Album Review: North Mississippi Allstars - "World Boogie Is Coming"
North Mississippi Allstars
World Boogie Is Coming
Songs of the South Records
When the North Mississippi Allstars channel their blues forefathers, they go straight for the horse’s mouth. On “Get the Snakes out the Woods,” R.L. Burnside himself shares unintelligible reptilian advice about needing to, well … get the snakes out o’ the woods. This bleeds into the next track, “Snake Drive,” where Luther Dickinson busts into raunchy slide licks and has some fun with the lyrics and unmistakable rhythms from Burnside’s 1992 track “Let My Baby Ride.” (Burnside’s sons Duwayne and Garry also make appearances on the album.)
There’s a lot of talk about snakes on World Boogie, but Luther, drummer brother Cody, and bassist Chris Chew aren’t just whistling Dixie down on the bayou. This is the soundtrack to Mississippi: The album was made to accompany Cody Dickinson’s films on modern life in the South. If you’re wondering what that sounds like in guitar-speak, here’s a shortlist: snarl, slide, locomotive, primal, all with a surprisingly modern edge. It’s quite an onion to peel. “Shimmy” has bluesy acoustic fingerpicking and an old-timey military march feel, complete with fife playing and a drummer-boy promenade. And on “My Babe,” vocalist Sharde Thomas blends a new-school twist into the tried-and-true with her bright, dewy call-and-response verses. Luther’s smooth-as-mud slow-burn on World Boogie postures nicely with the grit-caked ancestors he’s channeling, and these exciting contrasts make the North Mississippi Allstars an interesting band to watch. Regardless of what torches are being exchanged, this collection is using them to light fires under asses. —Tessa Jeffers
Must-hear tracks: “Snake Drive,” “Rollin 'n Tumblin”