Book Review: I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone

Jim Dickinson

I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone

The death of James Luther Dickinson (1941-2009) didn't quite close the book on one of rock & roll's contradictory geniuses. Whether serving as pianist on the Rolling Stones' "Wild Horses" or producing recorded masterpieces including Big Star's Third and the Replacements' Pleased to Meet Me, Dickinson celebrated craftsmanship, artistry, and primitivism. It cost him, too, as with beautiful failure the Dixie Flyers, the Memphis-bred rhythm section he created at Atlantic Records head Jerry Wexler's commission for Miami's Criteria Studios, the cushiest job Dickinson ever held. Yet, such petty trifles never dimmed his spirit. Born to a Tennessean family successful enough to have a black groundskeeper, Dickinson writes of his musical education at the hands of said yardman – and Elvis Presley – as well as his tenure at Waco's Baylor University, where he discovered theatre, beat verse, and participated in some of the earliest LSD clinical trials. All of it becomes a byproduct of his youthful discovery of the Memphis Jug Band playing in an alley, which birthed his lifelong yen for "wild music that seemed about to spin out of control." Named for his self-generated epitaph and detailing his life up to 1972 in the literary equivalent of his grinning trickster drawl, I'm Just Dead, I'm Not Gone details an essential chapter of rock & roll history.


I’m Just Dead, I’m Not Gone

by Jim Dickinson
University Press of Mississippi, 267 pp., $25
READ MORE
More Jim Dickinson
The Ballad of Big Star
The Ballad of Big Star
A work-in-progress premiere and supergroup performance pay tribute to the cult band

Leah Churner, March 9, 2012

Big Star Myths
Big Star Myths
Dispelling Big Star myths

Kent H. Benjamin, March 19, 2004

More Music Reviews
Gift Guide: Rock & Roll Books
Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys
Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys

Marc Savlov, Dec. 9, 2016

Gift Guide: Rock & Roll Books
Hank: The Short Life & Long Country Road of Hank Williams
Hank: The Short Life & Long Country Road of Hank Williams

Jim Caligiuri, Dec. 9, 2016

More by Tim Stegall
Texas Platters
Quin Galavis
The Battery Line (Record Review)

June 23, 2017

Spoon's <i>Hot Thoughts</i> Remodels the Locals' Art-Funk
Spoon's Hot Thoughts Remodels the Locals' Art-Funk
Britt Daniel and Jim Eno talk about the rise of R&B in the band's sound

June 2, 2017

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Jim Dickinson, Rolling Stones, Replacements, Big Star, North Mississippi Allstars

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

Updates for SXSW 2017

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)