Just a quick note to say Mose Allison did not disappoint in his SF Jazz Festival gig at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts this week.
At 84, the timeless one shows no signs of slowing down, entertaining the crowd with renditions of “Your Mind Is On Vacation” and John Loudermilk’s “You Call It Jogging, I Call It Running Around.”
The performance made a bookend of sorts to the SF Jazz concert by Randy Newman earlier in the season: two singer-songwriters at the top of their game, both with built-in bullshit detectors.
“Life is short/Talk is cheap/Don’t make promises you can’t keep,” Allison crooned. “If talk was criminal/You’d lead a life of crime.”
Although this Southern man is far from a political polemicist, his version of “Everybody’s Crying Mercy” took on increased relevance given the Occupy San Francisco protests going on a few blocks away from the Yerba Buena Center from the Arts, and across the bay in Oakland, where an Iraq war veteran was critically wounded, after apparently being hit by a tear gas cannister thrown by Oakland police.
“I can’t believe the things I’m saying/I’m wondering about the things I’ve heard,” Allison noted, in the bluesy, down tempo number. “A bad enough situation is sure enough getting worse/Everybody’s crying justice, as long as there’s business first.”
The quiet piano player, accompanied only by his bassist and drummer, didn’t need to emphasize the point.
“Everybody’s crying peace on earth/Just as soon as we win this war,” he sang, picking out some minor notes. ” You don’t have to go to the movies to see something plain absurd/Everybody’s crying mercy when they don’t know the meaning of the word.”