From the YouTube Music Video Archives: I Don’t Worry About a Thing by Mose Allison

Someone recently uploaded Allison’s PBS special from the 1970s, and every song featured is well worth hearing – because they are great tunes, but also because there are some interesting versions among them. This is one of Allison’s better known songs, with some fearsome jamming on the piano that I don’t remember from the original recording.

I first heard of Allison when Van Morrison made an album of his songs called Tell Me Something back in 1996 (the song I was taken with back, Benediction, is well worth a listen). A lot of famous musicians have given a shout out to Allison, even if they don’t record an entire album of his songs. He’s also popped up in a few movies: in The Score (a decent sting movie with Robert De Niro and Edward Norton) I was happy to spot him noodling away on the keyboard during a scene in a Montreal jazz club. Young Man Blueshas become a standard for The Who, including this version from Live at Leeds, still easily recognizable as an Alison tune through Daltrey’s vocals. Even better is this version from Chicago in 1979 – not so easily recognizable as an Allison tune at this point.

Bob Dylan had this to say about Mose Allison when introducing Lost Mind for one of his Theme Time Radio Hour shows:

“Here’s a man that some call the William Faulkner of jazz. Now I’ve got to tell you, I’ve heard this guy play since the 60s, and I’ve never heard anybody call him the William Faulkner of jazz. But there it is in a book. I mean, somebody just wrote that; I can’t imagine anyone calling him the William Faulkner of jazz! I mean that would be like calling Garnet Mimms the Gabriel Garcia Marquez of soul music. It’s just not done. I’m getting excited over nothin’, let me just play the record. By the way, I consider William Faulkner to be the Mose Allison of literature. Here they are, together again, Mose Allison and William Faulkner, singing the Percy Mayfield song ‘Lost Mind.’”

As I said, they’re all worth listening to, but if you aren’t familiar with Allison you’ll want to hear Your Mind Is On Vacation. And here is a fine song, I’m Alright, from his latest album The Way of the World, released earlier this year. It’s a great song, he sounds great, and the man just turned 82 years old.

If this life is driving you to drink / Sitting round what’s the use what to think / Well I’ve got some consolation / Give it to you if I might / You know I don’t worry about a thing because / Nothing’s gonna turn out right


  1. Jonathan Webb says

    Allison is totally unique and always marched to his own beat.

    Thanks Quin. Great stuff.

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