Electric Blue Watermelon

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
This trio have never actually strayed all that far from their roots in the deepest Delta, but on this disc, the Allstars really snake those tributaries deep into the dark, fertile soil of their home state. Naturally enough, that means paying a great deal of attention to the region's indigenous blues strains -- as on the purposefully murky, electrified take on Charley Patton's "Mississippi Boll Weevil." On that track, tendrils of Luther Dickinson's guitar creep through the shuffling rhythms like kudzu growing up the side of a shotgun shack. A similar dirt road vibe permeates "Bang Bang Lulu," a hill country traditional that's given an extra dose of moonshine-fueled ...
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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David Sprague
This trio have never actually strayed all that far from their roots in the deepest Delta, but on this disc, the Allstars really snake those tributaries deep into the dark, fertile soil of their home state. Naturally enough, that means paying a great deal of attention to the region's indigenous blues strains -- as on the purposefully murky, electrified take on Charley Patton's "Mississippi Boll Weevil." On that track, tendrils of Luther Dickinson's guitar creep through the shuffling rhythms like kudzu growing up the side of a shotgun shack. A similar dirt road vibe permeates "Bang Bang Lulu," a hill country traditional that's given an extra dose of moonshine-fueled libidinousness by new lyrics woven in by Dickinson and his drummer brother Cody. The Allstars cast their net past the reach of the juke joints this time around, however. On "No Mo," for instance, they bring in Memphis rapper Al Kapone, whose languid drawl combines with Dickinson's slide guitar to make a stingingly fiery sonic gumbo. Lucinda Williams brings more of a slow burn to "Hurry Up Sunrise," a closing-time duet that recalls the classic pairings of Loretta Lynn and Conway Twitty. Concise, flab-free, and more back-to-basics than anything the Allstars have mustered since their debut, Electric Blue Watermelon lays a stoned soul picnic that'll set those synapses ablaze.
All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
Although they may mix 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 first hand from the likes of R.L. Burnside, Junior Kimbrough, and Othar Turner. The lead track here, a blisteringly ragged version of Charley Patton's "Mississippi Boll Weevil Blues," is a case in point. Stripped down and raw, it thunders along on Cody Dickinson's drums, throwing dynamics to the wind until the end, when it breaks down to just washboard and drums, then rises back up into a furious, marching stomp rhythm, before winding wistfully away on Luther Dickinson's slide guitar work. It's a wonderful rendition, and it reestablishes the past in the present without doing damage to either, a balancing act that the NMA do as well as anyone currently on the rock or blues scenes. Produced by legendary Memphis producer and the father of Luther and Cody Jim Dickinson, Electric Blue Watermelon has lots of similar moments that reach back to older songs, but instead of re-imagining them, as many artists would do, the Allstars simply amplify what is already there, a bit like tweaking out but not replacing the engine in an old stock car. This means the songs still carry the original package of nuts and bolts that made them work in the first place, but with the added kick of being covered by a top-notch band that understands that no one gets anywhere without understanding the past. This doesn't mean that the NMA reproduces the past, just that they understand it. For their version of Odetta's "Deep Blue Sea," for instance, the Allstars actually speed things a hair, but keep the churchy feel of the original, and the result is a delightfully nuanced and bluesy folk hymn that is reverent to its source, but expands on it as well. Two of the songs here "Teasin' Brown" and "Hurry Up Sunrise," were worked up by Luther from tapes of the late fife-and-drum-master Othar Turner talking and improvising lyrics on his front porch, while "No Mo" and "Stompin' My Foot" feature Mississippi rapper Al Kapone doing essentially the same thing "Stompin'" also features some blazing pedal steel guitar work from the amazing Robert Randolph, and all of it ends up sounding like it was cut from the same sturdy bolt of cloth. Another highlight is "Moonshine," a NMA original that sounds a bit like an alt rock version of the Allman Brothers Band, thanks to Luther's Duane Allman-like slide tone. The North Mississippi Allstars call what they do "world boogie," and that's a fine term, but what they really are is a 21st century version of a good old Southern rock band who know all too well that the hills of North Mississippi are alive with real folk music. Just like the final track here, Turner's "Bounce Ball," which starts out as a relentless fife-and-drum march before giving way to the sound of crickets and frogs in the Mississippi night; this is a band that has found a place to stand that makes sense.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 9/6/2005
  • Label: Ato Records
  • UPC: 880882154127
  • Catalog Number: 21541
  • Sales rank: 48,469

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Mississippi Boll Weevil (2:48)
  2. 2 No Mo (4:56)
  3. 3 Teasin' Brown (3:38)
  4. 4 Moonshine (4:18)
  5. 5 Hurry Up Sunrise (4:58)
  6. 6 Stompin' My Foot (3:37)
  7. 7 Bang Bang Lulu (4:03)
  8. 8 Deep Blue Sea (3:52)
  9. 9 Mean Ol' Wind Died Down (7:22)
  10. 10 Horseshoe (5:02)
  11. 11 Bounce Ball (4:43)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
North Mississippi Allstars Primary Artist
Jimmie Davis Guest Appearance
Lucinda Williams Guest Appearance
Revert Andrews Guest Appearance
Jim Crosthwait Guest Appearance
Kevin Bruce Harris Guest Appearance
Roger Lewis Guest Appearance
Susan Marshall Guest Appearance
Jim Spake Guest Appearance
Harold Thomas Guest Appearance
Efrem Towns Guest Appearance
Robert Tex Wrightsil Guest Appearance
East Memphis Slim Guest Appearance
Al Kapone Guest Appearance
Steve Selvidge Guest Appearance
Julius McKee Guest Appearance
Jimbo "Hambone" Mathus Guest Appearance
Terence Higgins Guest Appearance
Chris Chew Bass, Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Luther Dickinson Guitar, Vocals, Group Member
Cody Dickinson Drums, Group Member
Robert Randolph Guest Appearance
John C. Stubblefield Guest Appearance
Ben Nichols Guest Appearance
Rodney Evans Guest Appearance
Otha Andre Evans Guest Appearance
Aubrey Turner Guest Appearance
Mary Lindsay Dickinson Guest Appearance
Whitney Jefferson Guest Appearance
Sharde Turner Guest Appearance
R.L. Boyce Guest Appearance
Otha Turner Guest Appearance
Technical Credits
Charley Patton Composer
Lee Baker Composer
James Luther Dickinson Composer, Producer, Audio Production
Robert Hall Drum Technician
Roland Janes Engineer
Stephen Marcussen Mastering
Jeff Powell Engineer
Al Kapone Composer
Stewart Whitmore Digital Editing
Odetta Felious Gordon Composer
Pete Matthews Engineer
Duwayne Burnside Composer
Kevin Houston Engineer
North Mississippi Allstars Composer
Traditional Composer
Luther Dickinson Composer
Jason Hatcher Drum Technician
Brandon Raines Guitar Techician
Tom Foster Artwork, Paintings, Animation
Little Lorenzo Liner Notes
Otha Turner Composer
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