Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Amo Milburn - Booze, Babes, Blues And Boogie, The Essential Amos Milburn - Recorded Between 1946 and 1951, Released in 2002.

Boogie piano master Amos Milburn was born in Houston, and he died there a short 52 years later. In between, he pounded out some of the most hellacious boogies of the postwar era, usually recording in Los Angeles for Aladdin Records and specializing in good-natured upbeat romps about booze and its effects (both positive and negative) that proved massive hits during the immediate pre-rock era.

The self-taught 88s ace made a name for himself as "the He-Man Martha Raye" around Houston before joining the Navy and seeing overseas battle action in World War II. When he came out of the service, Milburn played in various Lone Star niteries before meeting the woman whose efforts would catapult him to stardom.

Persistent manager Lola Anne Cullum reportedly barged into Aladdin boss Eddie Mesner's hospital room, toting a portable disc machine with Milburn's demo all cued up. The gambit worked -- Milburn signed with Aladdin in 1946. His first date included a thundering "Down the Road Apiece" that presaged the imminent rise of rock & roll. But Milburn was capable of subtler charms too, crooning mellow blues ballads in a Charles Brown-influenced style (the two would later become close friends, playing together frequently).

The first of Milburn's 19 Top Ten R&B smashes came in 1948 with his party classic "Chicken Shack Boogie," which paced the charts and anointed his band with a worthy name (the Aladdin Chickenshackers, natch). A velvet-smooth "Bewildered" displayed the cool after-hours side of Milburn's persona as it streaked up the charts later that year, but it was rollicking horn-driven material such as "Roomin' House Boogie" and "Sax Shack Boogie" that Milburn was renowned for. Milburn's rumbling 88s influenced a variety of famous artists, notably Fats Domino.

With the ascent of "Bad, Bad Whiskey" to the peak of the charts in 1950, Milburn embarked on a string of similarly boozy smashes: "Thinking and Drinking," "Let Me Go Home Whiskey," "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer" (an inebriating round John Lee Hooker apparently enjoyed!), and "Good Good Whiskey" (his last hit in 1954). Alcoholism later brought the pianist down hard, giving these numbers a grimly ironic twist in retrospect. Milburn's national profile rated a series of appearances on the Willie Bryant-hosted mid-'50s TV program Showtime at the Apollo (where he gave out with a blistering "Down the Road Apiece").

Aladdin stuck with Milburn long after the hits ceased, dispatching him to New Orleans in 1956 to record with the vaunted studio crew at Cosimo's. There he recut "Chicken Shack Boogie" in a manner so torrid that it's impossible to believe it didn't hit (tenor saxist Lee Allen and drummer Charles "Hungry" Williams blast with atomic power as Milburn happily grunts along with his pounding boogie piano solo). In 1957, he left Aladdin for good.

Milburn contributed a fine offering to the R&B Yuletide canon in 1960 with his swinging "Christmas (Comes but Once a Year)" for King. Berry Gordy gave him a comeback forum in 1962, issuing an album on Motown predominated by remakes of his old hits that doesn't deserve its extreme rarity today (even Little Stevie Wonder pitched in on harp for the sessions).

Nothing could jump start the pianist's fading career by then, though. His health deteriorated to the point where a string of strokes limited his mobility and his left leg was eventually amputated. Not too long after, one of the greatest pioneers in the history of R&B was dead.


01. After Midnite
02. Down The Road Apiece
03. Amos's Boogie
04. Operation Blues
05. Money Hustlin' Woman
06. Real Gone
07. Train Time Blues
08. Pot Luck Boogie
09. Hold Me Baby
10. In The Middle Of The Night
11. Chicken Shack Boogie
12. Pool Playing Blues
13. Anybody's Blues
14. A&M Blues
15. Jitterbug Fashion Parade
16. Roomin' House Boogie
17. Walkin' Blues
18. Let's Make Christmas Merry Baby
19. Drifting Blues
20. Boogie Woogie
21. Birmingham Bounce
22. Let's Rock Awhile
23. Bad Bad Whiskey
24. Tears Tears Tears
01. My Baby's Boogying
02. Amos' Blues
03. Cinch Blues
04. Everything I Do Is Wrong
05. Blues At Sundown
06. Sad And Blue
07. That's My Chick
08. Bye Bye Boogie
09. Empty Arms Blues
10. It Took A Long Long Time
11. Bewildered
12. Bow Wow
13. Real Pretty Mama
14. Johnson Rag
15. Square Dance Boogie
16. How Long Has This Train Been Gone
17. Sax Chack Boogie
18. Hard Luck Blues
19. Two Years Of Torture
20. I'm Gonna Tell My Mama
21. Everybody Clap Hands
22. Ain't Nothing Shaking
23. That Was Your Last Mistake
24. Just One More Drink

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mp3 320 kbps - 309 Mb

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