This week’s four-star Sound Check features unusual recordings. I hope you find something to enjoy here.
‘I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone: Lazarus Edition,’ James Luther Dickinson featuring North Mississippi All Stars (Select-O-Hits/ Memphis International Records,☆☆☆☆)
This April 7 recording pairs the late James Luther Dickinson (playing piano on many recordings as Jim Dickinson) with the North Mississippi All Stars (sons Luther on guitar/vocals and Cody and drums/vocals plus bassist Chris Chew and guitarist/singer Jimmy Davis) playing piano and singing at a February 2006 performance. Two other tracks are from 1983, featuring Sun Records players Roland Janes, Cowboy Jack Clement, Billy Lee Riley and J.M. Van Eaton. Jim’s autobiography “I’m Not Dead, I’m Not Gone” was just released by University Press of Mississippi.
Favorites include the rousing “Redneck, Blue Collar,” the rocking “Hadacol Boogie,” the nifty “Fraulein,” the tuneful “Somewhere Down the Road,” and two excellent Sun covers (“Ubangi Stomp” and “I Forgot to Remember to Forget”).
‘Different Voices,’ Corky Siegel’s Chamber Blues (Dawnserly Records,☆☆☆☆)
This April 7 CD features blues harmonica legend/singer/composer Corky Siegel expanding his Chamber Blues String Quartet (violinist Jaime Gorgojo, violin/erhuist/singer Chihsuan Yang, viola player Dave Moss and cellist Joycelyn Shoulders) by adding singers and instrumentalists.
“Missing Persons Blues-Op. 26” effectively demonstrates the band concept with the orchestral strings playing a blues pattern while Siegel solos or carries the riff (with sax player Ernie Watts at the end).
Fans of blues and orchestra music will likely enjoy this recording.
‘Telescope,’ Kelley Ryan (Manatee Records,☆☆☆☆)
This mellow, textured new release comes from singer/guitarist/songwriter/studio nut Kelley Ryan, and features some well-known supporting players: singer Marti Jones, bassist/strings/co-producer Don Dixon, drummer/percussionist Jim Brock and horn player Jon Thornton. Kelley has a mysterious vibe here, not showing her face on the cover.
The playing and singing are expertly done, even if this one is a bit too subdued for frequent listening.
Ricky Flake, a former punk rocker and current music fan, lives in Biloxi. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org