It seems like all I do these days is post about the recently-deceased. I had planned to hold off on writing anything about James Luther "Jim" Dickinson (seemingly every other music-related website has churned out an obit, remembrance, or career overview) but I just stumbled across this wonderful bit of oral history on Notes & Musings and can't pass up sharing it.
A long and winding meditation on race, class and music in Memphis since 1950, Dickinson's piece is candid and bare. His life-long attempt to negotiate the subtle nuances- not just musical, but racial too- of the blues, rock'n'roll and hillbilly music is examined matter-of-factly, devoid of the turgid mythology that taints so much of the scholarship related to southern music.
Read the entire piece here.
posted by J. Everett Dixon at 3:02 PM
Naw, just kidding.
I figured I ought to post my mix of summertime soul jams before summer passed me by.
1. Gino Washington - Like My Baby
2. Curtis Mayfield & the Impressions - Seven Years
3. Otis Leavill - I Love You
4. The Miracles - Save Me
5. Stevie Wonder - Hey Love
6. June Conquest - All I Need
7. Barbara & Gwen - Just the Two of Us
8. Jean Wells - After Loving You
I used to live with these two metal-heads who called my soul records Rom-Com music. In which case, this is maybe like the sound track to the next Bridget Jones movie.
These are all songs particularly dear to me, nothing super rare or anything, but music I find pretty easy to love, like Seven Years, which is like a time capsule for my summer of 2005 (when I was living with said metal-heads, who were also, I should mention, really nice people). That was the same year I discovered "urban radio." Or, that is, my girlfriend at the time had a car, and that car had a radio, and so I listened to a lot of it, and the radio station I liked best was Jammin' 95.5 ("Portland's party station"). It was the summer of Curtis Mayfield and the Ying Yang Twins (and also Neurosis, but not by volition).
I thought whisper songs were going to be the next big thing, like auto-tune big. I'm still disappointed. Whispering is only cool if you're talking violence on the pussy? NO! So my affection for YYT was complicated, whereas Curtis kept things easy-- he's a love man, I'm a love man. We weren't about to beat anyone's pussy up.
posted by J. Minkus at 1:57 PM
The enigmatic frontman of legendary NYC r+b/soul/no-wave group Mink DeVille has died.
Known to the general public as the guy who collaborated with Mark Knopfler on the Oscar-nominated theme song from The Princess Bride, "Storybook Love," DeVille got his start playing the same NY scene that begot the Talking Heads, Ramones, Television and Blondie, to name a few.
Well regarded for his sharp musical acuity and tight pompadour, DeVille synthesized his disparate influences into a seamless pastiche all his own. Full of ethnic phrasing, polyrhythms, and echoes from nearly all aspects of Americana, DeVille's music comes across as a Brill Building James Chance, with a healthy dose of Van Morrison and the Cramps thrown in for good measure.
A truly singular personality, DeVille will be sorely missed.
posted by J. Everett Dixon at 12:41 PM
I will be away from the computer for a while, visiting my brother in The Dalles, Oregon.
The Dalles is about 80 miles east of Portland, just on the other side of Mt. Hood. Home to Celilo Falls (an historically popular fishing spot for various NW Indian tribes) the city's name is derrived from the French dalle, which means flagstone and refers to the many basalt rock formations in the area. Making up the last stretch of the Oregon Trail, The Dalles later became famous as the site of the first-ever bioterrorism attack on US soil, launched by the Rajneeshee cult in 1984.
NW Indians fishing at Celilo Falls
US Army General Jonathan Wainwright with Charley Quetukhin, left, Wyam Chief Tommy Thompson, with whom he is shaking hands, and Thompson's son Henry in 1945.
Four of the restaurants attacked by the Rajneeshee cult. The place in the bottom left, The Wagon, is a favorite watering hole.
posted by J. Everett Dixon at 1:49 PM
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