Obituaries and tributes to Jim Dickinson

I took a sick day on Monday, so now's my chance to get everyone caught up on the multitude of tributes and obituaries to Memphis music legend Jim Dickinson, who died Saturday at age 67.

Writer Joe Nick Patoski shares the oral history that Dickinson contributed to the Voices of Civil Rights project earlier this decade. It helps to place Dickinson as well as Memphis music in general into the greater narrative of that period in history:

Jim Dickinson makes a passionate, articulate case for Memphis being the greatest music city in modern history. As the home of Elvis Presley, it was for all practical purposes the birthplace of rock n' roll. It is also the rich melting pot where blues, rhythm 'n' blues, and soul, hillbilly, rockabilly, and country & western mixed and blended to create the most American of sounds. To achieve this feat, Memphis musicians like Dickinson, both black and white, defied Jim Crow laws and crossed color lines out of the simple desire to make music. By doing so, they broke down barriers long before the courts or lawmakers got around to changing laws.

The Wall Street Journal's pop-culture blog Speakeasy posts a clip from the 1970 Rolling Stones documentary "Gimme Shelter" in which the band listens to a freshly recorded "Wild Horses," on which Dickinson played barrelhouse-style piano. You can see Dickinson kicking back on the couch next to Keith Richards.

Paste Magazine's short write-up merely covers the bases, but it does include a nice picture of Dickinson with what appears to be Jack Yarber in the background.

Broadcast Newsroom carries a testimonial from John Fry, founder of Ardent Studios, where Dickinson was a major creative force. Jody Stephens, the Ardent manager and Big Star drummer, says Dickinson "defined independent spirit in music."

The New York Yankees-focused blog Fack Youk offers an insightful recap of Dickinson's career and influence, noting that" you may never have heard of Jim Dickinson, but chances are you've heard Jim Dickinson." The post includes a video of Dickinson's roots-blues project Mud Boy and the Neutrons, which also featured Sid Selvidge and son Luther Dickinson.

UPDATE: David Hoekstra of the Chicago Sun-Times empties the notebook from his past conversations with Dickinson, who spent some of his boyhood in Chicago:

Our two-hour conversation included Sun Records founder Sam Phillips, Bob Dylan, Memphis wrestler Jerry Lawler (a faded photo of the wrestler hung above Mr. Dickinson's sofa), Oxford writer-fireman Larry Brown and Chicago ragtime player Two Ton Baker.


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Deputy Online News Editor Mark Richens takes you through all the news about Memphis from sources outside the Mid-South.