Allison Wonderland

Mose Allison

album cover

The Musings of a Hipster Cynic

"I don't worry about a thing 'cause I know nothin's gonna be alright." "Stop this world, let me off, there's too many pigs in the same trough." "Your mind is on vacation and your mouth is working overtime."

These and other withering assessments of the human condition are the hallmark of the Tippo, Mississippi–born pianist and singer Mose Allison, whose recordings in the 1960s found a vital middle ground between jazz and blues, hipster jive and social commentary. One part Mark Twain and one part Willie Dixon, Allison began by interpreting the blues "straight"—his early records, including the "Back Country Suite" and "Parchman Farm," featured here, reveal a student of boogie and New Orleans barrelhouse who's also familiar with more modern bebop blues derivations.

By the mid-'60s, when he signed on with Atlantic Records, Allison was in the grip of a misanthropic muse. He began writing original songs, many built on traditional outlines—anyone who's heard a few twelve-bar blues tunes will recognize the basic formulations of his backing tracks on this career-highlights anthology. What sets him apart are the lyrics, which include eccentric rants on the evils of city life, musings on the corrupting influence of women, and fanciful mock-academic riffs on the alchemy of love ("Your Molecular Structure"). They're a hipster's wry take on what's wrong with the world, served with a glib bounce in the step and a twinkle in the eye, and a laconic style that's well suited to the task of lampooning assorted vanities.

Genre: Vocals
Released: 1994, Rhino/Atlantic
Key Tracks: "Your Mind Is on Vacation," "Stop This World," "Everybody Cryin' Mercy," "Ever Since I Stole the Blues"
Catalog Choice: Down Home Piano
Next Stop: Jamie Cullum: Twentysomething
After That: Oscar Brown Jr.: Sin and Soul
Book Pages: 15–16

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#1 from Audre Mae - 01/01/2009 6:26

Try his recordings in the 2000’s as well.  It is not all past tense.  He’s still going strong and stronger.  He is a revered jazz pianist as well as singer/songwriter.

#2 from arcadio, uk - 05/09/2010 3:30

next stop jamie cullum, give us a fookin break!

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