Iggy Pop and the Pixies’ Frank Black marked what would have been Mose Allison’s 92nd birthday with unique takes on two tracks by jazz-blues great, “If You’re going to the City” and “Numbers on Paper.”
Both will appear on an upcoming Allison tribute album, If You’re Going to the City, out November 29th via Fat Possum.
On his rendition of the tribute album’s title track, Iggy Pop puts a delightfully goofy spin on Allison’s 1968 cut. The brassy flourishes from the original are still there — if not slightly amped up — but instead of a rollicking piano boogie, the song boasts a synth-bass groove that bends and stretches the song in fascinating ways as Iggy Pop drawls, “If you’re going to the city/There’s one thing I hope/Don’t take money from a woman or mess around with dope.”
As for Black, he instinctually turns Allison’s smokey 1998 ballad “Numbers on Paper” into a dead ringer for an early Nineties indie rock tune. The guitars are jangly and slack, although a woozy harmonica and some tasteful vibraphone plunks help the cover retain the jazzy core of the original.
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“Both musically and lyrically Mose is more grounded than most, and, at the same time, existentially beyond everything else out there,” Black said in a statement. “‘Numbers On Paper’ is a relevant song to humanity at whatever point in the time space continuum, or ‘spime’ as Mose says, that you want to place that song. It’s classic Mose, funny and heavy.”
Along with Iggy Pop and Black, If You’re Going to the City will feature contributions from Taj Mahal, Jackson Browne, Chrissie Hynde, Bonnie Raitt, Loudon Wainwright III and Richard Thompson. The record will also boast collaborations from Ben Harper and Charlie Musselwhite, the Tippo Allstars and Fiona Apple, and Elvis Costello with Allison’s daughter, Amy Allison.