There are super groups and then there is the little super group that can and did.

Back in 2007: somewhat underappreciated blues and roots musicians Charlie Musselwhite, Luther Dickinson, Cody Dickinson, Alvin Youngblood Hart, and Jimbo Mathis gathered at Jim Dickinson's ranch for a few days and nights of recording music. They simply sat in a circle and played a couple originals and some classic blues songs while the tapes ran. And so the New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers was born, but not for a while.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Jim Dickinson passed away and the tapes sat on the shelf for over a decade. They have now been resurrected and cleaned up and released as Volume 1, which means there is a second volume on the horizon. Given the quality of this release, that’s good news. 

The production is impeccable despite the primitive nature of the recording sessions. Each instrument is distinct and the songs have a flow from one to the other. It is also presented as a very intimate release, but that does not intrude on the quality of the music.

Musselwhite is a superior harp player and he demonstrates his skill on "Blues Don't Worry Me" and "Strange Land," which are blues shuffles. These songs find him playing off Jim Dickinson's piano melodies.

The group is on very solid ground when they turn to older blues tunes. Charley Patton's "Pony Blues" has great slide guitar by Hart, as does the Mississippi Sheiks "Stop And Listen Blues." "Come On Down To My House" is presented as a barrelhouse blues piece curtesy of Jim Dickinson. They also transform Hendrix's "Stone Free."

The New Moon Jelly Roll Freedom Rockers manages to not only create good music but they seem to be having fun at the same time. The real good news is there is more to come.

Rating: B+

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