Mose Allison: The Way of the World (Anti)

 |   |  1 min read

Mose Allison: My Brain
Mose Allison: The Way of the World (Anti)

Mose Allison is one of those slightly obscure figures whose name is often heard in interviews with the likes of Van Morrison and Elvis Costello -- and he was also the subject of a song by the Pixies.

Way back he also wrote Young Man Blues (covered famously by the Who) and Parchman Farm (covered notoriously by Blue Cheer), and the Clash did a version of his Look Here on Sandinista.

But don't let any of that fool you: Allison isn't a rocker, he's a piano-blues jazz man with a wry lyrical sensibility (the ways and woes of the world delivered with humour) and he is 82.

He also hadn't recorded an album in 12 years until Joe Henry sweet-talked him back into the studio on the promise of fun with a small band, and they got this very amusing album -- shot through with exceptional piano playing -- in just five days.

Oddly enough an archetypal Allison song here is actually from the pen of Loudon Wainwright, his droll anti-blues blues song I'm Alright: "Woke up this mornin', didn't feel that bad, last night was not the worst I'd ever had . . . I didn't miss you baby, no matter what you think, I didn't moan, I didn't cry . . . I'm alright without you".

And on the upbeat opener he notes, "My brain is always tickin' . . . as long as I am alive and kickin' "

So here are dry lyrics and his effortless delivery which seems unchanged down the decades (cf the sample track with the clip below from 21 years ago) -- but the real oil is in his stride-cum-boogie woogie piano, and the snappy and understated band which includes Emmylou Harris guitarist Greg Leisz.

There are more than sly smiles to be had however: on the title track he reflects on the death watch we are all on, and age and distance allow him to smile about his failures and lost love in a way that someone a quarter his age would take much more seriously.

But that too is the way of the world.

Unexpected -- but good stuff as expected from the great Mose Allison. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

MILES DAVIS, ON THE CORNER: The man with the bellbottoms

MILES DAVIS, ON THE CORNER: The man with the bellbottoms

The cliche has become so embedded that hardly anyone questions it: “indie label good, major label bad”.   As with most generalisations it doesn’t support much scrutiny:... > Read more

Herbie Hancock: The Imagine Project (Sony)

Herbie Hancock: The Imagine Project (Sony)

Regardless of what you think of John Lennon's song Imagine -- and opinion ranges from drippy sentimentality to inspirational -- most would agree the song succeeds with many people for its... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dragon; Original Album Classics

THE BARGAIN BUY: Dragon; Original Album Classics

Although they never made a truly satisfying album -- let alone a classic -- Dragon certainly delivered one very good and largely forgotten one: O Zambezi of 1978. The previous album Running... > Read more

DELANEY DAVIDSON INTERVIEWED (2014): Christchurch, Colorado and Womad

DELANEY DAVIDSON INTERVIEWED (2014): Christchurch, Colorado and Womad

Singer and songwriter Delaney Davidson has carved out a rare niche in New Zealand music. Along with Marlon Williams, Tami Neilson and others he has rejigged traditional and contemporary country... > Read more