Mose Vinson

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Mose Vinson
Born 1917
Died November 16, 2002
Genres Boogie-woogie, blues, jazz
Occupation(s) Pianist, singer
Instruments Piano, vocals
Years active 1930s–2002
Labels Sun Records, Bear Family Records, Wolf Records
Associated acts James Cotton

Mose Vinson (June 2 or August 7, 1917 – November 16, 2002)[1] was an American boogie-woogie, blues and jazz pianist and singer. His best known recordings were "Blues with a Feeling" and "Sweet Root Man". Over his lengthy career, Vinson worked with various musicians including Booker T. Laury and James Cotton.[2]


Vinson was born in Holly Springs, Mississippi.[3] He taught himself how to play the piano as a child. In his teenage years, Vinson started playing his own style of barrelhouse boogie-woogie in local juke joints in Mississippi and Tennessee, incorporating both blues and jazz in his repertoire.[4] In 1932, following a chance meeting with Sunnyland Slim, Vinson relocated from Mississippi to Memphis, Tennessee.[5]

In the 1930s and 1940s, Vinson continued to play at local juke house and rural community parties.[4] By the early 1950s, Vinson found employment as a custodian at the Taylor Boarding Home, where artists often stayed whilst recording next door at Sun Records studios.[6] In the studios, Sam Phillips occasionally requested that Vinson accompany musicians.[3] These included James Cotton on "Cotton Crop Blues" (1954), and Jimmy DeBerry on the latter's "Take a Little Chance".[6] Phillips also allowed Vinson to record some tracks of his own, although these were not released until the 1980s.[3] Vinson recorded two versions of "Forty-Four", one retitled "Worry You Off My Mind", and the other as "My Love Has Gone" (also known as "Come See Me"). Session musicians on these recordings included Walter Horton, Joe Hill Louis and Joe Willie Wilkins.[7]

After a period of lesser musical activity, by the early 1980s, the Center for Southern Folklore had enlisted Vinson to perform at various cultural events, and at local schools. He became a regular at the Center, where he played and taught for twenty years.[3] In 1990, his contribution towards the album, Memphis Piano Blues Today, was recorded at his home.[7]

In 1997, his first full-length CD compilation album was released via the Center.[3] Declining health, however, stopped him playing not long before his death.

Mose Vinson died of diabetes, in November 2002 in Memphis, at the age of 85.

In 2007, the Memphis Music and Heritage Festival was dedicated to his memory.[4]

Date confusion[edit]

Historically, there has been some confusion over both the birth and death dates for Vinson. Allmusic quotes August 7, 1917 and November 30, 2002;[8] whilst the Encyclopedia of Popular Music cites August 7, 1917 and November 16, 2002;[7] yet another on-line source specialising in death details quotes June 2, 1917 and November 23, 2002.[2] The information contained in Blues: A Regional Experience by Eric S. Leblanc (author), Bob L. Eagle (contributor), published in 2013, is deemed to be the most reliable and definitive to date.[by whom?]




Album title Record label Year of release
Memphis Piano Blues Today Wolf Records 1990
Mose Vinson: Piano Man Center for Southern Folklore 1997


See also[edit]


  1. ^ LeBlanc, Eric S; Eagle, Bob L. (May 2013). Blues: A Regional Experience (1st ed.). Praeger. pp. 224–457. ISBN 978-0313344237. The authors give a birthdate of June 2, 1917 "near Holly Springs," Mississippi, but also note that according to the SSDI records, his birthdate was listed as August 7, 1917. Accordingly, they note that the date of death is taken from the Tennessee Death Records Index 
  2. ^ a b Doc Rock. "The Dead Rock Stars Club 2002 July to December". Retrieved 2014-01-27. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Beale Street Brass Note Walk of Fame". Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Center for Southern Folklore". Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  5. ^ Lisle, Andria. "Local Beat". Memphis Flyer. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  6. ^ a b Cheseborough, Steve (2009). Blues Traveling – The Holy Sites of Delta Blues (3rd ed.). United States: Upress. pp. 34 & 41. ISBN 978-1-60473-124-8. 
  7. ^ a b c Encyclopedia of Popular Music. "Mose Vinson biography". Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  8. ^ Dahl, Bill. "Mose Vinson". Allmusic. Retrieved October 14, 2010. 
  9. ^ "Memphis Piano Blues Today – Booker T. Laury,Mose Vinson | Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. October 4, 1990. Retrieved 2014-01-27. 

External links[edit]