189th Mississippi Blues Trail Marker to be Unveiled in Hernando, Mississippi
Hernando, Mississippi — December 11, 2015— The Mississippi Blues Trail will unveil its 189th marker, The Dickinson Family, honoring James Luther Dickinson, at 3:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 17, 2015, at 370 West Commerce Street in Hernando, Mississippi.
“Jim Dickinson’s Mississippi Blues Trail marker will be our fifth for DeSoto County and our second in Hernando,” said Kim Terrell, director of DeSoto County CVB. “We enjoy a great music heritage here in our county and we’re very proud to see that Jim’s legacy lives on through his sons Luther and Cody of the North Mississippi Allstars.”
The Dickinson family—parents James Luther (“Jim”) and Mary Lindsay Dickinson, and sons Luther and Cody—have played a major role in the blues scene, particularly in the north Mississippi and Memphis areas, over the last fifty years. Jim Dickinson is best known as the producer of rock artists including Big Star and the Replacements and for his session work with the Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Sons Luther and Cody formed, along with Hernando High classmate Chris Chew, the North Mississippi Allstars, a leading blues rock group for the last several decades. Both have also been involved with many side projects with blues, soul and gospel artists.
“The traditional music of our region inspires us to no end,” said Luther Dickinson. “We are proud to perpetuate the cultural legacy and musical evolution of north Mississippi hill country blues. The music has carried us all over the world. We are thankful to the community of artists in north Mississippi and Memphis who encouraged and cultivated us, giving the music to eager students and setting us on our way.”
Born in Little Rock in 1941, Jim Dickinson moved with his family to Memphis as a child, and was influenced early on by the sounds of vintage blues. In high school he played in local rock’n’roll bands that covered songs by artists including Muddy Waters, and in the late ‘50s he became increasingly interested in traditional blues, just as the “blues revival” was taking off nationally. Dickinson, along with friends including Greenville native Sid Selvidge, promoted and performed with Memphis blues veterans including Furry Lewis, and helped establish the Memphis Country Blues Festival.
Dickinson recorded multiple singles in the ‘60s featuring blues for labels including Sun (as a member of the Jesters), and later became a member of the Atlantic Records house band the “Dixie Flyers,” playing behind artists including Aretha Franklin and Albert Collins. His 1972 solo album “Dixie Fried” featured a song by Furry Lewis, and blues was featured prominently across multiple albums he produced with Ry Cooder and in the repertoire of his band Mud Boy and the Neutrons. Dickinson would become an elder statesman of the local music scene, and in the 2000s produced recordings by T-Model Ford, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and the North Mississippi Allstars.
The Allstars, whose sound was based on the music of artists including Fred McDowell and RL Burnside, formed in 1996 and three of their albums have received GRAMMY nominations. The group often collaborated with local blues musicians, including members of the Burnside and Kimbrough families and local fife and drum musicians. Luther’s production work includes several albums by Otha Turner while his solo projects have garnered two GRAMMY nominations; Cody’s many side projects include the recent documentary “Take Me to the River,” which paired veteran soul and blues artists with younger musicians.
“We look forward to sharing this blues marker with the fine people of Hernando,” said Cody Dickinson. “North Mississippi is truly a culturally enlightened land. It is with gratitude we accept this great honor for our father and our family. I hope to see you at the unveiling on December 17 and look forward to the celebration.”
“The installation of Jim Dickinson’s Mississippi Blues Trail Marker at the library is a dream come true for our family,” said Mary Lindsay Dickinson, wife of Jim Dickinson. “Hernando welcomed our family from the first day we moved here. Jim built his first studio here and Luther and Cody joined with Hernando High School friend, Chris Chew, to form the North Mississippi Allstars band.”
Mary Lindsay Dickinson goes on to explain the integral role of the public library in the Dickinson family’s lives.
“The First Regional Library was and is key to our success. Jim especially depended on it before the days of the Internet for research and development. When we drove to our newly bought home and passed the library in 1985, Jim said, ‘Look, darling. They knew you were coming! They’re enlarging the library.’ God bless all libraries and the angelic librarians that staff them. This library will always mean home to us and it is the perfect spot for Jim’s marker. May God bless all of you as God has blessed our family in Mississippi.”
“It is our honor to commemorate the Dickinson family and their connection to both Mississippi and blues music,” said Daron Wilson, interim director of Visit Mississippi. “The marker tells of the Dickinson’s influence and role in keeping the blues alive and evolving. The Mississippi Blues Trail is one of the best ways to experience the affluence of this region and we are so pleased to celebrate the Dickinson family and DeSoto County.”
In the words of Jim Dickinson, “World boogie is coming!”
For more information about the Mississippi Blues Trail, visit www.msbluestrail.org, explore the state’s official tourism website at www.VisitMississippi.org, or contact Mary Margaret Miller, Visit Mississippi’s bureau manager for Creative Economy & Culture at 601-213-7300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.