Home Read Classic Album Review: North Mississippi Allstars | 51 Phantom

Classic Album Review: North Mississippi Allstars | 51 Phantom

The Dickinson boys mix greasy hoodoo with gritty choogle & soaring improvisation.


This came out in 2001 – or at least that’s when I got it. Here’s what I said about it back then (with some minor editing):


Anybody who thinks contemporary blues is just a bunch of geeky white boys covering songs by dead Black guys needs to get their hands on this perfectly gawddamn awesome sophomore album from the North Mississippi Allstars.

OK, yes, NMA are mostly white guys — chiefly singer-guitarist Luther Dickinson and his drumming brother Cody, the sons of Memphis musical legend Jim Dickinson. And OK, they do play songs by dead Black guys like Junior Kimbrough and Pops Staples. But it’s the way that they play them — combing the authentically greasy hoodoo of the juke joint with the gritty choogling soul of Southern rock and the soaring improvisations of the jam bands — that puts the Allstars leagues ahead of their 12-bar competitors. Mark my words — give 51 Phantom a spin and you’ll toss that Jonny Lang disc in the trash where it belongs.