Mose Allison: Parchman Farm (1957)

 |   |  1 min read

Mose Allison: Parchman Farm (1957)

Mose Allison is a jazz and blues singer whose songs have been covered by a surprising number of rock artists . . .  surprising because when you hear Allison's originals -- as in this case, typically swinging, groove-driven by drummer Nick Stabalus and bassist Addison Farner -- it sounds a very long way from how they turned out in the hands of people like Blue Cheer or the Who in the Sixties.

Townshend of the Who says their hit My Generation was inspired by Allison's Young Man Blues and his vocal on the demo was laidback in the manner of Allison.

But he accidentally stuttered so singer Roger Daltrey introduced that as a significant component of the song to suggest youthful nervousness and frustration.

The Who also covered Sonny Boy Williamson's Eyesight to the Blind (on Tommy) which Allison covered around the time of Parchman Farm and Young Man Blues, which the Who did . . . in a very different way.

Here's Mose Allison's Young Man Blues.

 

And here's the Who 

Parchman Farm clearly has its origins in the blues and is about an inmate at the notorious prison in Mississippi which held Bukka White (who wrote Parchman Farm Blues), Elvis Presley's father Vernon, various civil rights and black activists . . . among thousands of others.

This first recording of Parchman Farm was done in Rudy Van Gelder's Hackensack studio for the Prestige album Local Color released in '59.

You might like to compare Mose Allison's Parchman Farm with Blue Cheer's feedback-infused heavy metal version below.

How the hell did that happen? 

For more one-offs, oddities or songs with an interesting backstory see From the Vaults

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   From the Vaults articles index

Cowboy Junkies: State Trooper (1986)

Cowboy Junkies: State Trooper (1986)

When the world started becoming very noisy around the time of grunge, the Cowboy Junkies out of Canada had the oldest trick in any public speaker's book. When everyone else is shouting, you speak... > Read more

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: I Should be Proud (1970)

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas: I Should be Proud (1970)

On Anzac Day I was invited onto National Radio to talk about songs from the era of the Vietnam conflict and rather than going for some of the more obvious ones (Universal Soldier and so on) I... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

SPOKEN HERE by MARK ABLEY: It's like, you know, I mean . . .

SPOKEN HERE by MARK ABLEY: It's like, you know, I mean . . .

When Captain James Cook ran aground on the Great Barrier Reef he spotted an unusual animal and was told by the aboriginal people it was called “kangaroo”. When he sailed home he took a... > Read more

Various artists: George Yearbook 2011 (Frequency)

Various artists: George Yearbook 2011 (Frequency)

Although I was once corrected in print by a programmer when I said radio was about music (he, astonishingly, said in a letter to the newspaper that I was wrong, radio was about advertising!) it is... > Read more