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Mose Allison: The Mose Chronicles: Live in London, Volume 2

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Two years ago, the incomparable Mose Allison decided, at age 72, that it was time to give himself a well-earned salute. So, he hitched his way to London (where Mosemania has remained rampant since the mid-’60s), settled in at Soho’s Pizza Express in Jan. 2000 and made some history. Assembled over the course of three nights, 2001’s The Mose Chronicles: Live in London, Volume 1 provided the impish Mississippian the opportunity to dust off such treasures as “Seventh Son” and “I Love the Life I Live” and show off more contemporary gems like “You Call It Jogging.” The jazz-folk-blues traveler never sounded better; the crowds were appropriately ecstatic and the critics raved. Then, late last year came the announcement of a companion volume. Could it possibly be as good as the first? Actually, it’s virtually identical.

The 17 selections that fill Volume 2 were recorded during the same Pizza Express sessions. Even the liner notes from producer Ben Sidran are duplicated, though the tracks, of course, are different. This time around, Allison serves up such dandy classics as “Baby Please Don’t Go” and “Your Mind’s on Vacation” and adds a superb pair of Ellington covers, “Lucky So and So” and “Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me.” Another delightful difference is the addition of guitarist Jim Mullen alongside bass player Roy Babbington and drummer Mark Taylor. It’s perplexing, though, why Blue Note elected to issue separate albums, rather than combining the albums as a two-disc set. Could it be because a Volume 3 is waiting around the corner? One can only hope.