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Mose Allison

Not unlike his namesake, Luther Allison, pianist Mose Allison has suffered from a "categorization problem," given his equally brilliant career. Although his boogie-woogie and bebop-laden piano style is innovative and fresh sounding when it comes to blues and jazz, it is as a songwriter that Allison really shines. Allison's songs have been recorded by the Who ("Young Man Blues"), Leon Russell ("I'm Smashed"), and Bonnie Raitt ("Everybody's Cryin' Mercy"). Other admirers include Tom Waits, John Mayall, Georgie Fame, the Rolling Stones, and Van Morrison. But because he's always played both blues and jazz, and not one to the exclusion of the other, his career has suffered. As he himself admits, he has a "category" problem that lingers to this day. "There's a lot of places I don't work because they're confused about what I do," he explained in a 1990 interview in Goldmine magazine. Despite the lingering confusion, Allison remains one of the finest songwriters in blues of the 20th and 21st centuries.

Born in Tippo, MS, on November 11, 1927, Allison's first exposure to blues on record was through Louis Jordan recordings, including "Outskirts of Town" and "Pinetop Blues." Allison credits Jordan as being a major influence on him, and also credits Nat "King" Cole, Louis Armstrong, and Fats Waller. He started out on trumpet but later switched to piano. In his youth, he had easy access, via the radio, to the music of Pete Johnson, Albert Ammons, and Meade "Lux" Lewis. Allison also credits the songwriter Percy Mayfield, "the Poet Laureate of the Blues," as being a major inspiration on his songwriting.

After a stint in college and the Army, Allison's first professional gig was in Lake Charles, LA, in 1950. He returned to college to finish up at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, where he studied English and philosophy, a far cry from his initial path as a chemical engineering major.

Allison began his recording career with the Prestige label in 1956, shortly after he moved to New York City. He recorded an album with Al Cohn and Bobby Brookmeyer, and then in 1957 got his own record contract. A big break was the opportunity to play with Cohn and Zoot Sims shortly after his arrival in New York, but he later became more well known after playing with saxophonist Stan Getz. After leaving Prestige Records, where he recorded now classic albums like Back Country Suite (1957), Young Man Mose (1958), and Seventh Son (1958-1959), he moved to Columbia for two years before meeting up with Nesuhi Ertegun of Atlantic Records. He recalled that he signed his contract with Atlantic after about ten minutes in Nesuhi's office. Allison spent a big part of his recording career at Atlantic Records, where he became most friendly with Ertegun. After the company saw substantial growth and Allison was no longer working directly with him, he became discouraged and left. Allison has also recorded for Columbia (before he began his long relationship with Atlantic), and the Epic and Prestige labels.

Allison's discography is a lengthy one, and there are gems to be found on all of his albums, many of which can be found in vinyl shops. His output since 1957 averaged at least one album a year until 1976, when he finished up at Atlantic with the classic Your Mind Is on Vacation. There was a gap of six years before he recorded again, this time for Elektra's Musician subsidiary in 1982, when he recorded Middle Class White Boy. After 1987, he recorded with Blue Note/Capitol. His debut for that label was Ever Since the World Ended. Allison recorded some of the most creative material of his career with the Blue Note subsidiary of Capitol Records, including My Backyard (1992) and The Earth Wants You (1994), both produced by Ben Sidran. Also in 1994, Rhino Records released a box set, Allison Wonderland. Allison's first new studio album in some 12 years, the Joe Henry-produced The Way of the World, appeared from Anti early in 2010. ~ Richard Skelly
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Way Of The World

1. My Brain

2. I Know You Didn't Mean It

3. Everybody Thinks You're An Angel

4. Let It Come Down

5. Modest Proposal

6. Crush

7. Some Right, Some Wrong

8. The Way Of The World

9. Ask Me Nice

10. Once In A While

11. I'm Alright

12. This New Situation

x

Track List: The Mose Chronicles: Live In London, Vol. 1

1. Excursion And Interlude (Live 2000)

2. No Trouble Livin' (Live 2000)

3. I Aint Got Nothing But The Blues (Live 2000)

4. Everybody's Cryin' Mercy (Live 2000)

5. Meet Me At No Special Place (Live 2000)

6. If You Only Knew (Live 2000)

7. Middle Class White Boy (Live 2000)

8. You Are My Sunshine (Live 2000)

9. What's Your Movie (Live 2000)

10. How Much Truth (Live 2000)

11. Ever Since The World Ended (Live 2000)

12. You Call It Jogging (Live 2000)

13. Trouble In Mind (Live 2000)

14. I'm Not Talking (Live 2000)

15. I Feel So Good (Live 2000)

16. Since I Fell For You (Live 2000)

17. Seventh Son (Live 2000)

18. Hello There Universe (Live 2000)

19. What Do You Do After (Live 2000)

20. Gettin' There (Live 2000)

21. I Love The Life I Live (Live 2000)

22. Finale (Live 2000)

x

Track List: I Don't Worry About A Thing / Mose Alive

x

Track List: Allison Wonderland: The Mose Allison Anthology

Disc 1

2. Lost Mind

3. Parchman Farm

4. If You Live

5. The Seventh Son

6. Eyesight To The Blind

7. Baby, Please Don't Go

8. Fool's Paradise

9. V-8 Ford Blues

10. Ask Me Nice

11. Hey, Good Lookin'

12. Back On The Corner

13. Your Mind Is On Vacation

14. Meet Me At No Special Place

15. I Don't Worry About A Thing

16. I Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues

17. Swingin' Machine

18. Stop This World

19. I'm Not Talking

20. I'm The Wild Man

21. Your Red Wagon

22. Foolkiller

23. Wild Man On The Loose

24. You Can Count On Me To Do My Part

Disc 2

1. If You're Goin' To The City

2. Everybody Cryin' Mercy

4. Molecular Structure

6. Hello There, Universe

7. I Don't Want Much

8. How Much Truth

9. Western Man

10. I'm Just A Lucky So-And-So

12. Ever Since The World Ended

13. Top Forty

14. Josephine

15. Gettin' There

16. Ever Since I Stole The Blues

17. You Call It Joggin'

18. Big Brother

19. The Gettin' Paid Waltz

x

Track List: Greatest Hits

1. The Seventh Son

2. Eyesight To The Blind

3. Do Nothin' 'Till You Hear From Me

4. Lost Mind

5. I've Got A Right To Cry

6. Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand

7. Parchman Farm

8. If You Live

9. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

10. One Room Country Shack

11. I Hadn't Anyone Till You

12. Young Man's Blues

13. That's All Right

14. Blueberry Hill

15. Trouble In Mind

16. Creek Bank

x

Track List: The Best Of Mose Allison

1. I Don't Worry About A Thing

2. Your Mind Is On Vacation

3. It Didn't Turn Out That Way

4. If You're Goin' To The City

5. Swingin' Machine

6. I Ain't Got Nothing But The Blues

7. Stop This World

8. I'm The Wild Man

9. New Parchman

10. Rollin' Stone

11. Don't Forget To Smile

12. Seventh Son

13. I Love The Life I Live

14. What's With You

15. That's The Stuff You Gotta Watch

16. Your Molecular Structure

17. Just Like Livin'

18. Everybody Cryin' Mercy

19. Night Club

20. One Of These Days

x

Track List: Your Mind Is On Vacation

1. Your Mind Is On Vacation

4. One Of These Days

5. I Feel So Good

6. Fires Of Spring

7. If You Only Knew

9. What Do You Do After You Ruin Your Life

10. Swingin' Machine

12. Your Molecular Structure

x

Track List: Mose Allison Sings

1. The Seventh Son

2. Eyesight To The Blind

3. Do Nothin' 'till You Hear From Me

4. Lost Mind

5. I've Got A Right To Cry

6. Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand

7. Parchman Farm

8. If You Live

9. Don't Get Around Much Anymore

10. One Room Country Shack

11. I Hadn't Anyone Till You

12. Young Man's Blues

13. That's All Right

14. Blueberry Hill

15. Trouble In Mind

16. Creek Bank

x

Track List: Ramblin' With Mose Allison

1. I Got A Right To Cry

2. Old Devil Moon

3. The Minstrels

4. You Belong To Me

5. Stranger In Paradise

6. The Kissin' Bug

7. Ramble

8. Saritha

9. Old Man John

10. Ingenue

x

Track List: Back Country Suite

1. New Ground

2. Train

3. Warm Night

4. Young Man's Blues

5. Saturday

6. Scamper

7. January

8. Promised Land

9. Spring Song

10. Highway

11. Blueberry Hill

12. You Won't Let Me Go

13. I Thought About You

14. One Room Country Shack

15. In Salah

x

Track List: Autumn Song

1. Promenade

2. Eyesight To The Blind

3. It's Crazy

4. That's All Right

5. Devil In The Cane Field

6. Strange

7. Autumn Song

8. Do Nothin' Till You Hear From Me

9. Spires

10. Groovin' High

x

Track List: Middle Class White Boy

1. How Does It Feel? (To Be Good Looking)

2. Rollin' Stone

3. I Don't Want Much

4. Middle Class White Boy

5. When My Dreamboat Comes Home

6. I'm Nobody Today

7. I'm Just A Lucky So-And-So

8. Back Down South

9. The Tennesee Waltz

10. Hello There, Universe

11. Kiddin' On The Square

Comments

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If I may borrow from the great one, Trump's mind is on vacation, and his mouth is dangerously working overtime...
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I had the pleasure of seeing Allison live in Hartford CT around 1969-70 era - been a fan ever since...
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wilson_south
My father -- who was a DJ and engineer introduced me to Allison -- & I have always loved his music - even in elementary school. This particular song is so modern Jazz/bebop. Love it.
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Mose Allison is by far the smoothest and coolest with ballads
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First heard him listening to Wolfman Jack doing a midnight jazz show out of LA circa 1959. Did not now he wasn't black until about 1965 in a tiny jazz club in Monterey, CA. I went just to see him. Out comes this white guy and then the unmistakable sound. Laugh every time I think of him. Great night!!
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joe.tetro... word!
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When this cat plays all the brothers get colorblind . . Know what I mean. The man is down, rooster blood at the crossroads at midnight, and you look at him he could be cast in a Father Knows Best episode. All those nights and days of swingin' a nine pound hammer from the waist on down, or shootin' up in a NYC subway toilet, flatted notes right off the gold coast. An he is THE ONE





1
Report as inappropriate
after my mind's been on vacation, it's always a treat to return to Mose... he never grows old and I never grow weary of listening!
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Why the mention of Luther? Writers' block? Love, a Mose lover.
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Oh yeah...mm-mm m - m m m m !
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smrsurveyor@ l i v e . c o m Saw him at the old Musicians Exchange in Ft.Lauderdal e in the 1980s. Had several recordings of his and have always loved his composition and style. Thanks Mose
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the finest pharising ever recorded
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First saw Mr. Allison, in Los Angeles , Calif. In some of best times in my life. Love his music.
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Listened to Mose at the King and Queens in the sixties in Providence RI, a great groovy experience
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barry.temkin
Mose has an old-timey, jazzy style of blues.
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Indiana LowKey Jazz Nut
Had a beer or two with Mose at the Bluebird Cafe in Bloomington , Indiana in the 70s with Corky R. Was blown away... although, One didn't show it. One was verrrry low key in those days (now, too!).
PSC : A friend of Cork's
Report as inappropriate
I used to hear Mose perform at Charlie Byrd's club in Georgetown from 1963 to 1966 when I was a student. I have loved him all my life.
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mizshell62
He stopped touring in 2013 and I'm so sad I missed his live performance!
Report as inappropriate
Mose is king of phrasing !! I never heard anything like it. So many of the popular songs he does come to life when he does them. It's poetry with vocal enhancement.
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There's a separate brain in each of his fingers! Totally cool music and one really nice guy.
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mose play that piano - you outshine so many artists.
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An FYI for Pandora..I beleive his birth place was Tupelo Mississippi not Tippo.
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Love Mose!
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so there I was listening to mose at tht the jazz workshop in boston,,,,,m i s s you and those times....if you need a guitar...let me now
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Just listening to his recordings places me at my favorite table at Howard Rumsey's Lighthouse in Redondo Beach, CA. Nothing like it, PRICELESS!
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My husband & I use to catch him in SF - North Beach back in the 60's - forgot just how he could make the paino scream- And of course you could alway pick out that voice - one of a kind. Good to hear ti again.
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I lived in Manhattan in the late 50's early 60's My watering hole alone w/ Zoot Sims,Muligan , M o s e s , a l l the greats would meet here at CHARLIES BAR ON 52ND STREET,,,,Ji l l y s was acouple doors toward 8th ave with big Mick and always the rate pack ...Roseland, , , B i r d l a n d around the corner....an d the Metrapoll on Broadway musicans would all meet at Charlies on arrival or on their way out ot town.......J u s t the greatest for a young guy like meet to hang drnk and listen to the stories,,,JU S T GREAT TI
Report as inappropriate
I got aware of Mose from Seattle Station KPLU 88.5FM. WOW! Thanks KPLU! They are online too...
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bisker2
He is now touring and well worth seeing. His vocalization s are as good as always, and his piano playing is masterful. He doesn't waste any time talking about himself or talking much at all. He plays song after song after song.
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you talk about yours i wish you could see mine
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I had forgotten how much I enjoyed listening to Mose.
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music6579
An all time favorite. Humorous poetry accompanies clean jazz and blues. Try "You Don't Know", "Your Mind is on Vacation" or "Parchman Farm". Kicks!

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