Reviews Zone

Mose Allison: The Complete Atlantic/Elektra Albums (1962-1983) Strawberry Records (30th July 2021)




5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)



This really is a bumper box set: 12 albums across six CDs. Mose Allison. Yes please….

Covering the dozen albums Mose released between 162 and 1983 on the Atlantic and Elektra labels. Good news: This set is not padded out by “Best Of” or “Greatest Hits” compilations, which of course, duplicated tracks from his studio albums.

On Strawberry Records, this is the first box set to gather together all of these albums from this period. Two original LPs per Cd, in chronological order.

Produced by Bob Fisher, who also penned the sleeve notes essay which covers Mose Allison’s entire career, and includes quotes and endorsements from the likes of Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Pete Townshend, Georgie Fame, Van Morrison and many others who were inspired by his music.

The booklet also carries complete recording details and supporting personnel for each album, plus various advertisements, reviews and news stories from music industry magazines.

124 tracks. Disc one: “I Don’t Worry ‘Bout A Thing” and “Swingin’ Machine”. Disc two: “The Word From Mose” and “Wild Man On The Loose”.

Third CD: “Mose Alive” and “I’ve Been Doin’ Some Thinking”. CD # four: “Hello There, Universe”, and “Western Man”.

Disc five: The live album, “Mose In Your Ear” and his last album for Atlantic, “Your Mind Is On Vacation”.

The final disc of the six delivers his two albums from Elektra: “Middle Class White Boy”  and a third live set recorded in 1982, “Lessons In Living”; recorded at the famed Montreux jazz festival in Switzerland, with an all-star band backing him of Lou Donaldson, Jack Bruce, Eric Gale and Billy Cobham.

The legendary US jazz and blues singer, songwriter, pianist and trumpeter died in 2016 at the age of 89.  His early career saw him playing in New York with jazz stars such as Stan Getz, Al Cohn, and Zoot Sims, along with producing numerous records.

He influenced many big names, including The Who’s Pete Townshend, who recorded Allison’s “Young Man Blues” for the Who’s famous album, Live at Leeds in 1970. Many artists have covered Mose Allison material, including Bonnie Raitt, Van Morrison, Georgie Fame, Leon Russell and John Mayall.

The Pixies wrote the song “Allison” as a tribute. He is cited as an influence by Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones and Tom Waits, and Pete Townshend. 

He released at least 32 albums from 1957 to 2009, plus a dozen compilations and the records with other artists where Mose was a sideman.

A unique, one-off artist, who was ahead of Dylan with his social criticism in his songs, and even ahead of Randy Newman for satire in his lyrics. This superb box set is a one-stop solution to introduction to this timeless music, or adding all dozen albums to your collection if you are already a fan of Mose Allison. Retaoling at circa £35 for 12 albums on six CDs, what’s not to like?


By Christopher Weston



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