Personnel: Mose Allison (vocals, trumpet, piano); Addison Farmer, Taylor La Fargue (bass); Ronnie Free, Frank Isola, Nick Stabulas (drums).
Recorded at Van Gelder Studios, Hackensack, New Jersey from 1957-1959. Includes original release liner notes by Pete Townshend from the MOSE ALLISON double album on Prestige (24002).
Digitally remastered by Phil De Lancie (1988, Fantasy Studios, Berkeley, California).
This compilation presents the best of the material Allison recorded for Prestige betwwen 1957 and 1959. It's plain that he was already a fully formed talent. His prickly piano runs and subtly swinging vocal style where firmly in place. The deadpan quality of Allison's vocal delivery was part Southern drawl, part hipster cool, and part sophisticated ironist.
Though many of the songs included here are covers of jazz standards and blues tunes--Mose was yet to pen many of his sharpest satirical pieces--he makes every song sound like it was created for him. He gives a jazzy edge to Willie Dixon's blues classics "Seventh Son" and "Eyesight to the Blind." His own "Young Man's Blues" and "If You Live" are based on blues tradition, but full of very modern existential foreboding. Pete Townshend's liner notes underscore the importance Allison had to a generation of tradition-hungry '60s rockers.