Sunday, January 22, 2006
Jim Dickinson and the Catmando Quartet: Monkey Man/Shake 'em On Down (Southtown)
Whoo-whee, we got a wild one here. Jim Dickinson is known as a Memphis legend, having worked with a wide variety of people from Big Star to The Cramps, in addition to solo material for Atlantic and other labels. From what I gather, he's a walking history of Memphis music. This particular item, from 1965, is one of Dickinson's earliest single efforts (his second) and it's as smokin' a two-sider as you can get yer dirty mitts on.
We start off with "Monkey Man," which starts off with a call-and-response of whoah-whoah-whoah-whoah-whoah's before we get down to business. No, wait, I take that back. This song starts cookin' right as the stylus hits the groove, as we get a backing of ultra-out-of-control farfisa organ and super-speed drums. Not to forget some mean guitar work, too. And Dickinson's shrieking, way-out-there vocalizing. There! The cake is iced and complete and ready to indulge in.
While "Monkey Man" has more of a garage feel, "Shake 'Em On Down" goes for the rockabilly side of town. On this one, Jimmy's got his straight razor and his .44 gun and he'll cut you if you stay and shoot you if you run. "Gonna shake 'em on down, gonna shake 'em on down, gonna shake 'em on down." Another great guitar solo and lots of attitude make up the recipe for this double-barrelled atomic cocktail.
I'm not sure how easy Dickinson's recordings are to find. I do know his 45 with Flash and the Memphis Casuals from 1966 is on my list of Holy Grails of record collecting. (That means, it probably costs as much as it would take to put a kid through college for a semester.) But in the meantime, if you like your rock 'n' roll with a high potent of wildness, then definitely scope this one out. It will be worth it.