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Baker's Dozen

Gold Dust Of Our Musical Worth: Ian Anderson's Favourite Albums
Barnaby Smith , June 6th, 2013 06:47

Ahead of a one-off show at the Royal Albert Hall, the Jethro Tull man picks out his thirteen finest albums


Mose Allison - Swingin’ Machine
Many of our generation of white, British, middle-class musicians who went to art college all knew about Mose Allison from ‘Parchman Farm’ and one or two other songs in the early Sixties that had been done by British R&B bands. So I knew a little bit about him but I suppose like many people, assumed he was a black guy. He turned out to be a Mississippi white guy with pasty legs and an obvious understanding of jazz and its traditions. He did most of his work in a piano trio with a bass player and a drummer, and he sang in this very laconic and down-home way.

I wouldn’t say his songs never touched on romantic lyrics but they were often about stuff. About real life – that’s what gave him credibility and a high level of authenticity, because you knew this wasn’t a guy making it up, this was a guy who had lived the things he sang about. I, like many people of my generation, was struck by his work. The Who recorded at least one of his songs. I expect today there are a few younger musicians who will know about Mose Allison in the same way they will know about Roy Harper.