Everybody's Cryin' Mercy Mose Allison & Bettye LaVette

Musical director:
Vocals, grand piano:
Vocals, guitars, piano:
Patrick Warren
Levon Henry
Earl Harvin

After the opening concert fireworks

Mose Allison was once asked by somebody why he hadn’t become a superstar like Bob Dylan say, or Randy Newman or even Mick Jagger – all of whom admire him greatly. His reply was as laconic and dry as one of his songs, »I was simply lucky!«
The two guests in the first Century of Song weekend have been spared the hordes of screaming fans during their careers – both Mose Allison and Bettye LaVette are musicians’ musicians, the idols of their colleagues.  Mose Allison was born in the Mississippi delta and is a more unusual kinds of Blues musician – a white man, who earned his living in the cotton fields. He worked with B. B. King as pianist and vocalist; The Who sang his songs (Young Man Blues), as well as The Clash, J.J. Cale, Elvis Costello and Van Morrison.

Bettye LaVette could melt a polar icecap with the urgency in her voice. At sixteen she recorded her first record (My Man – He’s a Lovin’ Man) and almost immediately went out on tour with Ben F. King, Otis Redding and James Brown. She occasionally made a record, but her biggest success has always been in front of an audience. She didn’t become a star til later, when Joe Henry produced her album I’ve Got My Own Hell To Raise, which has fantastic songs by Fiona Apple, Sinéad O’Connor and Lucinda Williams. Authentic. Compulsive. Intensive.

»Mose Allison and Bettye LaVette – the former a bonafide legend, the latter ... one in waiting – are artists who have both used a blues tonality to root unique and hard-wonviews of life. Mr. Allison has been one of jazz music's greatest lyricists for six decades, and his broad approach references both Ellington and Willie Dixon in equal measure. Ms. LaVette continues to be one of the most intense interpretters of a raw but urbane style of deep soul, infusing the music's classic sounds with an unfailingly modern stance.«
Joe Henry


A RuhrTriennale production