Dinosaurs Run In Circles – James Luther Dickinson
The timing couldn’t be more perfect. I’m listening to the Replacements’ Pleased To Meet Me and thinking, ‘Bless producer Jim Dickinson for being a part of this classic.’ Then, since I was in a giving mood I threw in a few more thanks in regards to his offspring — NMAS brothers Cody and Luther. Now, after five decades in the music biz that included stints as a producer (Big Star, Ry Cooder, Mudhoney) and as a session man (Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan), he now puts out Dinosaurs Run In Circles, his third solo release in as many years. What the album lacks in immediacy it makes up in intimacy and grace. The credits list Dickinson and David Less as co-producers but the recording sounds more like Less simply hit ‘record’ and Dickinson gave a final thumb up or down to a take. That’s not meant to take away the efforts that went into making this but its laidback vibe, which includes pre and post song banter, give the proceedings such an offhand demeanor that it nearly masks the historic tunes Dickinson and company embrace as well as the Southern roots grounding their presentation.
On an album consisting of covers that date back to the swing era and jump blues, the simplicity of piano, bass and drums brings an added depth when tackling Louis Jordan ("Early in the Morning"), Ray Charles ("Hard Times (No One Knows Better Than I")) and Disney ("When You Wish Upon A Star") among others. A debt of gratitude goes to Dickinson’s mother whose appreciation for such tunes resulted in sheet music being available and repeatedly played in the household where the musician/producer grew up. In regards to "Wish Upon A Star," you literally hear its formation from nothing. Initially, Dickinson grasps for lyrics and notes, but, the momentary disorganization soon transforms into its recognizable state as a transfixing lullaby of hope and beyond that as the soundtrack to the last beer-soaked dance of the night.