North Mississippi Allstars at Oran Mor, Byres Road

Tonight I’m on my own, flying solo! Jimmy Naypals!

John French’s Electric Flour-sifter has a rival. A serious rival …and it comes wrapped around drummer Cody Dickinson’s neck. An electric washboard hooked up to a delay unit and wah pedal. One minute it sounds like a locomotive coming down the track towards you, the next it sounds very like Hawkwind warming up THAT intro to Silver Machine. It must be sixteen years since I last saw the Allstars in Glasgow and, quite curiously, they look younger now than they did back then. Throughout the night, indeed from the first song, they regularly swap instruments for whatever demands that particular song makes. Guitar, bass, drums, a Lowebow and said washboard all get passed around regularly. They all sing and Luther Dickinson is quite the blues guitarist but then again playing with amongst others The Black Crowes, John Hiatt, Robert Randolph and John Medeski you would expect nothing less.

Tonight their backline was seriously compromised. Somewhere around the Borders, Police Scotland had stopped and confiscated some gear from their truck as they had exceeded the maximum axle load. This then resulted in the gig starting late and the support slot having to be jettisoned.

The set is a mixture of standards, Mystery Train, Rollin’& Tumblin’ and self penned songs from their first album right through to the present. Junior Kimbrough and RL Burnside cast a long wonderful shadow over this music. Blues the way I like it as opposed to what Joe Bonamassa ’s selling very successfully on the other side if the tracks

As the gig reaches the end, the band all lift side drums and strap them on. Cody’s now wearing a Mardi Gras mask and they all march (and drum) their way through the audience to sing an extended sing-along version of Snake Drive.
Verdict? Please come back soon and hire a bigger van!


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