Luther Dickinson, Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues (New West Records)

Luther Dickinson, Rock ‘n’ Roll Blues, album cover, OffBeat Magazine, November 2014

Guitarist and singer Luther Dickinson’s new solo record has a retrospective aura to it. Both musically and lyrically, Dickinson is looking back at his past exploits and reflecting upon them.

The sound of the record is simple and a little raw. It’s all acoustic guitar, upright bass, drums, and some fife. It is more in the vein of his South Memphis String Band or Sons of Mudboy (dedication to his father, Jim Dickinson) rather than the heavy, loud sound of the North Mississippi All Stars.

There are many of his influences: blues, folk, fife and drum, and even some punk.

He updates the old blues metaphors of delivery people and back-door men with “Yard Man” and adds future living legend Sharde Thomas (Otha Turner’s granddaughter) on fife for “Mojo, Mojo.”

Much of the lyrics reflect his experiences as a young musician and ruffian with road tales of playing dives and avoiding the police in the songs “Vandalize” and “Stone’s Throw.”

At points, Dickinson is almost trying too hard biting off the ends of words or pushing his voice higher than what seems natural.

However, these are minor distractions.

What sticks with the listener is the quality of the music and the truth and sincerity behind it, both of which Dickinson has in great abundance.