1,000 Recordings to Hear Before You Die ~ Tom Moon ~ Mose Allison

MOSE ALLISON: Allison Wonderland, The Musings of a Hipster Cynic

I really do take exception to the characterization of Mose as a “cynic”. That really misses the point. When he sang “I don’t Worry About a Thing (cause nothings gonna be alright) in 1962, this was merely Mose offering some  sage advice for getting on with your life. Don’t sweat te details. When he argued that some people minds were on vacation, who could argue? I picked up a vinyl copy of that 1962 album in the summer of 1963 between my HS graduation and my freshman year in college (1963). I never looked back and I was constantly quoting The Word (the word from Mose) in those days.There are two great American music philosophers: Mose Allison and Bob Dylan. Period.

Mose, born  in Mississippi in 1927 is an ageless hipster who found a unique and perfect blend of jazz and blues, and never wavered from it. Yet it’s as fresh, rocking, and ebullient as ever.  His clever and witty lyrics are a treasure. I often thought that if I could play the piano that effortlessly, then I’d certainly be a happy man.

That’s what comes from being able to play by ear. What a gift! Allison was the first musician I can remember that made me think of the voice as an accompanying instrument, when, as on many of his songs, he grunted right along with his piano playing. Pair up Young Man’s Blues with Old Man’s Blues – and you’ll see how long he’s been talking the talk.


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