Saturday, May 26, 2012

This is a photo of me with Mose Allison. The show was arranged by bassist extraordinaire Bruce Crawley. I had learned of Mose through my love of the Who. I was a fan of the Who’s early catalog of hits such as I Can’t Explain, I Can See for Miles, Call Me Lightening and the LP’s Tommy and Who’s Next. But it was The Who’s Live at Leeds LP that brought Young Man’s Blues into my consciousness. I loved the song, it seemed to speak directly to me. I saw it as a Mose Allison masterpiece. So, Crawley hooked me up with Mose; got his phone number and I gave him a call. We arranged a date that would not interfere with a gig he was doing in Flint the same month. There was this acknowledged courtesy of only booking a piggy back show with permission from the venue or promoter. The Flint venue agreed to permit the gig at White’s Bar as we were rather intimate (less than 100 seating). I was excited. Only thing is, I thought Mose was a black man. When he arrived I thought he was the manager, I asked about Mose and he said, “I’m Mose.” Oops. The Brush/Lopez Trio and knocked it out smooth and in the pocket – great band. I loved the song Jack - Brush’s tribute to Jack Bruske.  Mose took the stage and started out with an instrumental filled with stops and starts and tempo changes called Excursion and Interlude, so far so good. He had a cool sloppy piano technique - rolling at breakneck speed and taking no prisoners. He played a ton of songs from his vast catalog including Kidding in the Square, Parchman Farm, You Call it Jogging (But I Call it Running Around), Ever Since the World Ended, I Ain’t Got Nothing But the Blues,  Trouble in Mind and Monster ID. His lyrics run deep with irony and irreverence. He’s a stoned philosopher and teller of truths. I loved his style. He was already an elderly man and he would speak up and tell the truth without rancor or hostility. Case in point; I was taking several photos with my cheap drug store throwaway when Mose stopped the music looked me straight in the eye and said, “stop it, I’m not a model.” I shrugged all red faced and embarrassed but Mose made it right by having us do a photo together. Sweet genius. The Kinks leader Ray Davies once said that Mose was the missing link between blues and jazz and Van Morrison did an entire album of Mose Allison’s songs. After the show Mose and the band  sat quietly in the storage room at White’s -  the bassist and drummer never made eye contact. Mose looked tired. He accepted his pay, looked at it for a moment and put it in his pocket. Sometimes intimacy can be too much to ask.

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