Local Beat

By Andria Lisle
The Memphis Flyer

October 1, 2004

Husband-and-wife team Jim and Mary Lindsay Dickinson have joined forces for a CD benefiting the Friends for Our Riverfront group. Save Our Riverfront! features 10 tracks, including Reba Russell's incendiary "Gonna Move to Mississippi," Susan Marshall's breathtaking "October Song," and Sid Selvidge's sentimental "Miss the Mississippi and You." Of course, the Dickinsons' own family -- in the form of a solo offering from Jim, sons Luther and Cody's North Mississippi Allstars, and Mudboy & the Neutrons -- also made hefty contributions.

"It all started last February, when John Pritchard and Hite McLean wrote 'Save Our View,'" Mary Lindsay Dickinson, the project's compiler, explains. "Virginia, Hite's wife [a descendent of John Overton, who originally owned the riverfront property, and president of the Friends group] came to me and asked, 'Do you suppose we could make a tape?' We talked to Jack Holder at Sounds Unreel, and he said he'd donate his studio.

"People bent over backward to help," Mary Lindsay Dickinson says. "All of the artists donated their money and time by giving us their master tapes. Even the man at the manufacturing plant donated part of the printing cost. The fat cats are only interested in making money, but we want to save the land."

Save Our Riverfront! is available at area stores and via the Dickinsons' Web site, ZebraRanch.com.

Copyright 2004 The Memphis Flyer, All Rights Reserved.

Benefit disc fights bluff plan:
Record produced to draw attention to Downtown development battle

By Bill Ellis
The Commercial Appeal

October 1, 2004

In the heated battle over our riverfront, local musicians have chimed in (and one guess as to what side they take).

"Megacorp Blues" is the last song, in fact, you'll find on Save Our Riverfront!, a new benefit album that champions public space over private development for a prime section of Downtown bluff.

Compiled by Mary Lindsay Dickinson, the independently made disc aims to draw further attention to the debate concerning the four-block promenade west of Front Street, property that was set aside for public use by the city's founders. The Memphis City Council approved in May plans by the Riverfront Development Corp. to pursue residential and commercial restructuring of the area. Rival organization Friends for Our Riverfront, which includes heirs of the founding fathers on its board, would like to see the land kept public and scenic.

"The whole thing is just Memphians rising up to try and keep something where it belongs -- in public hands," says Dickinson, wife of famed producer/musician Jim Dickinson, who wrote the record's pointed liner notes and shows up on several tracks.

Dickinson said she got the idea to do an album after hearing the buzz-provoking results of "Save Our View," a song co-written by Hite McLean, husband of Friends president Virginia Overton McLean. It leads the 10-track "boon river anthology."

To pull off the project, folks came out in high philanthropic style, volunteering their efforts, from studio use and art design to reduced mastering rates and, of course, the music itself, much of which has appeared on record before.

"Like it says on the CD, 'Professional Services Donated,' and to me that sums up what we're trying to get over to people," says Dickinson. "We have an ideal and we're willing to put our pocketbooks and our money where our mouth is."

Beyond its noble pull, Save Our Riverfront! also holds up as a listening experience with many a finely paced track, from Sid Selvidge's gentle reading of "Miss the Mississippi and You" and Bob Frank's nostalgic "Since the Midway Came to Town" to the country-rock original "Running in Circles" by former Riverbluff Clan members Jimmy Davis and Tommy Burroughs and Reba Russell's indicting "Gonna Move to Mississippi."

Susan Marshall gets the golden sunset award for her atmospheric vocalise, "October Song," written with Afghan Whigs pal Greg Dulli. And in perhaps the most unexpected selection, Cybill Shepherd duets with the late Phineas Newborn Jr. on a jazzy, lazy river go at "My Ship" (from her late '70s outing Vanilla).

As you might expect, the Dickinsonian stamp can be felt throughout, giving the album an extended family feel. Jim clocks in as both producer and performer, notably on a rip-roaring take of Eddie Bond's "Rockin' Daddy," while his sons in the North Mississippi Allstars electrify Fred McDowell on "Brooks Run to the Ocean." Best of all, Mudboy & the Neutrons close with their heavenly howl of a cover in "Power to the People."

"I just thought it might make somebody mad," says Jim of the tune choice. "It's as pertinent now as it ever was."

After the manufacturing cost of pressing 1,000 copies is met, proceeds from Save Our Riverfront! will go to Friends for Our Riverfront, according to Mary Lindsay Dickinson. The CD is available in select stores locally; you can also order it at zebraranch.com.

Look for a CD release party by month's end.

Copyright 2004 The Commercial Appeal, All Rights Reserved.

[ HOME ]