This iconoclastic performer has sometimes been described as a country blues player, perhaps leading to images of a blind man standing on a corner playing a guitar with a bottleneck slide. In reality, Mose Allison
is from a much more cosmopolitan tradition, and the country blues adage comes from attempts to describe the sound he gets playing light, swinging jazz with a distinctly rural, Southern influence. This album, from one of many he recorded for Atlantic, actually contains examples of him taking material from the real country blues heritage and reworking it into his own style, to brilliant effect. His "New Parchman Farm" is a fantastic piece, as he changes what was once a stark, depressing prison blues into something else again. Perhaps this version would be more suited to white-collar criminals such as the Watergate mob, basking in upper-class prisons complete with tennis courts. At any rate, this is a performance that only the most hardened individual would be able to listen to without a smile cracking their face. Like most of Allison
's releases, this one suffers from a handful of tracks that although not quite throwaway, surely lack the substance of the best songs here.