Jim Dickinson

Jim Dickinson was a musician, producer, and writer based in Memphis. A lifelong curator and steward of American music until his death in 2009, he fronted the band Mud Boy & the Neutrons and contributed to albums by Sleepy John Estes, Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Albert King, Big Star, the Replacements, and many others. His essay in this issue was adapted from his memoir The Search for Blind Lemon.
April 20, 2015

I don’t know when I first heard the music in my head. I don’t remember not hearing it. Sometimes in the morning it would be the first thing I heard, shutting out the sounds of reality—the traffic outside the window and the people moving around. My mother would sit at the upright piano, playing and singing song after song off old pieces of sheet music from her past. I searched these songs for meaning. Like the cowboy songs of Gene Autry and Red River Dave, each song told a story of a remote place and time.