North Mississippi Allstars Shake Hands With Shorty

Growing up as kid brothers in a house with a famed Memphis producer for a dad (Jim Dickinson) and people like R.L. Burnside and Junior Kimbrough for playmates, things could have gone two ways. These kids would either be messed up big-time or would benefit from the associations. They bear their cross with pride and the fact that both Luther Dickinson (guitar) and Cody Dickinson (drums) are supremely talented musicians, regardless of these trappings, haven't hurt. Their statement is one of rural Southern blues, twisted into modern form and served up with a brash, rock attitude. Born of Delta juke joints and hill-country church choirs, this new hybrid honours the ancients with a bold, new sound driven predominantly by Luther's command of the slide guitar and his brother's other-worldly gift of rhythm. Bassist Chris Chew (a Baptist church minister) adds elements of soul and funk as each song whips itself into a trance-like frenzy that often jams into something altogether different than how it began. Solos emerge that sound at once familiar yet original: Allmans, Jon Spencer, Hendrix and Elmore James - whirling together into a rock, jazz and R&B groove that soon vibrates into an extended frenzy. Fred McDowell's Shake 'Em On Down, Burnside's Goin' Down South and Jr. Kimbrough's All Night Long are more than a case of too much too soon from this irreverent crew of too-young musicians, naming their release after a common phrase for urination. It's a clear case of just enough at just the right time. (Universal)