June 14, 2024

Mose Allison
Greatest Hits
The Prestige Collection

(Orig Jazz Classics – 1988/91)
by Matthew S. Robinson

From Tippo, MS to the tip of Jazz’s pantheon, Mose Allison has had one of the genre’s most enduring and beloved careers. Now well into his golden years, tis honey and chickoree-voiced storyteller continues to reminisce about his beloved South. Among the prevalent themes on this gently sparkling collection are the infamous 12-foot cotton sack and other elements of life on the plantation (including life on the penal farm for spousal homicide). It was a different place and a different age, but Allison sing-songs about it as if he lived it himself. And when he’s not singing about a life not lived, Allison offers equally personalized renditions of the greats, from Ellington to Williamson and Ray Charles to Willie Dixon.

Though his Chet Baker-y vocals are occassionally under-propped, Allsion’s jaunty key work is impressive and fun on its own. His pianist take on “Blueberry Hill” gets up there a bit faster than Fats Domino, but the svelte Allison is in better shape anyhow. While waiting for one or the other of his musical skills to take shape on “Trouble in Mind,” the Baker comparison takes on more wight as Allison reveals himself as a capable horn man as well. So many skills over so many years make this collection and this man a treasure for Rebel and Yankee alike.

©2002, M. S. Robinson, ARR

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