Mose Allison

Brief Mose Allison Biography

Mose John Allison Jr. was born in 1927 in Tippo, Mississippi, a cotton town in the Mississippi delta. By the time Mose was in grade school he was already composing boogie woogie tunes on the piano. His father, a piano stride player himself, encouraged the young Mose in his playing but also taught him the meaning of "work on the farm." Mose plowed cotton with a mule and said once that he is probably one of the few remaining living bluesman who can honestly make that claim. He grew up where "The blues was in the air." While still in his teens Mose was sitting in with R and B bands on Memphisís famed musical mecca Beale Street. One of those bands was led by another teenage bluesman, Beale Street Boy, better known as B. B. King. It was a full decade before SUN Records discovery of Elvis Presley. In the 1940ís in the deep south it was not yet socially acceptable for races to mix in public places. When it comes to music Mose says, "I just followed my ears."

In 1956 Mose migrated to New York where the jazz scene was taking off. He staked out an artistic and musical niche that was both respected and unique. Today, many in the industry view Mose as a musicianís musician, a singerís singer and a songwriterís songwriter. Mose is still playing over 150 dates a year and considers his 40 years on the road performing as "on the job training." In the states Mose has a loyal following but, it was in England during the 1960ís where Mose got the attention of many soon to be British Invaders. The Yardbirds, The Who, John Mayallís Bluesbreakers and others would soon be covering his songs. Someone said to Mose once, "You were a social critic before Dylan; you were satirical long before Newman; you were rude long before Jagger; why arenít you a big star?" Moseís answer to that was, "Just Lucky, I guess." Moseís popularity in the states has been on a slow and steady rise. As the man himself wrote, "If you live, your time will come". Perhaps Moseís time has finally come.

In a twenty month period covering 1994-5, a biography on Mose entitled, One Manís Blues, has been published in the UK, a studio CD on Blue Note was released entitled, The Earth Wants You, a live set from the seventies was released on indie CD entitled, Pure Mose, Rhino Records released a two CD anthology entitled, Allison Wonderland and finally a three CD boxed set from Sony, High Jinks! Trilogy. Certainly it is wonderful time to be a Mose fan.