on June 20, 2008
For those of you who have read some of my other musical reviews in this space you may have noticed that I am on a crusade to check out early Sun Record material, of both black and white performers. For all practical purposes Sun started out as a black label (although the late Sam Phillips was nothing but the epitome of a white good old boy- Memphis-style) or to use the term of the day "race records" (ouch!). Virtually anyone with the price of the recording fee tried to get recorded in those days- some failed, some were one-shot johnnies and some like the artist under review, Little Milton, are the stuff of legend.
I have mentioned previously elsewhere in this space that there was something about the sound at Sun that brought out the best in the talent that survived. Little Milton also recorded on Chess and other labels buts these early recordings just hum along, like those of early Johnny Cash, Elvis, Howlin' Wolf and so on. Maybe they were hungry and that is what comes through the music. Whatever it was this, my friends, was the roots of rock and roll. And, whatever you might think of his treatment of Tina (and it was ugly), the late Ike Turner on piano in some of these selections keeps the beat jumping. Wow.
What do you absolutely need to hear here? Well, this is one of those albums where the music kind of grows on you (like with Bessie Smith and some others). Looking For My Baby, Running Wild Blues, and I Love My Baby set the mood in the middle. He can do a decent job on ballads as well. Is this Little Milton's definitive work? No. But he is hungry for fame and he is starting to rock-rock into musical history.