North Mississippi Allstars Electric Blue Watermelon

After the disappointing blues rock clichés of 2003’s Polaris, the Dickinson brothers have wisely recalled the services of their father, Memphis legend Jim Dickinson, to put them back on the right track. Electric Blue Watermelon sounds the alarm with a killer version of Charley Patton’s "Mississippi Boll Weevil” off the top and doesn’t look back. Of all the new, young white boys playing the blues, the Dickinsons (anchored by bassist Chris Chew) have the most inherent credentials, and here on their fourth album they finally prove it. Luther Dickinson’s slide playing is thick and melodic, and overall the album evokes a good-time vibe of a Sunday afternoon Southern barbecue, with just enough recklessness to suggest that the party will move to the local juke joint after the sun goes down. Guests Lucinda Williams, Robert Randolph and Al Kapone (freestylin’ on "Stompin’ My Foot”) add some inventive touches, but mostly it’s just a pleasure to hear the All-Stars giving it their all in their natural environment. (ATO)