Mose Allison

Middle Class White Boy

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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. His work on electric and acoustic piano here is as startling as ever and his songwriting is canny, wildly swinging, funny, and biting. The opener, "How Does It Feel to Be Good Looking," is a case in point, with a fantastic electric piano solo. The title track is a choogling shuffle that walks the line between blues and bop. "Back Down South" is a cooking bebop blues that pits Upchurch and Allison against one another in some startling contrapuntal interplay that's firmly in the groove. Through these 11 tracks, Allison shines and the band cooks. It's as welcome a comeback as one could hope for.

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