (and influential here) is Onward & Upward, cut by the brothers under the moniker of Luther Dickinson & the Sons of Mudboy, a few days after their father's funeral. "This A'Way" kicks things off with a raw, bluesy, barroom rocker à la the Rolling Stones (circa Exile), with Spooner Oldham's pounding upright piano keeping time through the changes just under the blazing guitars, the crackling snare, and the hi-hat. "Jumpercable Blues" is a rowdy, pissed-off, down-home blues with Gordie Johnson's guitar teaming with Luther's. "The Meeting" is swampy, gutbucket, gospel blues starring Mavis Staples. Ry Cooder guests with his trademark slide guitar on the stellar "Ain't No Grave," in which Luther sings, "I would hope to be as brave as he was/ On judgment day/Ain't no grave can hold his body down...." Alvin Youngblood Hart -- also a member of the South Memphis String Band -- guests on harmonica and vocals on the strolling backporch blues of "Ol Cannonball." The clamoring "New Orleans Walkin' Dead" is a declamatory boasting stomp with Hart screaming on harmonica; it humorously celebrates zombie love. The set closes with the easy groove "Jellyrollin' All Over Heaven," a celebration of eternal life with Chew's bumping bassline countered by Cody's popping snare and Luther's dirty-assed slide guitar, before a solo Oldham piano coda takes them out. Keys to the Kingdom may have been recorded in response to death and birth but it is, more than anything else, a celebration of all that Jim Dickinson held dear in life and music, which are, after all, the same thing.“ (Thom Jurek, AMG)

Luther Dickinson, guitars, vocals
Cody Dickinson, drums, vocals
Chris Chew, bass, vocals
Mavis Staples, vocals
Spooner Oldham, piano
Gordie Johnson, guitar
Jack Ashford, tambourine
Alvin Youngblood Hart, vocals, harmonica
Jim Spake, saxophones, clarinet

Digitally remastered

North Mississippi Allstars
Brothers Luther (guitar, mandolin, vocals) and Cody Dickinson (drums, sampling) along with gospel bassist Chris Chew make up this power trio. The Dickinson brothers were born in Fayette County, TN, later moving to northern Mississippi, where the boys soaked up the country–blues sound of the region from artists like Mississippi Fred McDowell and R.L Burnside.

While blues is the chief inspiration for the Allstars, the band also mixes in an alternative aesthetic (comparable to outfits like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion or G. Love and Special Sauce), and a traditional rock, jam–band sensibility like Phish or Gomez.

The Allstars debuted at Dixie Fried '96, sharing the stage with Othar Turner and R. L. Burnside. The show was critically acclaimed in a Memphis newspaper as the Best Show of the Year. The Allstars soon began playing regularly at B.B. King’s Blues Hall and The Black Diamond on Beale Street in Memphis, TN. In the spring of 2000, the band released their debut album, Shake Hands With Shorty, which garnered them a GRAMMY Award nomination.

The North Mississippi Allstars' highly anticipated follow-up 51 Phantom, picks up where Shake Hands With Shorty left off — this time showcasing the songwriting talents of the brothers Dickinson, while continuing to delve into their southern roots. The album continues the band's love of groove–inspired jams and modern boogie, with a taut selection of original compositions. 51 Phantom resonates with classic melody and youthful groove.

Produced by Luther and Cody's father Jim Dickinson (The Replacements, Big Star, Ry Cooder, Primal Scream), 51 Phantom is a gritty and grooving masterpiece. From the snarl of "Snakes in My Bushes" to the anthemic title track, through the sweet ballads of "Leavin" and "Up Over Yonder," the Allstars have created a focused and brilliant masterpiece that sees them evolving their sound, while still keeping in touch with their Mississippi roots.

This album contains no booklet.

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