Should It Stay or Should It Go?

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

History, In Order

Mose Allison
Originally uploaded by bsglaser.
Artist: Mose Allison
Album: The Best of Mose Allison
Source: Traded for a book

One of the ways I'm blowing my own mind just a little as I go through The Beast has to with the fact that I seem to be able to remember the circumstances behind the acquistion of nearly every CD here. I mean, there are over 1,500 pices, and while I'm sure I'll hit a few blind spots, as of right now it's all clear as day in my mind how they came to me. Contrast this with the fact that I do not know the number for my savings account (I memorized my checking account number, and that seemed good enough), and you can see where I might be a little alarmed.

I'm not really surprised, tho - I've always had a talent for retaining ridiculously trivial information, seemingly at the expense of "useful" stuff.

In fact, the first few years of The Beast's existence were underwritten by a feat of trivial memory. From the time of my first CD purchases the summer after 8th grade until somewhere around my junior year of college, I had The Beast arranged by order of purchase. It probably started out as just a lazy move (put the next new one at the end of the shelf), but it turned into a semi-OCD thing as the collection grew into the multiple 100s, and I not only still kept them in purchase order, but I knew where each piece went.

No, for real: when it would get boxed up to be moved, I could (and, of course, would) put it back in "order." Friends in college who were onto my system would try to fool me by rearranging things when I was out of the room; I would come back, and get it all back where it should go.

It was almost a sad day when I decided it had to be alphabetized. The truth was I was probably topping over 500, and it was just getting hard to find stuff. Still, there was something nice about being able to look over the history of my musical acquisitions, to be able to see phases and new loves and old standbys all laid out chronologically. They formed a sort of personal history that, all these years later, I don't think I'd be able to put back into place.

This disc came through a rare trade. Lee wanted my copy of Thomas Pynchon's Vineland, and he offered this up in exchange. All I knew about Mose Allison at that point was that my beloved Pixies wrote a song about him ("Allison," from Bossanova); between that and Lee's recommendation, I was sold. Once I listened to it, I knew I had met a new love to file into the boxes of my musical history book.

(P.S. - I also have a semi-funny Mose story. One year my folks took me to see Mose play at Zanzibar Blue for my birthday. He was seated at the bar as we squeezed into the club. When we got to the table, my dad claimed not to have noticed him, even though we'd practically bumped right into him. When I described what Mose was wearing, Dad looked at me with surprise and asked, "You mean to tell me Mose Allison is white?")

SISOSIG? A keeper by a long shot. Mose is a guy with lots of highlights in a long career, and a good-sized best-of suits him well. All of his biggest tunes - "Your Mind is on Vacation," "Your Molecular Structure," "I Don't Worrry About a Thing" - are hear, plus a few keepers that aren't as famous. At 20 tracks, it's a just-right dose of this seventh son of a seventh son.


  • Anyone who sings about molecular structures can't be half bad.

    By Anonymous Eric, at 2:45 PM  

  • Mose may be white on the outside, but he had "soul" before Barry or Phil ever realized what that was.

    By Anonymous gil hodges, at 6:25 PM  

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