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North Mississippi All-Stars

Since pointy-headed son of Dixie Trent Lott was forced to turn in his bullwhip last week (reduced to a lowly Senator in a Grand Dragon costume), the Mississippi tourism board might consider letting their prize goofball moonlight as a spokesperson for the state's regional delicacy: largemouth bass. The Magnolia State would do better to endorse a pleasing homegrown export like the North Mississippi All-Stars, who perform Monday, December 30, at the Fox Theatre. A Memphis-marinated trio featuring Luther and Cody Dickinson (the musical progeny of legendary Muscle Shoals producer Jim Dickinson on guitar and drums, respectively), and bassist Chris Chew, the All-Stars hold a deep allegiance to their Delta blues forefathers while remaining open to experimentation. Inspired by the time-honored, hill-country standards of R.L. Burnside and Mississippi Fred McDowell (whose steak-bone slide playing was preserved for the Smithsonian in the late '50s by folklorist Alan Lomax), the All-Stars bring looped bottleneck beats, dub-reggae and electric washboard into the mix for a decidedly post-punk brand of thrash-blues-boogie. Hip-hooray, as the hippies all say. And while they indeed run the risk of offending purists and snobs alike, there are enough juke-joint flavorings, call-and-response vocals and gospel overtones on hand to delight the lion's share of folks who appreciate a little funk in their gutbucket. Only a musical segregationist could argue otherwise.

 
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