BORN: 29th March 1909,Polk County Texas.
DEATH: 1st January 1967.
STYLES: Boogie Woogie,Blues,Rock ‘n’ roll,Country,Gospel,Western Swing,Bluegrass.
INFLUENCES: Cliff Bruner,Bessie Smith,Floyd Tillman,Jimmie Rodgers,
Memphis Minnie,Bob Wills,Blind Lemon Jefferson,Big Joe Turner,Roy
Brown,Milton Browne,Georgia South,Roy Acuff,Carter Family,W.C Handy.
SIMILAR ARTISTS: Jerry Lee Lewis,Merrill E. Moore,Chuck Miller.
ARTISTS MOON INFLUENCED: Jerry Lee Lewis,Merrill E. Moore,Willie
Nelson,BR5-49,Johnny Horton,Jim Reeves,Carl Perkins,Sonny Burgess, Jim Reeves,Charlie Rich,Marty Robbins,Axel Zwingenberger..
ARTISTS MOON DID SONGS BY: Jerry Lee Lewis,Bessie Smith,Kokomo
Arnold,Bob Wills,Memphis Minnie,Hank Williams,Henry Glover,
Leadbelly,Tiny Bradshaw,Jack Yellen,Foster & Rice,Nat King Cole,
Roy Acuff,W.C Handy,Georgia South,Carter Family.
Aubrey Wilson ‘Moon’ Mullican was born in Polk County,Texas in late
March 1909. His upbringing was strictly Religious & his life would be
a constant struggle between this upbringing & his love for the ‘Devil’
s Music’ - Boogie Woogie blues. His family were comfortably well off
When he Aubrey was 8,his parents bought an organ so that his
daughters could learn church music,but soon young Aubrey got his
hands on it & played boogie & blues learned from black workers on the
family farm. He soon left home to play piano in various clubs,where
he earned the nickname ‘Moon’ because of he being in his teens &
being out so late each night.
Moon grew up listening to a diverse mixture.His earliest influences
were - as previously stated - blues-playing black guitarists who
were sharecroppers on the family farm.Also,Moon heard the popular
blues artists of the day such as Bessie Smith & Blind Lemon
Jefferson.Recordings like "Sister Kate" & "Old Joe Turner blues"
proved this.Jimmie Rodgers was also a major influence on Moon and
the artist who inspired him most as a white blues singer.Bob Wills'
& Milton Browne's bands inspired Moon's Western Swing side and
made room for Moon to do a bluesier form of Western Swing.Moon's
influences also included Cajun,bluegrass,gospel & R&B.
Like his admirer Jerry Lee Lewis later,Moon Mullican played piano
for Church services but as with Jerry Lee’s playing,the preacher
wasn’t all that impressed - especially when he did Bessie Smith’s
‘St. Louis blues’ to open Service one day!!
Instead,Moon found plenty work & encouragement from various Western
Swing bands - the fact he was an exceptional singer & pianist,was
extremely versatile & had a different style enticed many like Cliff
Bruner to hire him as vocalist & pianist. With such bands as Bruners,
the Modern Mountaineers & Buddy Jones’,Moon had regional hit like
‘Pipeliner blues’ in the early 1940s.
Further information on Western Swing:
For information on oldtime music in general:
Oldtime country and blues
From day one,Moon proved to be an excellent blues singer."Old Joe
Turner blues","New falling rain blues" & "Kangaroo blues" are 3 early examples of this fact.These 3 tracks remain some of the highlights of Cliff Bruner's band's music.Also,the more countrified blues of "Truck driver's blues" would be very suited to the '70s - '80s CB/trucker movement in country music.
Soon,Mullican decided to go solo & had many big hits in the 1940s
like ‘Jole Blon’’ & ‘Sweeter than the flowers’;he also ventured into
blues territory on tracks like Memphis Minnie’s ‘What’s the matter
with the mill’,his own ‘Triflin’ woman blues’ & Todd Rhodes’ ‘Rocket
to the moon’. He was also excellent on country ballads like
‘Downstream’. His biggest hit & most influential song was 1950s
‘I’ll sail my ship alone’,which has become a country,blues & boogie
Moon had a big impact on 1950s rock ‘n’ roll & can lay claim to be
the first white artist to do it. One of his admirers was Jerry Lee
Lewis - another outstanding & versatile singer-pianist,who covered
Moon’s ‘I’ll sail my ship alone’ & ‘I was sorta wonderin’’. Jerry Lee
passed on Moon’s influence to Charlie Rich & Mickey Gilley & soon the
lines between country,blues & rock were totally blurred. Merrill E.
Moore was another admirer of Moon’s work & another very influential
white boogie blues pianist.
Moon Mullican himself proved that he could rock in the rock era:
‘Moon’s rock’ matched & bettered anything in style Bill Haley had put
on the charts,while his version of Jerry Lee Lewis’ ‘Fools like me’
was quite simply excellent - only Moon & Jerry Lee could go from a
frenetic rocker one minute to a tender country ballad like this the
Like many of the older generation blues based artists,Moon saw
rock 'n' roll as something not entirely new.Just a comparison
between Moon's earlier work with his '50s work gives backup to
Mullican also cut some of his finest blues in the 1950s: ‘Early
morning blues’ & ‘My baby’s gone’ are irresistable pieces. His piano
playing on these is outstanding & his vocals match any black bluesman.
This proved that blues and rock 'n' roll were the one and the same
in Moon's book.
Moon died in 1967,without the world taking much notice &
remaining one of the great undiscovered talents in music. Through the
music of Merrill Moore,Jerry Lee Lewis,Charlie Rich & many others,you
can see both his influence and an inheritance of his experimental
nature & versatility. ‘Jambalaya’ is a world famous song,but most
people don’t even know that it was co-written by Moon Mullican & his
friend Hank Williams (another extremely influential figure,but better
recognised today).He was truelly the King of the Hillbilly piano
players & the first King of rock ‘n’ roll. Only his friend & admirer
Jerry Lee Lewis has ever equalled him.
Vote for your favorite Moon songs
Moon Mullican Vs. 'Rock 'n' Roll':
Moon & R&R
Further similar listening:
Jerry Lee Lewis