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Mose Allison: The Way Of The World

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Since the late ’50s, Mose Allison’s distinctive approach has combined the vocal passion of a blues musician with a bop pianist’s harmonic flair and a country performer’s storytelling acumen. But until equally idiosyncratic producer Joe Henry lured him back into a studio, Allison hadn’t recorded in 12 years, something that makes his new release, The Way of the World, even more welcome. The prolonged absence impaired neither Allison’s humor nor his acerbic wit, and the disc’s 12 selections nicely balance sentimental musings with caustic commentary.

He opens the disc with a nice reworking of Willie Dixon’s “My Babe,” only “My Brain” covers intellectual abilities rather than sexual prowess. “I’m Alright” and “The New Situation” are other tunes where Allison offers light or sentimental reflections and spry phrasing. He’s also smooth and relaxed on “Once in a While,” while he shifts into a more demonstrative tone on “Everybody Thinks You’re an Angel.”

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