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Mose Allison

Updated on January 16, 2015

Mose Allison Is Unique Among Jazz Pianists

There is really no one else quite like Mose Allison and this is the case whether you are speaking of him as a singer, a pianist or as a songwriter. Always good for a laugh and a lesson, Mose Allison has given us lyrics that have contributed entire sentences to the American lexicon. You may have quoted him yourself and not even known it!

Mose Allison was born Mose John Allison, Jr. on November 11, 1927 in Tippo, Mississippi. He played piano in grammar school and trumpet in high school. In 1956 he moved to New York City and began his jazz career performing with such jazz giants as Stan Getz, Gerry Mulligan, and Phil Woods. His debut album was Back Country Suite on the Prestige label in 1957. He formed his own trio in 1958.

In 1963 his record label finally allowed him to release an album of only piano and vocals. It was entitled Mose Allison Sings and is a collection of songs that paid tribute to artists of the Mojo Triangle: Sonny Boy Williamson, Jimmy Rogers and Willie Dixon. It was an original composition, Parchman Farm, however that brought him the most attention and for more than two decades, it was his most requested song.

His music has influenced countless blues and rock artists, including Jimi Hendrix, The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, The Who, and John Mayall. Blue Cheer and Cactus both recorded versions of Parchman Farm. The Yardbirds and The Misunderstood recorded versions of I'm Not Talking. Look Here was covered by The Clash and Leon Russell covered Smashed, while Van Morrison released an entire album of Allison's songs entitled Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison. Elvis Costello covered Everybody's Cryin' Mercy and Your Mind Is On Vacation on King of America. Monsters of the Id was covered by Stan Ridgway and Greg Brown wrote and performed "Mose Allison Played Here" on his 1997 album, Slant 6 Mind. During the opening credits of the film The Whole Nine Yards, Allison's song I Don't Worry About A Thing plays.

In 2006 Mose Allison was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.

On March 23, 2010, after a twelve years without a new release Allison released the album The Way Of The World. I think you should check it out.

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