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Jim Dickinson, Memphis Producer, Musician and Father of 2 North Mississippi Allstars, Dies

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Jim Dickinson, a musician and producer who helped shape the Memphis sound in a career that spanned more than four decades, died Saturday. He was 67.

His wife, Mary Lindsay Dickinson, said he died in a Memphis, Tenn., hospital after three months of heart and intestinal bleeding problems. The couple lived in Hernando, Miss., but Dickinson recently had bypass surgery and was undergoing rehabilitation at Methodist University Hospital, his wife said.

Jim Dickinson, perhaps best known as the father of Luther and Cody Dickinson, two-thirds of the Grammy-nominated North Mississippi Allstars, managed an outsider's career in an insider's industry. He recorded with and produced greats like Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, Big Star, the Rolling Stones, The Replacements and Sam & Dave.

His work in the 1960s and '70s is still influential as young artists rediscover the classic sound of Memphis from that era a melting pot of rock, pop, blues, country, and rhythm and blues.

“I think he was an incredibly influential individual," Big Star drummer Jody Stephens said Saturday. “I think he defined independent spirit in music, and I think that touched a lot of people."

“As a producer, it really is all about taste," Jim Dickinson said in a 2008 interview with The Associated Press. “And I'm not the greatest piano player in the world, but I've got damn good taste. I'll sit down and go taste with anybody."

Dickinson's career touched on some of the most important music made in the '60s and '70s. He recorded the Rolling Stones' “Wild Horses" in Muscle Shoals, Ala.; formed the Atlantic Records house band The Dixie Flyers to record with Franklin and other R&B legends in Miami; inspired a legion of indie rock bands through his work with Big Star; collaborated with Ry Cooder on a number of movie scores, including “Paris, Texas;" and played with Dylan on his Grammy-winning return to prominence, “Time Out of Mind."

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