Mose Allison Sings has been one of my favorite albums since my senior year in high school. I still listen to it as much as any album I own, and I still love it just as much. (It's also been reissued over the years as Seventh Son and Mose Allison's Greatest Hits.)

The album defies categorization. Mose is a fine be-bop piano player, a clever, ironic songwriter, and an occasional singer with an infectious, down-home style uniquely his own. Released as a new, original album in 1963, Sings is in fact a thirteen-track compilation of vocals drawn from six primarily instrumental jazz trio albums Mose recorded between 1957 and 1959. Despite its pedigree, the album is remarkably consistent and cohesive, appealing strongly to fans of blues, jazz, and, notably for this website, rock and soul music.

Although the album never charted, it gained considerable publicity in rock circles from Pete Townshend, who wrote liner notes for one of its many reissues, and whose Who covered Mose's "Young Man Blues" so memorably on Live at Leeds. Other notable tracks are Willie Dixon's "Seventh Son," Sonny Boy Williamson's "Eyesight to the Blind" (which Townshend incorporated into Tommy), Ray Charles's "Baby, Let Me Hold Your Hand," Percy Mayfield's "Lost Mind," and Mose's own "Parchman Farm." There's not a weak track on the album.

Mose Allison Sings is a great album that exemplifies the challenge of defining genre boundaries and, indeed, the world of rock and soul music. Forced to choose a genre for my CD database, I assigned it to vocalists. As a result, it falls outside even the very broad umbrella of the Genre Group, "Rock & Soul Alley Focus." Because I also labeled it a compilation rather than an original album, it doesn't show up in reports filtered on original albums, either. Boundaries and categories are often useful and occasionally even necessary, but don't try to tell that to Mose Allison!