Luther Allison was an American blues guitarist. He was born in Widener, Arkansas, and moved with his family to Chicago in 1951. He taught himself guitar and began listening to blues extensively. Three years later he began hanging around outside blues nightclubs with the hopes of being invited to perform. He played with Howlin' Wolf's band and backed James Cotton.
In 1999, Collectables released I Don't Worry About a Thing/Mose Alive!, which contained two complete albums – I Don't Worry About a Thing (1962, originally released on Atlantic) and Mose Alive! (1965, originally released on Atlantic) – by Mose Allison on one compact disc.
Through a career spanning a half-century, Mose Allison has been known mostly for his bluesy hipster vocals and comical compositions like "Your Mind is on Vacation, But Your Mouth is Working Overtime. But he's also a fine bebop-flavored pianist who even spent time back in the '50s in the rhythm sections of such jazz titans as Stan Getz, Al Cohn and Zoot Sims.
Bernard Allison got some valuable advice from his father, Luther, before the latter's death in 1997: "Don't be afraid to go outside of the blues," he said. "Don't let them label you like they did me." Bernard has obviously taken that advice to heart; his solo albums have been a rich mixture of rock, funk, blues, and R&B. Most of his recordings have been released in Europe, where he has made his home for a decade. The release of Higher Power comes a little while after his return to the States, and reflects a lifetime of both good times and bad. The album's most noticeable lyrical element is the recurring theme of recovery from addiction – "I've Learned My Lesson" (from which the album's explicitly AA-derived title is taken) and "New Life I'm In" are two of the most explicit blues-based odes to a 12-step program since Stevie Ray Vaughan's "Wall of Denial." On the funkier, less pious side are the soulful "Raggedy and Dirty" (charmingly, he pronounces that word "raggly") and the funky, vaguely misogynistic "Woman Named Trouble".
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…