New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers
Stony Plain Records 2020
Review by David Bowling
There are super groups and then there is the little super group that can and did.
Back in 2007; some what under appreciated blues and roots musicians Charlie Musselwhite, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood, and Jimbo Mathis gathered at Jim Dickinson’s ranch for a few days and nights of recording music. They simply sat in a circle and played a couple originals and some classic blues songs while the tapes ran. And so the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers were born, but not for a while.
Jim Dickinson passed away and the tapes sat on the shelf for over a decade. They have now been resurrected and cleaned up and released as Volume 1, which means there is a second volume on the horizon, which given the quality of this release is good news.
The production is impeccable given the primitive nature of the recording sessions. Each instrument is distinct and the songs have a flow from one to the other. It is also presented as a very intimate release but does not intrude on the quality of the music.
Musselwhite is a superior harp player and he demonstrates his skill on “Blues Don’t Worry Me” and “Strange Land,” which are blues shuffles. He plays off Jim Dickinson’s piano melodies.
They are on very solid ground when they turn to older blues tunes. Charley Patton’s “Pony Blues” had great slide guitar by Hart, as does the Mississippi Sheiks “Stop And Listen Blues.” “Come On Down To My House” is presented as a barrelhouse blues piece curtesy of Jim Dickinson. They also transform Hendrix’s “Stone Free.”
The New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers manage to not only create good music but seem to be having fun at the same time. The real good news is there is more to come.