Music » Livewire

Mose Allison

Thursday, August 6, and Friday, August 7, at Nighttown, Cleveland Heights.

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Those British Invasion bands knew a good thing when they heard it. During the '60s, any young Brit digging blues and jazz was on to Mose Allison, the American vocalist, pianist, and composer. Georgie Fame's vocal on the hit "Yeh Yeh" was basically a knockoff of Allison's cool, almost conversational style. On the flip side, the Yardbirds' blistering rendition of "I'm Not Talking" played out the rave-up potential in Allison's jazz-accented blues attack. Both Van Morrison and Brian Auger would pick up on the similar attributes.

But the legend's most indelible mark is his cleverly crafted lyrics on the tragicomedy that is life. There exist few ironies and contradictions that over the past five decades haven't been treated to Allison's razor-sharp wit. Love, greed, prejudice, peace, whatever -- Mose had his say and gave it a most distinctive groove in the process.

Top it off with Allison's cliché-free blues piano, and it's not hard to see why those cats in the U.K. -- and fans worldwide -- flipped for this important American artist.

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