Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Way of the World

It only seems right, since this blog is named after a Mose Allison song, that I take note of the fact that Mr. Allison's first new album since 2002 (and first studio album since 1998!) was released last week. I've spun The Way of the World several times in the past seven days, and, for what it's worth, Jeffery approves.

The Way of the World was produced by Joe Henry, and it has a somewhat different sound from anything Mose has issued before, with plenty of slide guitars, loose snares, and an overall vibe that is less "jazzy" that usual for Mose. The album is short - just over 35 minutes - but it seems "complete." There is one instrumental, "Crush," and if you have heard any live Mose you'll have an idea of what that track sounds like. In addition to new material, there are two standards, one sung as a duet with daughter Amy, and a couple of older Mose songs. Luckily these are not songs that he has performed to death, and they're two I've always liked: "Let It Come Down" and "Ask Me Nice." There's one song written by Amy (sung by Mose) - "Everybody Thinks You're an Angel," which I didn't much like at first, but which has grown on me. Mose also sings a couple of blues written by others - I really like this version of Roosevelt Sykes' "Some Right, Some Wrong" - its minimalist lyrics could have been written by Allison himself. The best of the new songs, in my opinion, is "Modest Proposal." Maybe I like it so much because it seems to indicate that Mr. Allison and I have similar ideas about how the universe works; those who are more traditionally devout might not like it very much.

Mose's voice is that of an 82-year-old, but it was always an unusual, personal singing voice anyway. I'll have to live with this album a while before I have a feel for where it stands in the Mose Allison canon, but it's certainly a worthy addition. I hope there are more to come.

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