Review: Hill Country Revue – Make A Move

Posted on: Thursday, Aug 27, 2009


“Make A Move”

(Razor & Tie: 7930183024-2)

Here’s a great new band from North Mississippi Allstars members Cody Dickinson and Chris Chew – while Luther Dickinson is working with The Black Crowes his fellow band mates have launched Hill Country Revue – with this debut delivering ten tracks that cross over from the North Mississippi hill country blues to the Southern rock stylings of the legendary Allman Brothers Band, giving them both a modern feel.

Many of the songs are written by Garry Burnside, the youngest of blues legend RL Burnside’s 14 children, with another brother, Duwayne, also contributing some guitar to the album. Cody Dickinson steps from behind his drum kit to play guitar, washboard, piano and sing – with the rest of the band, comprising the afore-mentioned Chris Chew on bass, Daniel Robert Coburn (harmonica), Kirk Smithhart (guitar) and Edward ‘Hot’ Cleveland (drums).

The opening cut is RL Burnside and Kenny Brown’s “Alice Mae”, which is basically a snapshot of what this album is about – an opening guitar blast, followed by some biting guitar leads and fierce harmonica from Daniel Robert Coburn, followed by their theme song/anthem, “Hill Country Revue” – which tells you that the boys are coming to rock your town – more tough guitar and the driving rhythm section. Garry Burnside’s “Dirty Shirt” is an album standout, lots more wailing guitars and harmonica – fine stuff indeed.

“You Can Make It” is pure Allman Brothers Band, with lovely twin guitars and that gently rocking “Eat A Peach” country feel; before the band get tough and funky on “Let Me Love You” . . . with the riff recalling the Rolling Stones “Miss You”. The band return to the Hill Country for the dark, rolling blues of “Let’s Talk About Me And You” – more standout harmonica work here.

Elsewhere the boys dip into the RL Burnside back-catalogue for the grinding blues of “Georgia Women”, with Kirk Smithhart’s slide work to the fore on “Highway Blues” and get into top gear on the excellent “Ramblin’”, with the album closer being the funky blues of “Growing Up In Mississippi” . . . again from the pen of Garry Burnside, with lashings of fine guitar again.

Add Hill Country Revue to those bands taking a modern outlook to the blues, but still honouring its past and rich heritage . . . a fine way to pass 45 minutes and as the band say themselves “It’s the music we grew up on and our goal is to bring a fresh take to it. We play the blues of the Mississippi hill country as though it’s been dosed with Viagra” . . . . indeed!


Blues In The North West would like to dedicate this review to the memory of legendary producer and musician, Jim Dickinson, father of Luther and Cody Dickinson, and the man who produced and played with the likes of the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, The Replacements and Big Star.

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