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Ragged blues with its heart in the Mississippi; North Mississippi All Stars Flapper and Firkin Cambrain Wharf.

Byline: Martin Longley

Looking around at the motley audience composed of old soldiers and callow striplings, it is evident that the NMA have succeeded in cracking both the hardcore blues and retro rock markets.

Hailing from Tate County, Luther and Cody are the sons of player-producer Jim Dickinson. They handle guitar and drums, with the gargantuan Chris Chew on bass and harmony vocals.

Formed in 1996, the NMA spring from the down-home Fat Possum Records end of the market, their debut album Shake Hands With Shorty drawing heavily on this gut-bucket tradition, featuring songs by Mississippi Fred McDowell, R L Burnside and Junior Kimbrough. Most of these still figure in the live set.

The NMA play rugged blues that owes a debt to late-60s rock, with traces of Hendrix or Creedence Clearwater lying in the chords. Their vocal harmonies are very close in texture to those used by our own Gomez.

Luther uses so many guitars he needs a stage-left roadie to keep passing them over, ensuring they're in tune. He has a neat way of liberally using bottleneck to build up a sliding electricity, then raising said digit, indulging in some darting finger-chording before dropping the glass once more.

The group vocals reached a pitch on Skinny Woman, the jamming went overboard on All Night Long and the tradition was addressed most closely with Sitting On Top Of The World. It all made for a burning sensation.

Martin Longley
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Nov 11, 2000
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