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19 Reviews
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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Tribute To Their Father
Being a long time North Mississippi All-Star fan, I have been looking forward to hearing Keys To the Kingdom. This being the first LP from Luther and Cody since the death of their father, Jim Dickinson, I knew this would be an emotional album with heart and soul... and it is. In fact, Mr. Dickinson is listed as the album's producer... and it is a fitting tribute as it...
Published on February 1, 2011 by K C

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Allstars unplugged is unsatisfying
I am a big Allstars fan, as well as a hill country fan of Kimbrough, Payton, Burnside et all. This cd is not what I expected from the Allstars, who normally are great. The vocals seem loud for the muted instruments. Its not completely unplugged but if you expected the electric boogie you usually get from them this may come as a disappointment. Not to say an acoustic cd...
Published on April 1, 2011 by G-man


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23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fitting Tribute To Their Father, February 1, 2011
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This review is from: Keys To The Kingdom (MP3 Music)
Being a long time North Mississippi All-Star fan, I have been looking forward to hearing Keys To the Kingdom. This being the first LP from Luther and Cody since the death of their father, Jim Dickinson, I knew this would be an emotional album with heart and soul... and it is. In fact, Mr. Dickinson is listed as the album's producer... and it is a fitting tribute as it reflects much of his style.

The album starts stomping with the groovin' beat oriented "This A'Way". It is not a sizzling rocker, but more like a funky mid-tempo barrel house blues with a great guitar solo in the middle. The next song, "Jumpercable Blues" has a more electric tone with the same great slide guitar work reminiscent of NMAS numbers of old. A true highlight of the album has Mavis Staples helping out on "The Meeting", which has a great lead up to another swampy sounding and stomping blues number. Having almost a gospel tinged feel, this song has Mavis trading lines with Luther and contains another great guitar solo.

After starting the album with a rollicking sound, "How I Wish My Train Would Come" and "Hear the Hills" have a more laid back tone that lets you know how the guys are feeling after the loss of their dad. The lyrics say it all, as they sing about trouble being their only friend and the cold rain falling down. "Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again" could have been taken from one of Jim's old albums, and the old 'is it electric or acoustic' type of NMAS groove fits nicely with the honky tonk sound. More of Luther's slide work is highlighted on "Let It Roll" before going back to a slower song full of more lyrical tributes to their dad, as "Ain't No Grave" reveals some more thoughtful lyrics about death and dying. It is not a slow dirge by any means though. It is more of a laid back song about how he hopes to "be as brave as he was on judgment day". Ry Cooder's slide-guitar playing behind all the sentimental lyrics is also truly remarkable, and expresses as much as the singing does.

After taking a break from the slower but grooving numbers, an acoustic stomp with more swampy blues is brought back again with Alvin Youngblood Hart helping out on `Ol Cannonball". The interplay between Cody's drumming and the acoustic instruments is nicely done with my only wish being that the song was longer. It made me want more. After holding it back some, the attitude returns again with a harder tinged "New Orleans Walking Dead". Alvin Youngblood Hart joins in again and absolutely wails on the harmonica as the guys crash up and down and all around the beats. This is a great song with a heavier tone. "Jellyrollin' All Over Heaven" is a fitting way to end this album as it could have easily been written and played by their father. It is a bouncy and happy jam that will fit nicely in their live concerts for years to come. They sing about the sisters shaking that heavenly thing. I can see their dad smiling down on them as they play this song. Fittingly, it fades away with solo piano playing in the distance.

Overall, this album was just as I expected it to be... a great tribute to Jim Dickinson. It is not the crazy electric jams found on Shake Hands with Shorty, or even the more recent Hernando. This is a mid-tempo groove album that is steeped in emotion and you can feel it. A great way to start the bluesier scene in 2011 and one that I will be listening to for a long time. If you enjoy the North Mississippi All-Stars, this is an album you need to hear. Four and ˝ Stars.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Allstars unplugged is unsatisfying, April 1, 2011
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This review is from: Keys to the Kingdom (Audio CD)
I am a big Allstars fan, as well as a hill country fan of Kimbrough, Payton, Burnside et all. This cd is not what I expected from the Allstars, who normally are great. The vocals seem loud for the muted instruments. Its not completely unplugged but if you expected the electric boogie you usually get from them this may come as a disappointment. Not to say an acoustic cd with a lot of tasty slide wouldn't work- it probably would,
Keep on keepin' on brothers.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars My Kind Of Blues, February 23, 2011
This review is from: Keys to the Kingdom (Audio CD)
I had limited exposure to North Mississippi AllStars before I bought this cd, but I can honestly say I like this style here. I hope they stick to it personally, it fits them well. Much more so than trying blend so many styles together like their previous two studio releases. If you're into that old school down south blues I highly recommend this disc.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hands down my favorite., August 14, 2013
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This review is from: Keys To The Kingdom (MP3 Music)
This album is hands down my favorite North Missippi* All Stars collection. Jellyrollin all over heaven is great. Get it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great overall album, July 14, 2013
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This review is from: Keys to the Kingdom (Audio CD)
Another great album. An album full of wonderful blues-folk songs with a nice version of Bob Dylan's Stuck Inside of Mobile With the Memphis Blues Again.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice blend of southern rock, hard rock and jazz, June 26, 2013
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This review is from: Keys To The Kingdom (MP3 Music)
I listen to a lot of freeform radio while I work which is where you are most likely to hear bands like the North Mississippi Allstars. The track I originally heard was "Jellyrollin' All Over Heaven" which immediately made me stop what I was doing and check out the other tracks. I wasn't disappointed.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great, January 3, 2013
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This review is from: Keys To The Kingdom (MP3 Music)
Wasn't familiar with NMA but heard on Internet radio and bought this. Had no idea music this good was being produced.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great cd, October 28, 2011
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This review is from: Keys to the Kingdom (Audio CD)
I first heard the song "Hear The Hills" while I was driving to pick out the headstone for my favorite client that had died a few days before. I simply HAD to purchase this cd! I will always remember this guy with a smile & chuckle every time I hear this heartfelt song. I love this cd and recommend it to anyone that is already a fan of the North Mississippi Allstars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING, September 23, 2011
This review is from: Keys to the Kingdom (Audio CD)
A wonderful mix of heartfelt blues, without being sappy. A celebration of the full circle of life, without being preachy. Deep without being pretentious. Even without knowing the backstory, this album brings out goosebumps, chills and a tear to the eye -- and I mean that in a good way. I've heard several of these songs live as well, which adds additional goosebumps. If you have never seen the North Mississippi Allstars live, I recommend that you do. Be it a club late at night, or under the summer sun at a music festival with the whole family, it is always worth the effort. But back to this album...Great Stuff!! For the guitar playing, the lyrics, the driving drums (always solid, never too much -- I hate too much drums) and the ever-present bass playing by Chris Chew. I would take this album with me if I were going to be stuck on a desert island. Seriously, but it! :)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars They Are Great!!! Enough Said?, June 7, 2011
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Sharon Garbisch (BROWNSDALE, MN, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Keys to the Kingdom (Audio CD)
we saw the boys from Keys to the Kingdom live opening for Robert Plant in Minneapolis.They were spectacular!! The music is down home mountain music and blue grass. They are so talented and I bet as little boys they never thought they would ever be the opening act for Robert Plant!! That alone should tell how good they are!! Buy their music!
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Keys to the Kingdom
Keys to the Kingdom by North Mississippi Allstars (Audio CD - 2011)
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