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Mose Allison: The Sage of Tippo

Fans of Allison’s wry lyrics and swinging piano playing will find this collection irresistible as it combines four of his Atlantic albums-Swingin’ Machine, The Word from Mose, Wild Man on the Loose and I’ve Been Doin’ Some Thinkin’ on CD for the first time. 1963’s Swingin’ Machine expands his usual trio format by adding tronbinist Jimmy Knepper and tenorman Jimmy Reider which gives the Tipo, Mississippi, native ample opportunities to “unveil [his] little swingin’ machine” and the listner a chance to check out his solid comping behind the horns-a talent he’d honed a few years earlier when working with Stan Getz and the Al Cohn-Zoot Sims combos-as well as his jazz chops on four instrumentals.

Interspersed among Allison’s own marvelous compositions (e.g., “New Parchman,” “Your Molecular Structure,” Everybody Cryin’ Mercy,” “If You’re Going to the City”) are songs like Muddy Waters; “Rollin’ Stone,” Percy Mayfield’s “Lost Mind,” Ellington’s “I Ain’t Got Nothin’ but the Blues” and a deathly slow “You Are My Sunshine.” After his 40-year career I can’t imagine that there’s anybody who hasn’t been exposed to Allison’s country-fied musings and city-fied playing, but I recommend this 2-CD set to them, too.

Originally Published