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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Little Milton
Little Milton playing in Jackson, Mississippi in 2002.
Little Milton playing in Jackson, Mississippi in 2002.
Background information
Birth nameJames Milton Campbell Jr.
BornSeptember 7, 1934
Inverness, Mississippi, United States
DiedAugust 4, 2005(2005-08-04) (aged 70)
Memphis, Tennessee, United States
GenresElectric blues, R&B,[1] soul, funk
Occupation(s)Musician
InstrumentsGuitar, vocals
Years active1953–2005
Labels
WebsiteOfficial website

James Milton Campbell Jr. (September 7, 1934 – August 4, 2005), better known as Little Milton, was an American blues singer and guitarist, best known for his number-one R&B single "We're Gonna Make It".[1] His other hits include "Baby, I Love You", "Who's Cheating Who?", and "Grits Ain't Groceries (All Around The World)".

A native of the Mississippi Delta, Milton began his recording career in 1953 at Sun Records before relocating to St. Louis and co-founding Bobbin Records in 1958. It wasn't until Milton signed to Checker Records that he achieved success on the charts. Other labels Milton recorded for include Meteor, Stax, Glades, Golden Ear, MCA, and Malaco. Milton was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1988.

Biography

Milton was born James Milton Campbell Jr. on September 7, 1934 in Inverness, Mississippi. We was and raised in Greenville, Mississippi by a farmer and local blues musician.[2] By age twelve he was a street musician, chiefly influenced by T-Bone Walker and his blues and rock and roll contemporaries.[2] He joined the Rhythm Aces in the early part of the 1950s, a three piece band who played throughout the Mississippi Delta area.[3] One of the members was Eddie Cusic who taught Milton to play the guitar.[4] In 1951, Milton recorded several sides backing pianist Willie Love for Trumpet Records.[5][6]

In 1953, while still a teenager playing in local bars, he was discovered by Ike Turner, who was a talent scout for Sam Phillips at Sun Records.[7][8] Milton signed a contract with the label and recorded a number of singles.[9] None of them broke through onto radio or sold well at record stores, so Milton left the Sun label in 1955.[2] The next two years he released singles on Modern Records' subsidiary, Meteor Records.

In 1958, Milton moved to East St. Louis and set up the St. Louis-based Bobbin Records label, which ultimately scored a distribution deal with Leonard Chess' Chess Records.[10][2] As a record producer, Milton helped bring artists such as Albert King and Fontella Bass to fame, while experiencing his own success for the first time.[2] After a number of small format and regional hits, his 1962 single, "So Mean to Me," broke onto the Billboard R&B chart, eventually peaking at #14.[11]

Following a short break to tour, managing other acts, and spending time recording new material, he returned to music in 1965 with a more polished sound, similar to that of B.B. King. After the ill-received "Blind Man" (R&B: #86), he released back-to-back hit singles. The first, "We're Gonna Make It," a blues-infused soul song, topped the R&B chart and broke through onto Top 40 radio, a format then dominated largely by white artists. He followed the song with #4 R&B hit "Who's Cheating Who?" All three songs were featured on his album, We're Gonna Make It, released that summer.

"Any category they want to put me in is fine with me as long as they accept what I do."

— Little Milton[12]

Milton's song "Let Me Down Easy" was recorded by the Spencer Davis Group on The Second Album (1965), but his authorship was not acknowledged on the record. He released a single of it himself in 1968 on Checker.[13] It was also chosen by Etta James as the final track in her final album The Dreamer in 2011.

Throughout the late 1960s Milton released a number of moderately successful singles, but did not issue a further album until 1969, with Grits Ain't Groceries featuring his hit of the same name, as well as "Just a Little Bit" and "Baby, I Love You". With the death of Leonard Chess the same year, Milton's distributor, Checker Records fell into disarray, and Milton joined the Stax label two years later.[2] Adding complex orchestration to his works, Milton scored hits with "That's What Love Will Make You Do" and "What It Is" from his live album, What It Is: Live at Montreux. He appeared in the documentary film, Wattstax, which was released in 1973.[14] Stax, however, had been losing money since late in the previous decade and was forced into bankruptcy in 1975.[2]

After leaving Stax, Milton struggled to maintain a career, moving first to Evidence, then the MCA imprint Mobile Fidelity Records, before finding a home at the independent record label, Malaco Records, where he remained for much of the remainder of his career.[2] His last hit single, "Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number," was released in 1983 from the album of the same name.[2] In 1988, Milton was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame and won a W.C. Handy Award.[2] His final album, Think of Me, was released in May 2005 on the Telarc imprint, and included writing and guitar on three songs by Peter Shoulder of the UK-based blues-rock trio Winterville.

Milton died at the age of 70 on August 4, 2005 from complications following a stroke.[8][15] He was posthumously honored with a marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail in Inverness.[7]

On June 25, 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Little Milton among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal fire.[16]

Discography

Albums

Little Milton in France, 1982.
Little Milton in France, 1982.
  • We're Gonna Make It (1965, Checker) (R&B #3 U.S. #101)
  • Sings Big Blues (1966, Checker)
  • Grits Ain't Groceries (1969, Chess) (R&B #41 U.S. #159)
  • If Walls Could Talk (1970, MCA/Chess) (R&B #23 U.S. #197)
  • Waiting for Little Milton (1973, Stax) (R&B #39)
  • What It Is: Live at Montreux (1973, Stax)
  • Blues 'n' Soul (1974, Stax) (R&B #45)
  • Tin Pan Alley (1975, Stax)
  • Friend of Mine (1976, Glades) (R&B #50)
  • Me For You, You For Me (1977, Glades)
  • Walkin' the Back Streets (1981, Stax)
  • The Blues Is Alright (1982, Evidence)
  • Age Ain't Nothin' But a Number (1983, Mobile Fidelity) (R&B #53)
  • Playing for Keeps (1984, Malaco) (R&B #55)
  • I Will Survive (1985, Malaco)
  • Annie Mae's Cafe (1986, Malaco)
  • Movin' to the Country (1987, Malaco)
  • Back to Back (1988, Malaco) (R&B #73)
  • Too Much Pain (1990, Malaco) (R&B #40)
  • Reality (1991, Malaco) (R&B #57)
  • I Need Your Love So Bad (1991, Golden Ear)
  • Strugglin' Lady (1992, Malaco) (R&B #63)
  • I'm a Gambler (1994, Malaco)
  • Live at Westville Prison (1995, Delmark)
  • Cheatin' Habit (1996, Malaco) (Blues #14)
  • Count the Days (1997, Malaco)
  • For Real (1998, Malaco) (Blues #13)
  • Welcome to Little Milton (1999, Malaco) (Blues #10)
  • Feel It (2001, Malaco)
  • Guitar Man (2002, Malaco) (Blues #8)
  • The Blues Is Alright: Live at Kalamazoo (2004, Varèse Sarabande)
  • Think of Me (2005, Telarc) (Blues #14)
  • Live at the North Atlantic Blues Festival: His Last Concert (2006 Camil)

Compilation albums

Incomplete Listing

  • Greatest Hits (1972, MCA/Chess)
  • Sun Masters (1990, Rounder)
  • Welcome to the Club: The Essential Chess Recordings (1994, MCA/Chess)
  • The Complete Stax Singles (1994, Fantasy)
  • Stand By Me: The Blues Collection [#48] (1995, Orbis)
  • Greatest Hits (1995, Malaco)
  • Rockin' the Blues (1996, MCA Special)
  • Greatest Hits (The Chess 50th Anniversary Collection) (1997, MCA/Chess)
  • Chess Blues Guitar: Two Decades of Killer Fretwork (1998 MCA/Chess)
  • Count the Days (1997, 601 Records)
  • The Complete Checker Hit Singles (2001, Connoisseur Collection)
  • Anthology 1953-1961 (2002, Varèse Sarabande)
  • Running Wild Blues (2006, Charly)
  • Stax Profiles (2006, Stax)
  • The Very Best of Little Milton (2007, Stax)

Appearances on other albums

Singles

Year

released

Single (A-side / B-side) Label & Cat # US

[18]

US

R&B

[11]

1953 "Beggin' My Baby" / "Somebody Told Me" Sun 194
1954 "If You Love Me" / "Alone And Blue" Sun 200
1955 "Lookin' For My Baby" / "Homesick For My Baby" Sun 220
1956 "Love At First Sight" / "Let's Boogie, Baby" Meteor 5040
1957 "Let My Baby Be" / "Oh, My Little Baby" Meteor 5045
1958 "That Will Never Do" / "I'm A Lonely Man" Bobbin 101
1959 "Long Distance Operator" / "I Found Me A New Love" Bobbin 103
1959 "Strange Dreams" / "I'm Tryin'" Bobbin 112
1959 "Hold Me Tight" / "Same Old Blues" Bobbin 117
1960 "Dead Love" / "My Baby Pleases Me" Bobbin 120
1960 "Let It Be Known" / "Hey, Girl!" Bobbin 125
1961 "Cross My Heart" / "I'm In Love" Bobbin 128
1961 "Saving My Love For You" / "Lonely No More" Checker 977
1961 "So Mean To Me" / "I Need Somebody" Checker 994 14
1962 "Satisfied" / "Someone To Love" Checker 1012
1962 "I Wonder Why" / "Losing Hand" Checker 1020
1963 "She Put A Spell On Me" / "Never Too Old" Checker 1048
1963 "One Of These Old Days" / "Meddlin'" Checker 1063
1964 "Sacrifice" / "What Kind Of Love Is This" Checker 1078
1964 "Blind Man" / "Blues In The Night" Checker 1096 86
1965 "We're Gonna Make It" / "Can't Hold Back The Tears" Checker 1105 25 1
1965 "Who's Cheating Who?" / "Ain't No Big Deal On You" Checker 1113 43 4
1965 "Without My Sweet Baby" / "Help Me Help You" Checker 1118
1965 "Your People" / "My Baby's Something Else" Checker 1128
1966 "We Got The Winning Hand" / "Sometimey" Checker 1132 100
1966 "When Does Heartache End" / "I'm Mighty Grateful" Checker 1139
1966 "Man Loves Two" / "Believe In Me' Checker 1149 45
1966 "Feel So Bad" / "You Colored My Blues Bright" Checker 1162 91 7
1967 "I'll Never Turn My Back On You" / "Don't Leave Her" Checker 1172 31
1967 "More And More" / "The Cost Of Living" Checker 1189 45
1968 "I Know What I Want" / "You Mean Everything To Me" Checker 1194
1968 "At The Dark End Of The Street" / "I Who Have Nothing" Checker 1203
1968 "Let Me Down Easy" / "Driftin' Drifter" Checker 1208 27
1968 "Grits Ain't Groceries (All Around The World)" / "I Can't Quit You Baby" Checker 1212 73 13
1969 "Just A Little Bit" / "Spring" Checker 1217 97 13
1969 "Poor Man" / "So Blue (Without You)" Checker 1221
1969 "Let's Get Together" / "I'll Always Love You" Checker 1225
1969 "If Walls Could Talk" / "Loving You" Checker 1226 71 10
1970 "Baby, I Love You" / "Don't Talk Back" Checker 1227 82 6
1970 "Somebody's Changin' My Sweet Baby's Mind" / "I'm Tired" Checker 1231 22
1970 "Many Rivers To Cross" / "A Mother's Love" Checker 1236
1971 "I Play Dirty" / "Nothing Beats A Failure" Checker 1239 37
1971 "If That Ain't A Reason (For Your Woman To Leave You)" / "Mr. Mailman (I Don't Want No Letter)" Stax 0100 41
1971 "That's What Love Will Make You Do" / "I'm Living Off The Love You Give" Stax 0111 59 9
1972 "Before The Honeymoon" / "Walking The Back Streets And Crying" Stax 0124
1972 "I'm Gonna Cry A River" / "What It Is" (B-side charted) Stax 0141
1972 "Rainy Day" / "Lovin' Stick" Stax 0148
1973 "What It Is" / "Who Can Handle Me Is You" Stax 0174 51
1973 "Tin Pan Alley" / "Sweet Woman Of Mine" Stax 0191 51
1974 "Behind Closed Doors" / "Bet You I Win" Stax 0210 31
1974 "Let Me Back In" / "Let Your Loss Be Your Lesson" Stax 0229 38
1975 "If You Talk In Your Sleep" / "Sweet Woman Of Mine" Stax 0238 34
1975 "Packed Up And Took By Mind" / "How Could You Do It To Me" Stax 0252
1976 " Friend Of Mine (Vocal)" / "Friend Of Mine (Instrumental)" Glades 1734 15
1976 "Baby It Ain't No Way" / "Bring It On Back" Glades 1738 94
1977 "Just One Step" / "Just One Step (Instrumental)" Glades 1741 59
1977 "Loving You (Is The Best Thing To Happen To Me)" / "4:59 A.M." Glades 1743 47
1977 "Me For You, You For Me" / "My Thing Is You" Glades 1747
1978 "Real Love" / "Survivors Of Love" Mier 2507
1980 "I Need Your Love So Bad" / "I Wake Up Crying" Golden Ear 2281
1980 "You Ought To Be Here With Me" / "Don't Leave Her" Golden Ear 2285
1980 "I Like Your Loving" / "No Matter Where You Go" Golden Ear 2287
1980 "Catch The Plane" / "Believe In Me" Golden Ear 2286
1980 "The Cost Of Living" / "I Need You Baby" (Jackie Ross) Golden Ear 2289
1983 "Living On The Dark Side Of Love" / "Why Are You So Hard To Please" MCA 52254
1983 " Age Ain't Nothin' But A Number" / "Age Ain't Nothin' But A Number (Instrumental)" MCA 52184 89
1984 "The Blues Is Alright" / "Comeback Kind Of Loving" Malaco 2104
1984 "Misty Blue" / "Catch You On Your Way Down" Malaco 2108
1985 "Lonesome Christmas" / "Come To Me" Malaco 2123
1986 "I Will Survive" / "4:59 AM" Malaco 2127
1986 "A Real Good Woman" / "Annie Mae's Cafe" Malaco 2134
1987 "Cheatin' Is A Risky Business" / "I'm At The End Of My Rainbow" Malaco 2137
1987 "Room 244" / "You're So Cold" Malaco 2143
1988 "His Old Lady And My Old Lady" / "A Possum In My Tree" Malaco 2147
1988 "I Don't Believe In Ghosts" / "I Was Tryin' Not To Break Down" Malaco 2151
1989 "Wind Beneath My Wings" / "Too Much Heaven" Malaco 2155
1990 "Bad Dream" / "The Woman I Love" Malaco 2162
1990 "The Cradle Is Robbin' Me" / "Still In Love With You" Malaco 2165
1991 "You Left A Goldmine For A Golddigger" / "I've Got To Remember" Malaco 2174
1992 "Strugglin' Lady" / "She Never Gets The Blues" Malaco 2187
1993 "My Dog And Me" / "Cafe Woman" Malac0 2189
1994 "Casino Blues" / "That's All Right" Malaco 2198
1994 "Like A Rooster On A Hen" / "Poke Salad Annie" Malaco 2200
1996 "Kick My Cheatin' Habits" / "How Does A Cheatin' Woman Feel" Malaco 2309
1998 "Big Boned Woman" / "I'd Rather Be With You" Malaco 2340
1999 "Lump On Your Stump" / "Right To Sing The Blues" Malaco 2342

References

  1. ^ a b Du Noyer, Paul (2003). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music (1st ed.). Fulham, London: Flame Tree Publishing. p. 181. ISBN 1-904041-96-5.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Huey, Steve. "Biography: Little Milton". Allmusic.com. Retrieved May 26, 2009.
  3. ^ "Eddie Cusic: Mississippi Folklife and Folk Artist Directory". Arts.state.ms.us. January 4, 1926. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  4. ^ "Highway 61 Blues". Highway 61 Blues. Retrieved August 13, 2015.
  5. ^ "Little Milton". All About Blues Music. September 7, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2020.
  6. ^ O'Neal, Jim; Singel, Amy van (2013). The Voice of the Blues: Classic Interviews from Living Blues Magazine. Routledge. p. 394. ISBN 978-1-136-70748-3.
  7. ^ a b "Little Milton". Mississippi Blues Trail.
  8. ^ a b "Bluesman 'Little' Milton Dies After Stroke". Billboard. August 4, 2005. Retrieved November 18, 2020.
  9. ^ "Studio Session for Little Milton, 1953 / Sun Records". 706 Union Avenue Sessions. Retrieved December 21, 2019.
  10. ^ "The Best St. Louis Blues Musicians of All Time". St. Louis Magazine. June 1, 2012.
  11. ^ a b "Little Milton Chart History - Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs". Billboard.
  12. ^ Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues - From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books Limited. pp. 138–139. ISBN 1-85868-255-X.
  13. ^ "Let Me Down Easy - Little Milton". WhoSampled. Retrieved February 16, 2014.
  14. ^ Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 241. CN 5585.
  15. ^ Russell, Tony (August 6, 2005). "Obituary: Little Milton". Theguardian.com. Retrieved December 3, 2017.
  16. ^ Rosen, Jody (June 25, 2019). "Here Are Hundreds More Artists Whose Tapes Were Destroyed in the UMG Fire". The New York Times. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  17. ^ "That Kat Sure Could Play!: The Singles 1951-1957 - Ike Turner | Songs, Reviews, Credits". AllMusic.
  18. ^ "Little Milton Chart History - Hot 100". Billboard.

External links

This page was last edited on 18 November 2020, at 16:19
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