Killers From Space
James Luther Dickinson
Memphis International Records
By James Calemine
Recorded at Zebra Ranch in Independence, Mississippi, during February and March of 2007, Killers From Space marks another interesting release by Jim (James Luther) Dickinson. Dickinson's resume includes gigs with Bob Dylan, The Rolling Stones, Furry Lewis, The Dixie Flyers, Aretha Franklin, Mud Boy & The Nuetrons, Ry Cooder, Big Star, Green On Red, The Replacements and The North Mississippi Allstars to name a few.
Dickinson's sons, Luther and Cody, play on Killers From Space along with Paul Taylor, Ed Finney, Jimbo Mathus, Greg Spradlin, Chris Scruggs, T-Bone Burroughs and Johnny Reno. The opener "Texas Me", a Doug Sahm/Augie Meyers song, resembles the Sir Douglas Quintet with the weeping pedal steel, cajun fiddle and a loping beat.
"Dirty On Yo Mama"--a John Hurley tune-- harkens back to Dickinson's run with The Dixie Flyers. "Nature Boy", an R & B take on Tommy Hull's song stands as an example of Dickinson's musical scope. "You Better Rock Me Baby" careens between Jerry Lee Lewis and the Stones on this Jerry Lynn Williams tune.
Dickinson covers the Chuck Prophet/Daniel Stewart composition--"Lonely Nights"--that finds Dickinson in his mojo element singing behind his Baldwin Piano. Dickinson renders the Bill Crowder song, "I Need You", like some knock-down-drag-out Saturday night last call closer which resonates the timeless instinct to play the song again.
"Roly Poly", a rockabilly-R & B ditty, does not betray songwriter Greg Spradlin's original version. "Morning After The Night Before", the only song Dickinson wrote in this collection sounds like some barrelhouse ghost song out on Highway 61...
Dickinson travels into a Sunday-morning gospel dimension on the Allan Jacobs/Andrea Skinner tune, "I Was A Champion". The final track, "Sweet Peace Within" finds Dickinson employing a laid back beat that he's used for 40 years which sounds just as new in 2007. Killers From Space ranks as another essential collection from this legendary southern son.