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Album Review

Amos Milburn was born in Houston, TX, on April 1, 1927. After serving in the Navy during the Second World War, the young pianist began performing publicly in a style derived directly from his heroes Albert Ammons and Pete Johnson. While leading a small band at San Antonio's Keyhole Club, Milburn was discovered by Lola Anne Cullum, a talent scout working for the Los Angeles-based Aladdin record label. Soon after hiring Milburn, Cullum would also sign and record a pair of fine bluesmen from Houston, Wilson "Thunder" Smith and Sam "Lightnin'" Hopkins. Milburn was only 19 years old when he made his first records. This compilation documents everything he recorded between September 1946 and October 1947. As the musicians in his regular working band were considered too green to appear on records, Milburn was provided with a small backing ensemble composed of players whose names have since been forgotten, although tenor saxophonist Maxwell Davis was in charge of the group and is believed to have performed on the sides cut in 1947. The slow, soulful, and bluesy instrumental "Real Gone" is the greatest artistic achievement of the entire album. All of this action predates Milburn's big hit of 1948, "Chicken Shack Boogie," and serves as a fascinating prelude to this pianist's later work and all of the hot music he went on to inspire others to create.


Born: 01 April 1927 in Houston, TX

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s

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...
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