Feb 7, 2015

RhoDeo 1505 Grooves


James Milton found an early connection to Country and western music and later fused it with the other two predominant musical influences of the Mississippi Delta: Gospel & Blues. A youthful Little Milton began studying what he heard and practiced; mastering songs and reciting them, no matter what the style or difficulty. By his early teens, he was performing in local clubs and bars across the Delta.  As Milton grew into a young man, he didn't waste any time learning the ropes or absorbing all the musical possibilities that existed at the time. He played street corners, alleys, dives, you name it, carefully developing his craft and attracting the attention of established acts and local record labels. By the time Ike Turner introduced Milton to Sam Phillips of Sun Records in the early 50's, he was a young but seasoned performer with a momentous live show that created a buzz in every town he played... ..N'joy

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He may not be a household name, but die-hard blues fans know Little Milton as a superb all-around electric bluesman -- a soulful singer, an evocative guitarist, an accomplished songwriter, and a skillful bandleader. He's often compared to the legendary B.B. King -- as well as Bobby "Blue" Bland -- for the way his signature style combines soul, blues, and R&B, a mixture that helped make him one of the biggest-selling bluesmen of the '60s (even if he's not as well-remembered as King). As time progressed, his music grew more and more orchestrated, with strings and horns galore. He maintained a steadily active recording career all the way from his 1953 debut on Sam Phillips' legendary Sun label, with his stunning longevity including notable stints at Chess (where he found his greatest commercial success), Stax, and Malaco.

James Milton Campbell was born September 7, 1934, in the small Delta town of Inverness, MS, and grew up in Greenville. (He would later legally drop the "James" after learning of a half-brother with the same name.) His father Big Milton, a farmer, was a local blues musician, and Milton also grew up listening to the Grand Ole Opry radio program. At age 12, he began playing the guitar and saved up money from odd jobs to buy his own instrument from a mail-order catalog. By 15, he was performing for pay in local clubs and bars, influenced chiefly by T-Bone Walker but also by proto-rock & roll jump blues shouters. He made a substantial impression on other area musicians, even getting a chance to back Sonny Boy Williamson II, and caught the attention of R&B great Ike Turner, who was doubling as a talent scout for Sam Phillips at Sun. Turner introduced the still-teenaged Little Milton to Phillips, who signed him to a contract in 1953. With Turner's band backing him, Milton's Sun sides tried a little bit of everything -- he hadn't developed a signature style as of yet, but he did have a boundless youthful energy that made these early recordings some of his most exciting and rewarding. Unfortunately, none of them were hits, and Milton's association with Sun was over by the end of 1954. He set about forming his own band, which waxed one single for the small Meteor label in 1957, before picking up and moving to St. Louis in 1958.

 In St. Louis, Milton befriended DJ Bob Lyons, who helped him record a demo in a bid to land a deal on Mercury. The label passed, and the two set up their own label, christened Bobbin. Little Milton's Bobbin singles finally started to attract some more widespread attention, particularly "I'm a Lonely Man," which sold 60,000 copies despite being the very first release on a small label. As head of A&R, Milton brought artists like Albert King and Fontella Bass into the Bobbin fold, and with such a high roster caliber, the label soon struck a distribution arrangement with the legendary Chess Records. Milton himself switched over to the Chess subsidiary Checker in 1961, and it was there that he would settle on his trademark soul-inflected, B.B. King-influenced style. Initially a moderate success, Milton had his big breakthrough with 1965's "We're Gonna Make It," which hit number one on the R&B charts thanks to its resonance with the civil rights movement. "We're Gonna Make It" kicked off a successful string of R&B chart singles that occasionally reached the Top Ten, highlighted by "Who's Cheating Who?," "Grits Ain't Groceries," "If Walls Could Talk," "Baby I Love You," and "Feel So Bad," among others.

The death of Leonard Chess in 1969 threw his label into disarray, and Little Milton eventually left Checker in 1971 and signed with the Memphis-based soul label Stax (also the home of his former protégé Albert King). At Stax, Milton began expanding his studio sound, adding bigger horn and string sections and spotlighting his soulful vocals more than traditional blues. Further hits followed in songs like "Annie Mae's Cafe," "Little Bluebird," "That's What Love Will Make You Do," and "Walkin' the Back Streets and Cryin'," but generally not with the same magnitude of old. Stax went bankrupt in 1975, upon which point Little Milton moved to the TK/Glades label, which was better known for its funk and disco acts. His recordings there were full-blown crossover affairs, which made "Friend of Mine" a minor success, but that label soon went out of business as well. Milton spent some time in limbo; he recorded one album for MCA in 1983 called Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number, and the following year found a home with Malaco, which sustained the careers of quite a few old-school Southern soul and blues artists. During his tenure at Malaco, Milton debuted the song that would become his latter-day anthem, the bar band staple "The Blues Is Alright," which was also widely popular with European blues fans. Milton recorded frequently and steadily for Malaco, issuing 13 albums under their aegis by the end of the millennium. In 1988, he won the W.C. Handy Award for Blues Entertainer of the Year, and was also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.

Over the years, Malaco has released 14 of Little Milton's albums, including the critically acclaimed, Billboard blues smash hit Cheatin Habit. Cheatin Habit followed his wildly successful Little Milton's Greatest Hits compilation.  Some of Little Milton's Malaco cuts that have become American blues standards include Annie Mae's Cafe, The Blues is Alright, Little Bluebird, Room 244, I Was Trying Not to Break Down, Catch You on Your Way Down, Murder on Your Hands, and Comeback Kind of Love.
The year 2001 marked a successful run of sold out shows in the United States and Europe and the release of Feel It.  Malaco doubled back in September, 2002, with the release CD number 14, Guitar Man.  It's celebrated cuts include Guitar Man, Still Some Meat Left on this Bone, and Milton's soulful rendition of My Way.

In 2005, after more than a half century after his early SUN recordings, Little Milton made his debut on the Telarc label with the release of Thnk Of Me, a mesmerizing CD consisting of a dozen tracks distilling a lifetime of rich guitar skills, compelling vocals and deft songwriting all wrapped into a single high powered package. It would be his last studio recording. The man who made the  the Blues is Allright a national anthem with blues enthusiasts around the globe, passed away on August 4, 2005, after suffering a massive brain stroke.  Hundreds of family, friends, and fans attended his memorial on August 10, 2005 in South Haven, Mississippi in a final farewell to "MR. C".

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From a soul standpoint, Back to Back was the strongest album that Little Milton recorded for Malaco in the 1980s. Though the CD contains a few noteworthy 12-bar numbers (including "Penitentiary Blues" and "It's Hard to Explain"), R&B is dominant. Those who fancy '70s-type soul shouldn't miss Milton's passionate, confessional storytelling on such treasures as "(I Had) Too Much Heaven Last Night," "Caught in the Act (Of Gettin' It On)," and the heartbreaking "I Was Tryin' Not to Break Down." The gruff, big-voiced singer/guitarist even breathes some life into "Wind Beneath My Wings," a corny pop ballad that was unbearably insipid in Bette Midler's hands but is easier to take when Milton gets a hold of it.

Little Milton - Back To Black (flac 241mb)

01 I Was Tryin' Not To Break Down 4:11
02 Caught In The Act (Of Gettin' It On) 4:32
03 You Can't Trust Your Neighbor 4:28
04 Penitentiary Blues 4:28
05 (I Had) Too Much Heaven Last Night 3:33
06 I Don't Believe In Ghosts 4:16
07 It's Hard To Explain 4:02
08 The End Of The Rainbow 5:03
09 Fast Young Lady 3:53
10 The Wind Beneath My Wings 4:10

Little Milton - Back To Black (ogg 95mb)

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He may not be a household namebut die-hard blues fans know Little Milton as a superb all-around electric bluesman -- a soulful singeran evocative guitaristan accomplished songwriterand a skillful bandleader.

You kiss me off
To work in the morning
But it doesn't mean
That's where I'm going

And cause my meals are
Cooked when I return, baby
I want you to know
That doesn't mean
That's all you been doing

Cause I could be in the street
Playing the game and you
Could be at home doing
The same darn thing

Cause when you cheat
On a love that's true
Oh, tell me now
Who's cheating who

My nights out with the boys
Don't have to be
With the boys at all
And when you go to
Visit your mother, baby
Oh, yes, I know, her name
Could easily change to Paul

When someone gives you love
It's like money in the bank
But if you take another return
You've got to come up blank

Cause when you cheat
On a love that's true
Oh, tell me now
Who's cheating who

If you give up the good
For what's good maybe
If you steal the bread
That feeds your baby

If you ignore your love
And sleep right home
You gain more sleep
But your job might be gone

Oh, my nights out with the boys
Don't have to be
With the boys at all

And when you go to
Visit your mother, baby
I just wanna let you know
I know her name could
Easily change to Paul

When someone gives you love
It's like money in the bank
But if you take another return
You've got to come up blank

Cause when you cheat
On a love that's true
Oh, baby, now
Who's cheating who

I want you tell me now, baby
Who's cheating who, oh, yeah
I wonder if you know what
I'm talking about now...

Little Milton - Who's Cheating Who (flac 238mb)

01 If Walls Could Talk 3:09
02 Baby, I Love You 2:47
03 Let's Get Together 3:00
04 Things I Used To Do 3:53
05 Kansas City 3:14
06 Poor Mans Song 2:44
07 Blues Get Off My Shoulder 3:12
08 I Play Dirty 2:27
09 Good To Me As I Am To You 2:40
10 Your Precious Love 2:46
11 I Don't Know 2:21

Little Milton - Who's Cheating Who  (ogg   97mb)

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For his debut Telarc Blues release, Little Milton continues in the soul-blues vein he helped to popularize starting with his work for the Chess label in the mid-'60s. His impassioned vocals are as strong as ever with guitar chops to match. The 12 tracks that make up Think of Me could be likened to a classic Stax production sans the driving horn section. The first-rate work of organist Bruce Katz keeps the proceedings percolating through Little Milton's soul-blues base liberally mixed with flourishes of country music, swamp pop, R&B, and urban funk. Any fan of Little Milton's Malaco releases of the '80s and '90s will definitely want to add this to his collection.

Little Milton - Think Of Me  (flac  287mb)

01 Gonna Find Me Somebody to Love 3:27
02 Let Your Love Rain Down on Me 3:47
03 The Blues Is My Companion 6:03
04 Something Wonderful 3:17
05 Gone With the Wind 3:35
06 I'll Be 3:29
07 Next to You 2:48
08 Think of Me (Thinking of You) 3:50
09 Reconsider Me 3:22
10 Second Hand Love 4:07
11 Feel Like a Man  3:30
12 That's Where It's At 4:04

Little Milton - Think Of Me  (ogg   110mb)

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Completing the circle..

One of the biggest selling bluesmen of the sixties and early seventies, when he was recording for Stax and Chess, Little Milton Began his career in the Fifties at the Legendary Sun Records. While he was at Sun, Little Milton tried a variety of different sounds and styles -- sounding like everybody from Elmore James and B.B. King to Fats Domino -- which was all tied together by his raw, manic lead guitar, he never again sounded quite as wild or reckless, either vocally or instrumentally, as he did here. This 27-track Collection includes all the surviving tracks he recorded whilst at Sun Bar the odd alternate take. Four of his obscure alternate takes are featured at the end of the CD to complete the package. Also included as bonuses are six titles on which Milton featured prominently as a guitarist. Three of these with pianist Willie Love predate his Sun recordings, while the other three feature Milton accompanying singer Houston Boines on the only recording session he ever made for Sun. This is the most comprehensive collection of Little Milton's Sun recordings yet released and will be welcomed by all fans of southern blues.

Little Milton - Running Wild Blues (flac 342mb)

01 Feed My Body To The Fishes (with Willie Love And His Three Aces) 2:35
02 Nelson Street Blues (with Willie Love And His Three Aces) 2:48
03 V-8 Ford (with Willie Love And His Three Aces) 2:45
04 Beggin' For My Baby 2:23
05 Somebody Told Me 2:52
06 If You Love Me, Baby 2:32
07 Alone And Blue (Take 3) 3:07
08 Looking For My Baby (Take 5) 2:33
09 Homesick For My Baby 2:20
10 I Love My Baby (Version 1) 2:32
11 If Crying Would Help Me 3:10
12 Untitled 2:19
13 Running Wild Blues 2:37
14 She's My Queen 2:29
15 Re-Beat 2:35
16 Oo-Wee, Baby 2:43
17 I'll See You Some Sweet Day 2:04
18 I Want You Baby 2:24
19 Playing The Boogie Woogie 2:37
20 Come On, Baby 2:14
21 Carry My Business On (Alternate - Take 1)  (with Houston Boines) 2:32
22 Crying In The Courthouse (Alternate - Take 1)  (with Houston Boines) 3:02
23 Standing At The Station (with Houston Boines) 2:47
24 I Love My Baby (Alternate - Version 2) 2:27
25 Lookin' For My Baby (Alternate Take 2) 2:52
26 If You Love Me, Baby (Alternate) 2:36
27 Homesick For My Baby (Alternate) 2:49

Little Milton - Running Wild Blues (ogg  151mb)

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