Look out!
Stand back!
Wild man on the loose.

Mose Allison was born November 11, 1927 in Tippo, Mississippi. That's about halfway between Memphis, TN, and Jackson, MS. That is in the middle of nowhere, for those of you not familiar with the territory.

Lock up your wife
And hide your daughter;
It's one man's night to howl.
Panther on the prowl

Is it jazz? Or is it blues? And what is it with that guy singing? You call that singing? He looks like a bear but that voice sounds like some kind of overgrown songbird on morphine. He once said, "There's a lot of places I don't work because they're confused about what I do."

I always thought that I was in control.
I always thought that I could reach my goal.
Now I'm staring at my empty cup.
Will the real me please stand up?

The way he plays the piano is just as hard to categorize. Is it boogie woogie? Is it bee bop? It definitely ain't as polished as Dr. John (Mac Rebennack), but there's a sort of friendly nature to it that makes it easy to listen to. So, Mose's songs are more generally well-known when they're covered by other folks. The Who did "Young Man Blues," Leon Russell did "I'm Smashed," and Bonnie Raitt did "Everybody's Cryin' Mercy." The lyrics included in this writeup are from "Wild Man On the Loose" and "I'm Smashed."

I'm smashed
Just like a busted fender.
I'm crashed.
Where can a man surrender?

Mose started playing in Lake Charles, LA, in 1950. He had partially finished college, studying to be a chemical engineer, and had done his time in the Army. While he was playing in Lake Charles, he went back to LSU and got a degree in English and Philosophy. Who knows what happened to those dreams of being an engineer?

And I'm ripped.
You know my mind is spinning.
The other side is winning.

He moved to New York City in 1956. He played some gigs with Zoot Sims and Al Cohn. He got enough recognition from some work with Stan Getz to get his own record contract, and his classic work was done back in the late 1950s with albums such as Back Country Suite, Young Man Mose and Seventh Son. But good stuff can be found on any of his albums, and he managed to put one out about every year from the late 1950s to the mid 1970s. Some folks think that a couple of more recent releases, My Backyard and The Earth Wants You (1992 and 1994), both produced by Ben Sidran, are his best stuff. But I'll stick with the old Mose and cool my heels listening to a man singing in such a happy voice about how life can kick you in right in the nads.

Take me out coach.
I'm thru.

I'll get myself together
In a day or two.

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