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Mose Allison: Cover to Cover

The pianist/composer talks with JT's MIke Joyce about covers of his songs over the years

Van Morrison (courtesy of Van Morrison)
Van Morrison (courtesy of Van Morrison)
Diana Krall

By his own count, pianist/composer Mose Allison has written about 150 songs in his singular, 60-year career, but he can be forgiven for not knowing the number of artists who’ve recorded his compositions. The tally, after all, is always rising here and overseas. Allison’s website lists more than four dozen singers or groups that have interpreted his lyrics, and a motley bunch it is: the Bangles, Bobbie Gentry, the Who, the Clash, the Kingston Trio and Diana Krall, just for starters. During a recent visit to Washington, D.C., the Tippo, Miss., native, still touring in his eighth decade, listened to several cover tunes of his memorable and often mordant songs. Some performances were familiar to him, others not, but each track triggered thoughts about Allison’s craft, career and associations.

Diana Krall
“Stop This World”
Girl in the Other Room, Verve, 2004

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Originally Published

Mike Joyce

A former editor of JazzTimes, Mike Joyce has written extensively on jazz, blues, country, and pop music for The Washington Post, Maryland and Washington, D.C. public television stations, and other outlets.