Third Man Records is excited to announce the release of ANN ARBOR BLUES FESTIVAL 1969, a 50th anniversary celebration collecting 24 previously unheard songs by such blues legends as Howlin’ Wolf, Muddy Waters, B.B. King, James Cotton, Son House, Magic Sam, T-Bone Walker, Junior Wells, Big Mama Thornton, Clifton Chenier, Son House, Mississippi Fred McDowell, Lightnin’ Hopkins, Pinetop Perkins, J. B. Hutto & His Hawks, Roosevelt Sykes, Luther Allison, Otis Rush, Big Joe Williams, Charlie Musselwhite and more. The first ever release of music recorded live at the landmark event, ANN ARBOR BLUES FESTIVAL 1969 will be available on August 2, 2019 in two individual 2x LP volumes, exclusively on 180 gram vinyl, and on CD.
The second of three Allison albums issued on Motown's Gordy subsidiary in the 1970s, Luther's Blues captures the guitarist's uncovered-wire sound in its full glory. The crescendo ending of "Let's Have a Little Talk," one of five Allison originals here, is more than another standard variation on crowd-pleasing clichés. It's an apocalyptic, blues-wailing roar, with Allison's pleading vocal at its core. Berry Gordy turns up in the composer credits for one tune, "Someday Pretty Baby," which, along with "Part Time Love," trawls the company's early raw-edged back catalog. Even the funk-flavored "K.T."–an attempted hit single?–fits the mood. The three bonus tracks on this exemplary remaster nearly double the original LP's length, with a raw version of Freddy King's "San-Ho-Zay" glowing alongside an alternate version of Allison's "Bloomington Closing" and a lengthy medley from the 1973 Ann Arbor Blues Festival.
Mose Allison recorded six albums as a leader for Prestige between 1957 and 1959, an era when he was better known as a jazz pianist than a folk/country blues vocalist and masterful lyricist. On his final Prestige date, Allison (in a trio with bassist Addison Farmer and drummer Ronnie Free) performs seven instrumentals (including "It's Crazy," "Autumn Song," and "Groovin' High") but it's the three vocals ("Eyesight to the Blind," "That's All Right," and Duke Ellington's "Do Nothin' 'til You Hear from Me") that are most memorable. One realizes why Allison was soon emphasizing his vocals; he was a much more distinctive singer than pianist, although his piano playing was actually pretty inventive. This is an excellent all-around set.
When this album was recorded in 1960, this laconic Mississippian wasn't the brilliant lyricist he would later become. But he had great taste. The title track, written by Willie Dixon, sure sounds like a Mose song; "Fool's Paradise" is another gem. Mose's four tunes are instrumentals. The production by Teo Macero makes it feel like you're perched on one end of the piano bench.
Released in 1982, Middle Class White Boy was Mose Allison's first recording in six years, and his debut for the fledgling and relatively short-lived Elektra Musician label run by Bruce Lundvall. Allison is featured here in a sextet setting. His fellow front-line players are saxophonist Joe Farrell and guitarist Phil Upchurch. The set is a well-blended collection of originals and covers including Muddy Waters' "Rollin' Stone," and Duke Ellington's "Just a Lucky So and So." As is his trademark, Allison effortlessly blends jazz, backwoods blues, and Southern hipster jive in a heady brew of fantastic musicianship…
Through a career spanning a half-century, Mose Allison has been known mostly for his bluesy hipster vocals and comical compositions like "Your Mind is on Vacation, But Your Mouth is Working Overtime. But he's also a fine bebop-flavored pianist who even spent time back in the '50s in the rhythm sections of such jazz titans as Stan Getz, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims.
In 1999, Collectables released I Don't Worry About a Thing/Mose Alive!, which contained two complete albums – I Don't Worry About a Thing (1962, originally released on Atlantic) and Mose Alive! (1965, originally released on Atlantic) – by Mose Allison on one compact disc.