Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Album Review: North Mississippi Allstars - Up and Rolling

North Mississippi Allstars
Up and Rolling
***and1/2 out of *****

The newest from the North Mississippi Allstars continues their string of solid releases, incorporating a host of friends and new sounds into brothers Cody and Luther Dickinson ever evolving blues playing. For this effort the core band has expanded to include Carl Dufrene on bass, Sharisse Norman on vocals and Sharde Thomas on fife and vocals.

That new fife and drum hill country blues sound comes at you right from the gate with "Call That Gone" as the band gets loose around Thomas' fife and Cody's big bass drum while Luther's lead lines soar. The more laid back hippie themed title track lets the band stretch out before with languid fluidity but the core group is just as happy to get down and dirty like on "Bump That Mother" which attacks Mississippi racist history and state flag with Roosevelt Collier helping out on steel guitar.

Guest stars are a big part of Up and Rolling as the boogie band bring on-board some grade A level friends starting with none other than Mavis Staples. Staples joins for the gospel grooving of "What You Gonna Do?" which also features Tierinii Jackson and Tikyra Jackson (of Southern Avenue) on vocals and Rev Charles Hodges gorgeous B3 organ work. 

Ace guitar slingers Duane Betts and Jason Isbell (who also sings) turn up for the heavy blues of "Mean Old World" which kicks up to an Allman Brothers southern rave to close; the tune feels as if it could go on forever and hopefully all the players get after live in the future. Compatriot Cedric Burnside joins for the rolling hill country blues of "Out on the Road" and the more Sunday orientated "Take My Hand, Precious Lord".

The same complaints remain for the band, they naturally create more of a "vibe" than a true must hear album (reminiscent of World Boogie Is Coming) and the studio tracks tend to run on to long, but both issues are par for the course when it comes to a band who is made for the live stage.

On this go around however Norman and Thomas vocals really add a new dimension to the bands sound, a throw away tune like "Drunk Outdoors" evolves into a funky duet, bringing smiles and hip shaking party vibes to the group. As the North Mississippi Allstars continue to do their thing in their own way, with help from great friends, they continue to exceed expectations and put out music that makes you think and dance, can't ask for much more during these times.
RtBE has seen and reviewed NMAS multiple times in the past and it is good to see them still getting after it at this high level and incorparting new people into the group. Support the band, buy the album, stream it on bandcamp or below and peep some video:

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