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North Mississippi All-Stars - Keys To The Kingdom

Songs Of The South

Eulogizing their father Jim Dickinson in the release of Keys To The Kingdom is the best therapy for sons Luther and Cody who make up two thirds of the North Mississippi All-Stars.

Rather then dwell in a post-mortem state of depression, The All-Stars use this music to celebrate life. It's what Jim would have wanted.
Working with Ry Cooder, Gordie Johnson, Mavis Staples and Alvin YoungBlood Hart has laid the groundwork for some of the best music since their debut Shake Hands With Shorty.

Substituting their hill-country roots with more of a rocking sound has been this bands biggest suite. Opening cut "This A' Way" comes off with great hooks and choruses that would make this a great number to perform live. Ditto for second track "Jumpercable Blues" that has Gordie Johnson guesting on guitar to add a little flash to its raucous boogie.

Mavis Staples adds her vocals to the gospel tent revival "The Meeting." Guitarist Luther Dickinson seems willing to meet the Grim Reaper head on in the rejoiceful proclamation of "Hear The Hills."

Being the only cover on this cd is Bob Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile With The Memphis Blues Again," the All-Stars twist this ditty into a real roots Southern rocker. Dickinson with his slide makes "Let It Roll" a piece of White Lightning cruising on Highway 61.
Ry Cooder's guitar work appears on the folk death-march of "Aint No Grave." Alvin YoungBlood Hart lays down harmonica in the jugband streetcorner "Ol' Cannonball" and zombie rock of "New Orleans Walkin' Dead."

The final two tracks wrap this cd up giving its final closure. Ghosts of the hill-country revisit the rocking mantra of "Aint None O' Mine." And "Jellyrollin' All Over Heaven" points out that Jim Dickinson is going to have a helluva party behind them Pearly Gates. The song bounces along with a country blues line giddy in nature.

The production credit reads Produced For Jim Dickinson. With Keys To The Kingdom, it's the best tribute these guys can make.?

Reviewed by Gary “Wingman” Weeks.

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