Fishing with Charlie and Other Selected Readings is a collection of literal "readings" by the wildman producer (the Replacements and musician Jim Dickinson; anybody remember the utterly crazy Dixie Fried?) which may strike some as an oddity, but it's something much more. Dickinson is a wonderful orator. These ten selections are taken from Dickinson's favorite poetry and fiction. They range form Langston Hughes' "Weary Blues," and Vachel Linsdsay's "The Congo," to a fantastic pick from Michael Ondaatje's novel, Coming Through Slaughter, Nick Tosches' haunting account "Girl Singer," a bit form Jack Kerouac's novel Maggie Cassidy, and a smashing take on Tennessee Williams' "Tom's Closing Speech" form the Glass Menagerie. There is also the title cut, written by the late great author Larry Brown, about the funeral of Charlie Jacobs. Dickinson explains in his liner notes that Brown wrote this for Jacobs, but was also "a script for his own." There is something undeniably rugged yet graceful about Dickinson's reading voice; it belies a deep understanding and empathy for the material he gives voice to. For anyone interested in the spoken word, or in Dickinson, this is necessary.
Review by Thom Jurek