"I'm not the best piano player in the world, but I've got damn good taste"
August 15, 2009 4:59 PM   Subscribe

Memphis music legend Jim Dickinson has died. Dickinson's full credits are as impressive a resume as you'll find over the past 40 years: session player for many, including the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, and Aretha Franklin. Producer for albums by Jason and the Scorchers, Big Star, the Replacements, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, and Mudhoney. Among his survivors are sons Cody and Luther of the North Mississippi All-Stars. His death comes one week after a benefit show in his honor headlined by John Hiatt. R.I.P., Jim.
posted by Ufez Jones (25 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

Oh, wrong Dickinson.

posted by Christ, what an asshole at 5:07 PM on August 15, 2009

Oh man. I first really discovered him through the Replacements. He became one of the names that, if I saw he was the producer of something, I wanted to hear it.
posted by padraigin at 5:17 PM on August 15, 2009

Oh man. Jason & the Scorchers. Slobberbone. Dash Rip Rock. Alex Chilton. Flat Duo Jets. Lucero. He worked with so many bands that I love. Damn. I am sad.

posted by BitterOldPunk at 5:24 PM on August 15, 2009

A legend indeed.

posted by punchdrunkhistory at 5:40 PM on August 15, 2009

Dude played piano with The Flamin' Groovies and The True Believers. Double cool.
posted by 3.2.3 at 5:44 PM on August 15, 2009

Damn. The Big Star album he produced has been a favorite of mine for years and I just listened to the Replacements Pleased To Meet Me earlier today.
posted by cropshy at 5:48 PM on August 15, 2009

I have a lot to thank the man for.

posted by Sailormom at 6:07 PM on August 15, 2009

I once interviewed Jim Dickinson on the phone, years ago. He was the very model of the polite Southern Gentleman, and quite the raconteur.

Vaya con dios, buddy.
posted by Rangeboy at 6:09 PM on August 15, 2009

Damn; he was one of the greats in the Mid-South.

posted by Halloween Jack at 6:16 PM on August 15, 2009

posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:16 PM on August 15, 2009

Thanks for the post, Ufez Jones. I heard about Dickinson's passing earlier today (someone had posted a facebook link), and thought about doing an obit post here at MeFi. Didnd't get around to it, and I'm glad you made this one.

Rest in peace, Jim.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:24 PM on August 15, 2009

posted by Smart Dalek at 6:34 PM on August 15, 2009

RIP, Jim Dickinson.

I wonder who the next series of "superproducers" will be. Gordy, Albini, Rubin, Dickinson, Froom- whether you like them or not, they have a sound. Now that recording equipment and technology are more open and accessible, I wonder if that era of recording history is over. Will there be a recognizable "producer sound" in the future?

Dickinson's health woes began following a high-profile performance with Elvis Costello at the Beale Street Music Festival in May.

Correlation is not causation, right?

posted by elmer benson at 6:36 PM on August 15, 2009

Here's a song you may have heard that Jim Dickinson played piano on. Here's a song he produced in 1987, which was about a guy in this band, which he produced in 1971. Here's Amy LaVere, his last great production job. Here's director Craig Brewer reading Dickinson's production manifesto. And here's the man himself playing with his jug band, Mudboy and the Neutrons.

posted by vibrotronica at 6:42 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

I knew he did a lot over a long stretch of time, but that list of what he worked on is freaking incredible. Joe King Carrasco's "Bandido Rock" is a fabulous sounding record - I never noticed he produced it. Although, to be honest, I don't think I knew who Jim Dickinson was when I heard that album same can be said for the mighty Jason and the Scorchers EP.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:47 PM on August 15, 2009

Regarding Big Star's "Kangaroo":

"Alex went into the studio late one night with [his girlfriend] Lesa as the engineer, and recorded the vocal and the twelve-string guitar on the same track, so there was no possibility of seperation. Alex defiantly played it for me the next morning and said something to the effect of 'if you want to be a producer, do something with this.' I did the Mellotron part first, and when I got into the feedback, Alex kind of lost his attitude and started participating again. He said later, during the forty-five minutes it took us to do that song, that was the first place he ever trusted me, and he felt like it took his career ten years forward into the future. Anyway, "Kangaroo" is really where the record started to work." - Jim Dickinson
posted by anazgnos at 7:14 PM on August 15, 2009 [1 favorite]

posted by raysmj at 7:43 PM on August 15, 2009

posted by DaddyNewt at 7:46 PM on August 15, 2009

posted by rdone at 10:01 PM on August 15, 2009

Anybody that was a friend of Screamin' Jay Hawkins, was a friend of mine.
posted by paulsc at 10:06 PM on August 15, 2009

The man's own stuff ought to be better known - Dixie Fried is one of the great unheard albums.

posted by daveje at 1:35 AM on August 16, 2009

posted by Tacodog at 2:04 AM on August 16, 2009

posted by Bron at 9:12 PM on August 16, 2009

posted by El Brendano at 2:28 AM on August 17, 2009

I got to know Jim Dickinson through his sons who are members of the North Mississippi All-Stars. Sort of backwards, but worth finding out about their dad. He was a music industry legend, yet hardly known to the average fan. The Lefsetz Blog had an article about Dickinson.

Lefsetz' article is worth the read and if you are interested in the music industry worth following. He is a little over the top with his hatred of the big labels, but he has a good feel for music new and old.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 6:57 PM on August 17, 2009

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