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North Mississippi Allstars

Keys to the Kingdom (Songs of the South)

Reviewed by Jim Caligiuri, Fri., March 18, 2011

SXSW Records

North Mississippi Allstars

Keys to the Kingdom (Songs of the South)

After the 2009 death of Jim Dickinson, his sons Cody and Luther, who with Chris Chew comprise the North Mississippi Allstars, and some celebrated friends held a wake of sorts in the family's recording studio, Zebra Ranch. Keys to the Kingdom not only celebrates the Memphis, Tenn., music legend's life, but also that of Luther's newborn child. More song-oriented than some past Allstars efforts and with an emphasis on country and gospel rather than the trio's gut-bucket blues, it wallops undeniable warmth even when the material itself veers from the Dickinsons' natural strengths. Mavis Staples' shaking soul "The Meeting," with Ry Cooder, Spooner Oldham, and Alvin Youngblood Hart taking guest turns throughout, has its own entrée to this Kingdom, but Dylan's "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again," done as a country blues at Jim's suggestion, is less successful. (Thu., 6pm, Stubb's; Fri., 11pm, Momo's)

**

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