Hot on the heels of Fishing with Charlie and Other Selected Readings, his deeply mystical series of spoken word readings of various heroes of vernacular culture, comes Jim Dickinson the hoodoo music man on Jungle Jim and the Voodoo Tiger. This is a fitting part two, given the immediacy and raw soul in music he covers. (Yep, not an original in the bunch -- thank you Jesus, because, as Tav Falco says, "there's too many of them already.") Here are forgotten, truth-telling songs written in the rock, country, soul, blues, gospel and even samba vernaculars -- the beat-conscious languages of people who have often been excluded from the discussion, either by governments, race, class, or record companies -- by non-legends who should be (and are, among their small aesthetic constituencies) like Bob Frank, Terry Fell, Jim Isbell, Shari Paulus, J. Mathus, Eddie Hinton, Collin Wade Monk, Greg Spradlin, Chuck Prophet, Bill Nettles, Luiz Bonfá, and a few others. This is shack-shakin' music, full of deep R&B with Southern soul overtones ("Hadacol Boogie" and "Can't Beat the Kid, Pt. 2"), country boogie ("Rooster Blues" and "Truck Drivin' Man"), honky tonk balladry ("Violin Bums" and "Somewhere Down the Road"), and Brazilian ghetto samba ("Samba de Orfeo"). Dickinson, who plays keyboards and sings, is accompanied by drumming son Cody and guitar-slinging son Luther (with a bit of help from Alvin Youngblood Hart on both "Love Bone" and "Can't Beat the Kid, Pt. 2"), acoustic bassist Amy LaVere, Tommy Burroughs on violin, Mark Sallings on harmonica, Jim Spake on baritone sax, and Jimmy Davis and Reba Russell on backing vocals. Fans of the original Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen will go nuts for this, as will fans of roots music done with excellence (and a certain irreverence for pristine studio procedure), and lovers of cheap beer and whiskey. Actually, anyone drawn to what is truly and gloriously vulgar in working-class culture and who loves music will celebrate this as a classic -- in much the same way we hear the great records of Hinton, Jerry Lee Lewis, and even Dickinson himself (Dixie Fried). Amazing.
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek