Although Roy Milton’s chart career ended in 1952, his recording career rolled on. As the sound of rhythm & blues changed and rock ‘n’ roll loomed on the horizon, Roy’s records got tougher and bluesier. His last recordings for Specialty were made in 1953, with some of this material being released through 1954 and 1955. “Baby Don’t Do That To Me” and “Tell It Like It Is” were recorded for Specialty in April 1953 and released in February 1955 and October 1954, respectively.
Walter “Dootsie” Williams, the owner of DooTone Records and a former trumpeter with Roy’s band The Solid Senders, signed Roy to his label in 1955. There was only one recording session for DooTone, in October 1955 which produced a few classic rockin’ numbers, especially “You Got Me Reelin’ & Rockin’”. “Fools Are Getting Scarcer” and “I Can’t Go On” are also from this session.
In October 1956 Roy recorded a session for King Records in Cincinnati. The hip stomper “One Zippy Zam” which includes terrific electric guitar from Johnny Rogers is from this session. “A Brand New Thrill” and “Jeeps Blues” are from Roy’s final session for King in July 1957. Thereafter there was no more recording by Roy until 1960 when he started making discs for a series of small obscure labels through to 1964. “Driveway Blues” and “I’m Forgetting About You” were recorded in Los Angeles for the Thunderbird label in 1962.
Many thanks to Joan for some obscure vinyl rips and label shots!
Ripped (mostly) from vinyl (except the Specialty sides) at hugely varying bitrates.
Download from here:
1. Baby, Don't Do That To Me
2. Tell It Like It Is
3. Fools Are Getting Scarcer
4. I Can't Go On
5. You Got Me Reelin' & Rockin'
6. One Zippy Zam
7. A Brand New Thrill
8. Jeep's Blues
9. Driveway Blues
10. I'm Forgetting About You
The photograph at the top of this post is by San Francisco based photographer David Johnson. It was taken in the Primalon Ballroom. It is one of many evocative photographs included in the excellent book "Harlem of the West: the San Francisco Fillmore Jazz Era" by Elizabeth Pepin and Lewis Watts. Oddly enough the accompanying caption in the book merely states that is of "A drummer in the Primalon Ballroom, late 1940s." All bebopwinos immediately recognise Roy Milton, of course, plus in the background Camille Howard and Jackie Kelso are also easily recognised.
STOP PRESS: the authors of "Harlem of the West" have kindly left a comment below explaining how it came about that Roy Milton's name wasn't in the original edition of the book. The current edition has been corrected. Check out "Harlem of the West" at your favourite bookdealer - it's a must-buy for all lovers of 1950s R&B and jazz.
More David Johnson photos (including more taken at the Roy Milton gig) can be viewed here:
Check out Harlem of the West here: