Named after one of their dad’s favorite sayings, and featuring found-object recordings of R.L. Burnside and Otha Turner, you’d expect the Dickinson Brothers’ new North Mississippi Allstars album to be riven with nostalgia. Instead, World Boogie is Coming grabs those batons from the past and simply runs like hell toward a bright future of polyglot, expectation-busting thrills.
Due September 3, 2013 from Songs of the South, World Boogie is Coming was recorded at the Dickinson’s Hernando, Miss.-based Zebra Ranch Studios — but other than that, almost nothing was as before. Guitarist/vocalist Luther tabbed his drumming brother Cody, who’s taken a tandem interest in film making, to work as the project’s ad-hoc producer.
Cody, in turn, brought a typically cinematic approach to things, setting up ambient mics to capture the sounds around them, blending in archival tapes from those local blues legends and inviting an overstuffed studio’s worth of friends and family to join in — among them Burnside’s children Duwayne and Garry, Turner’s granddaughter Otha, Alvin “Youngblood” Hart, Lightnin Malcolm and — in a scorching guest turn on harp — Robert Plant, of Led Zeppelin fame. Longtime bassist Chris Chew rounded out the crew.
Meanwhile, Cody got to let it fly. And so we have tracks like the narcotic blues “Get the Snakes Out of the Woods,” which turns on a spoken-word snippet from R.L. before morphing into the howlingly cool, Funkadelic-flecked “Snake Drive” — which directly recalls Burnside’s “Let Me Baby Ride,” from 1998′s Come On In. It’s that kind of record.
“Turn Up Satan” sizzles with a metal guy’s menace, even while it stays firmly in a modal, shotgun-shack groove. “Goat Meat” inhabits a slinky Big Easy beat, while “I’m Leaving” hustles along like with a lip-smacking city-blues lasciviousness. The title track offers the outsized positivity of a lost Sly Stone track, but embedded in a wild-eyed preacher man’s sermon before the Bourbon Tabernacle Choir. Even obvious opportunities to flirt with cliche, as with a cover of the Muddy Waters favorite “Rollin’ and Tumblin,’” become head-fake moments on World Boogie is Coming. The song’s thunderous, very modern backbeat is quickly subsumed by an otherworldly wah-wah meltdown.
In so doing, the sons of Jim Dickinson — he did everything from play piano on “Wild Horses” with the Rolling Stones to produce Pleased to Meet Me for the Replacements — have continued a family tradition of knee-slapping, genre-bending, don’t-give-a-shit brilliance with World Boogie is Coming. Coming? Hell, it’s already here.