Album Review: World Boogie Is Coming by North Mississippi Allstars
Great, Based on 5 Critics
AllMusic - 90 Based on rating 9/10
Although they have mixed elements of hip-hop and alternative rock into their repertoire, the North Mississippi Allstars are really at their best when they blow out the rust on the kind of Mississippi folk-blues numbers they learned firsthand from the likes of R. L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Othar Turner.
There are few musicians more qualified to thrust the rootsy, swampy backwoods blues of the South into the present than brothers Luther and Cody Dickinson. The sons of the late auteur, legendary James Dickinson, are in the unique position to tap into the raw, shadowy blues and raucous boogie of originators such as Othar Tuner, Junior Kimbrough and R.L. Burnside—all of whom they worked with—and keep that music alive by plugging in and tapping into a jam oriented audience hungry for roots rocking.
As the sons of producer Jim Dickinson, the two North Mississippi Allstars grew up listening to blues and boogie, but their seventh album is their best yet, because it sounds as if they have just rediscovered the old classics and are determined to give them a furious update. Luther Dickinson sings and plays guitar, his brother Cody adds percussion and samples, and though they use studio effects, the album succeeds because it has a freshness, raw energy and attack reminiscent of the way Mama Rosin re-work Cajun music. The songs include blues favourites like Rollin' and Tumblin', now dressed up with scratching effects but still a glorious stomp, along with a slinky My Babe and a driving treatment of Sleepy John Estes' Goin' to Brownsville, while the new Goat Meat is one of two tracks featuring impressive harmonica work from Robert Plant.
Brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson were raised on Memphis blues, soul, R&B and rock ‘n’ roll. Their late father, Jim, is an unsung hero of rock ‘n’ roll who worked with, among others Big Star, the Rolling Stones and the Replacements. (Jim’s interviews in the documentary “Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me” are some of the film’s highlights.) For nearly two decades his Grammy-winning sons have explored similar musical terrain while expanding the conversation — no small feat for a music born in these same woods nearly a century earlier.
With a catalogue of seven studio album – more than 15 releases, if you factor in EPs and live records – it’s hard not to grow weary of a band’s sound. The North Mississippi Allstars, however, have a knack for changing up their vibe with every few albums. With blues always at the core, this trio has flirted with folk, country and even snatches of hip hop and alternative rock in the past, but World Boogie is Coming finds them back at their most natural sound: swampy blues courtesy of a lifetime of R.L.