Mose Vinson | Mr. Boogie Woogie: The Music of Mose Vinson

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Mr. Boogie Woogie - film

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Blues: Piano Blues Blues: Memphis Blues Moods: Featuring Piano
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Mr. Boogie Woogie: The Music of Mose Vinson

by Mose Vinson

Bonus tracks from DVD of film "Mr. Boogie Woogie," a documentary about barrelhouse pianist Mose Vinson from Memphis, recorded in the late 70's.
Genre: Blues: Piano Blues
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  Song Share Time Download
1. Ole Blues Jumped the Rabbit
3:14 $0.99
2. Memphis Blue
2:29 $0.99
3. Pinetop's Boogie Woogie
2:31 $0.99
4. Why Do You Have to Cry
3:22 $0.99
5. Hello Memphis, How Do You Do?
3:30 $0.99
6. Bugle Call
1:59 $0.99
7. Mr. Freddie Blues (Santa Fe)
2:11 $0.99
8. Just a Closer Walk with Thee
2:03 $0.99
9. You Ain't Too Old
2:45 $0.99
10. Reach Across the Sky for You
1:58 $0.99
11. Careless Love
1:37 $0.99
12. Darktown Strutters' Ball
1:51 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Recordings by barrelhouse pianist Mose Vinson, "Mr. Boogie Woogie." Bonus tracks from the documentary by Alexis Krasilovsky, filmed in the late 70's in Memphis.
"We called him 'Mr. Boogie Woogie," Memphis Slim explains, in his affectionate tribute to his less successful colleague, "because that's what he played." 
He might have expanded his repertoire and world view - like Memphis Slim, who'd go on to earn a special title from France's Ministry of Culture - but there were two strikes against Mose.  He liked to drink, and he was afraid of flying.  Alcoholism kept him in financial and physical trouble, gaining as much of a reputation for not showing up for local gigs as for his transcendent piano playing. The delicacy and sensitivity of Mose Vinson's music could make the tourists in hangouts like Blues Alley -- which were also full of the aromas of succulent barbeque -- soar to the far reaches of the upper scales of the keyboard as if on an angelic journey.  But his ability to play at home for the sake of playing and practice crashed when Mose could no longer pay his bills and had to rent out his piano to folks like me.  I recorded his songs in 1977 in the former gun shop that had become my studio, after I'd left New York to fully immerse myself in my own and others' blues. 
  I was also intent on recording Mose Vinson's music for the soundtrack of a documentary for the National Endowment of the Arts' Folk Arts Program, entitled "Mr. Boogie Woogie," that I was directing for Ann Rickey, President of Real to Reel Productions in downtown Memphis. I had met Ann at a film festival in Nashville, and she had convinced me to help her and Walter Baldwin co-direct a feature documentary on the history of Beale Street the previous year.  Mose Vinson's music was the thread that held together our interviews with Nate Thomas, Fess Hulbert, B.B. King, Prince Gabe, Ma Rainey II, Little Laura Dukes, Gus Cannon, Rufus Thomas, and many others -- in "Beale Street," which also explored the last march of Martin Luther King, Jr. before the assassination. 
   When given the opportunity to focus on just one Memphis musician for another documentary, Mose Vinson was my top choice, both for the achingly beautiful sound of his singing on "Blues Jumped a Rabbit," and for the mystery of what had held him back from national and international fame, like other Memphis musicians such as Bobby Blue Bland, Memphis Slim, and B.B. King.  Just before the start of our scheduled production, however, Mose broke his leg.  It was a cold winter for the South -- the Memphis sidewalks were paved with ice.  There was no way my producer was going to risk our carrying the 35 lb. JVC deck and heavy light and camera cases over the treacherous streets.  I was a tempestuous 20-something in those days:  I remember throwing a wooden tripod across the linoleum floor of Real to Real in my frustration and impatience.  Mose's leg was ensconced in plaster till spring.
  Eventually however, the thaw did come, the cast came off, and the buds came back to the cottonwood trees in Mississippi.  We drove down to Holly Springs to document the dilapidated house near cotton fields where Mose Vinson grew up, as well as filming him in his house in Memphis and in the clubs where he performed, followed by his Sunday gigs in church.  We also interviewed some of the people who played with him, or in the same clubs.
  I fictionalized some of this in my novel, "Sex and the Cyborg Goddess" (Part Two: "In Black and White), published by Rafael Film under the name Alexis Rafael.  I hope you enjoy reading it!

Alexis Krasilovsky
Los Angeles



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