Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Electric Blue Watermelon

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Electric Blue Watermelon

Article excerpt

Electric blue watermelon The North Mississippi Allstars (ATO Records, 2005)

The world of commercial pop music is youth-oriented and globalized, the aim being to synthesize a recording that every 16-year-old on the planet will buy at the same time. But far, far beneath the strip-mall surface of 21st-century pop is a barely-living core of tradition. It's the sound that happened when the kidnapped peoples of West Africa banged into the Anglo-Celtic culture of the American South. The contemporary pop music industry was born in the 1950s and '60s when that sound acquired the global megaphone of electronic media. In most pop music today it's impossible to hear any living connection to that old tradition, rap music being the exception.

Then there are the North Mississippi Allstars--a three-man-band of two white brothers and their African American childhood friend, bassist Chris Chew. The brothers, guitarist Luther and drummer Cody Dickinson, are the sons of the legendary pianist and producer Jim Dickinson who was part of the '60s Memphis folk scene and went on to do session work with the Rolling Stones, among others. …

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