On the Bus
by Jimbo Sage
“Jimbo, you’re gonna get your face melted off tonite, are you ready?” Thats what Brad O said to me as we loaded The Shed Party Bus and headed onward and ‘further’ to downtown Mobile to see the North Mississippi Allstars play the Soul Kitchen last Saturday night. “Was I ready?” I thought, hell, there’s no turning back now. “You’re either on the bus or you’re off the bus” Ken Casey reasoned 40 years before. Tonite Jimbo Sage was “on the bus!” With the cooler overflowing with spirits, the mirrored ball tripping the light fantastic and the pretty girls shaking to the righteous beat of Robert Randolph, our portable back-porch party arrived on time and in fashion. We were stylin alright, feeling good and anxiously excited, and it was only just beginning! Hanging out in the street for awhile along side the bus the buzz was getting buzzier, fellow freaks waved back and forth and giant smiles were exchanged. The North Mississippi Allstars bus pulled in just ahead in front of the Soul Kitchen and a standing crowd gave up a cheer, their show was about to begin, our little party from Ocean Springs was about to peak.
Inside the Soul Kitchen, I was instantly immersed, kinda like drowning like in a dream but breathing and exhaling the ageless memories that live and thrive in this historic dance hall room. I could only imagine to know the stories but I could feel their presence, and as I’d look up from street level below, or down from the balcony overhead, the vibe of an era long gone but not forgotten, remained. And so true to that parlor room etiquette the North Mississippi Allstars filled the evening vapors with their old timey hill country electrified blues. The brothers Luther and Cody Dickison along with bassist Chris Chew combined the best styles of delta blues, gospel, R&B and modern psychedelia that their namesake and native state could offer. What more to say,…. well their “shakin on down” two step numbers, RL Burnside covers, hypno-trance-dance and a wild solo excursion by percussionist Cody on the electric washboard left this old/young bluesman next ta dyin for more. It was after 3:00 am when the band called it a night to remember at The Soul Kitchen and we all fumbled out onto Dauphin street. “Well the clock says it’s time to close now,.. know I have to go now,… really want to stay here all night,…. all night,… all night!”…. No,.. not really but I had to throw in those mojo risen lyrics to end my story/journey. Special thanks go out to “Brian the bus driver” that got us all home safely (even with a broken water pump) and to Butch and Elsie Johnson my new friends. And of course thanks to Brad Orrison and all the fellow Shed Heads.