V/A ‘If You’re Going To The Country: A Tribute to Mose Allison’


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Mose Allison is possibly best known these days through his association with Van Morrison, who released Tell Me Something: The Songs of Mose Allison in 1996. Morrison probably gave Allison’s career a late boost, presenting him as a somewhat kindred spirit, albeit having a few more years on him, and hopefully a more benign presence than Van the Man, if even harder to classify.

Generally filed under jazz, though blues was probably closer to his idiom, here we have him being covered by a slew of largely rock music gentry from the past few decades. These are fine songs and, if these covers succeed in pointing attention back to the originals, then at least part of the work of this collection has been done.

The CD collects 15 performances of Allison’s compositions, some popular, most fairly obscure, by an eclectic lineup that ranges from punkers Iggy Pop and Frank Black to bluesmen Taj Mahal, Charlie Musselwhite with Ben Harper and singer-songwriters Richard Thompson, Jackson Browne, Robbie Fulks and Peter Case. The Clash even recorded Allison’s “Look Here.” Few artists have inspired such a diverse batch of musicians.

Some like Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Loudon Wainwright lll and Pete Townshend appear in an hour-long 2005 documentary on Allison included in this splendid CD/DVD package.