302

Mose Allison: The Sage Of Tippo

Jim Santella By

Sign in to view read count
Recorded between 1963 and 1968, four of Mose Allison's Atlantic LPs are placed on one two-CD package, presented with their original liner notes and remastered sound: Swingin' Machine, The Word From Mose, Wild Man On The Loose, and I've Been Doin' Some Thinkin'. On the first session, Allison used a quintet; the others are with bass and drums only. Allison's piano style is lively and forged out of boogie-woogie, stride piano, and the blues; he likes to make mention of the honky-tonks and small-town joints that influenced his early development. The four sessions presented here are comprised mostly of the pianist's compositions, all of which generally tell a story and supply spirited piano interludes to reinforce their message.

Mose Allison's storytelling, romping piano playing, and likable humor are unforgettable. On Swingin' Machine the leader is backed by trombonist Jimmy Knepper, tenor saxophonist Jimmy Reider, bassist Addison Farmer, and drummer Frankie Dunlop. "Do It," "Saritha," "So Rare," and "Promenade" are instrumental numbers, offering ample solo time from Reider's tenor saxophone, Knepper's trombone, Allison's piano, Farmer's acoustic bass, and Dunlop's "fours."

Ellington's familiar standard "I Ain't Got Nothin' But The Blues" allows the usual theme, "since my baby left town," and features Allison the pianist's flying fingers, which contrast with his smooth-tongued singing style. The piano oftentimes delivers more of the story's true meaning than the singer's profound lyrics.

On The Word From Mose, Allison is supported by bassist Ben Tucker and drummer Ron Lundberg. Deep bass notes pounded out on the piano supplement the storytelling by the gentleman from Tippo, Mississippi who mentions in these liner notes that his influences include Sonny Boy Williamson, John Lee Hooker, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Percy Mayfield. Muddy Waters' classic blues "Rollin' Stone," Mayfield's "Lost Mind," and Allison's originals flesh out a session of tracks with vocals.

Wild Man On The Loose features Allison backed by bassist Earl May and drummer Paul Motian. "Night Watch" and "Never More" are instrumentals with Allison stretching it out on the piano; May walks the bass and Motian accompanies with brushes for both slow, steady blues-derived numbers. The trio shows its strength on "Power House," which omits singing in favor of forceful syncopation contained in solos by piano, bass, and drum "fours." "War Horse," as well, features powerful, driven instrumental work done up-tempo with a share of the spotlight for each of the three.

On I've Been Doin' Some Thinkin' Allison is backed by bassist Red Mitchell and drummer Bill Goodwin. The slow expressive "You Are My Sunshine" is a clear example of what makes Mose Allison different: The tune is so familiar to all that any variation from the written melody becomes immediately obvious. The singer offers it in his own special way, with a traditional country blues singer's approach, yet with inflections few artists can offer. Allison's unique singing style and his rambunctious piano artistry go hand in hand with his creative and pointed lyrics. An example of his tongue-in-cheek methods comes from "Everybody Cryin' Mercy," with its message about social hypocrisy:

I can't believe the things I'm seein'.
I wonder `bout some things I've heard.
Everybody cryin' "Mercy,"
When they don't know the meaning of the word.

A bad enough situation
Is sure enough gettin' worse.
Everybody cryin' "Justice,"
Just as long as there's business first.

Elsewhere, the highly rhythmic "Look What You Made Me Do," and the modified "Bo Diddley" beat driving "Your Molecular Structure," lend an air of excitement. "Look What You Made Me Do" contains one of Allison's most adventurous piano interludes. Recommended.


Track Listing: Swingin' Machine: Swingin' Machine; Do It; Promenade; If You're Goin' to the City; Saritha; I Ain't Got Nothing But the Blues; So Rare.

The Word From Mose: Foolkiller; One of These Days; Look Here; Days Like This; Your Red Wagon; Wild Man; Rollin' Stone; New Parchman; Don't Forget to Smile; I'm Not Talking; Lost Mind.

Wild Man On The Loose: Wild Man on the Loose; No Trouble Livin'; Night Watch; What's With You; Power House; You Can Count On Me To Do My Part; Never More; That's The Stuff You Gotta Watch; War Horse.

I've Been Doin' Some Thinkin': Jus like Livin'; City Home; If You're Goin' to the City; Now You See It; You Are My Sunshine; Your Molecular Structure; Look What You Made Me Do; If You Really Loved Me; Everybody Cryin' Mercy; Feel So Good; Let It Come Down; Back On the Corner.

| Record Label: 32 Records | Style: Straight-ahead/Mainstream


Shop

More Articles

Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark CD/LP/Track Review The MUH Trio – Prague After Dark
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Les Deux Versants Se Regardent CD/LP/Track Review Les Deux Versants Se Regardent
by John Sharpe
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Molto Bene CD/LP/Track Review Molto Bene
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 23, 2017
Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read "Petite Moutarde" CD/LP/Track Review Petite Moutarde
by Glenn Astarita
Published: March 29, 2016
Read "El Viaje" CD/LP/Track Review El Viaje
by James Nadal
Published: September 14, 2016
Read "Three Miles From Avalon" CD/LP/Track Review Three Miles From Avalon
by Doug Collette
Published: October 15, 2016
Read "The Eastcote Studios Session" CD/LP/Track Review The Eastcote Studios Session
by John Eyles
Published: November 30, 2016
Read "Eight Track II" CD/LP/Track Review Eight Track II
by Mark Sullivan
Published: December 4, 2016
Read "Bring Their ‘A’ Game" CD/LP/Track Review Bring Their ‘A’ Game
by Karl Ackermann
Published: March 17, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!