Caught by the River

Caught by the Reaper – Jim Dickinson

17th August 2009

Jim Dickinson, record producer, musician and music historian, Memphis, Tennessee, 1941-2009


“Some of the records I’ve done, really obscure things, will be the ones that somebody will tell you saved their lives,” he once said.

and that’s exactly how it happened for me. Big Star. It’s hard to believe now but there was a time, a couple of decades or so ago (hey, that seems like yesterday to me), that very few people spoke of Big Star. The Cramps got me in to Big Star – Alex Chilton of BS produced The Cramps – Jim Dickinson produced Big Star. The third record. He played on it too. the piano on ‘Kizza Me’ . and that’s him playing piano with the Stones on ‘Wild Horses’. And ‘Teenage Head’ by the Flaming Groovies.
Jim Dickinson has been involved in a lot of my favourite records. Him, Charlie Freeman and the rest of the Dixie Flyers backed Aretha on her ‘Spirit In The Dark’ record. I think that’s my favourite Aretha record. Today it definitely is.
He played in Panther Burns with Tav Falco. They made some great records. Some of my friends knew Jim. He played on the ‘Give Out But Don’t Give Up’ record that Primal Scream made in Memphis in ’93. Rough Trade released records by his son’s band, the North Mississippi All Stars (as well as Panther Burns records back in the day).
There’s so much more to say and I’m hoping to get something personal from these guys but for now check out this interview that uber fan Joss Hutton did with Jim in 2002;

This main course is a hearty southern dish, marinated in worldly wisdom and good humour, matured slowly in honky-tonks, recording studios and bars the world over. It is accompanied by side dishes of Dewey Phillips, Rolling Stones, Ry Cooder and Bob Dylan, with a hefty slice of Big Star for dessert. (continued….)