Saturday, 10 October 2009

Amos Milburn - 13 Unreleased Masters

Back around 1980, when I started getting into the R&B sounds of the 1940s and 1950s, one name I was always on the lookout for in my searches through the record bins was Amos Milburn. For a few years all I could find was a scratched-to-hell copy of a 1978 United Artists LP called “Chicken Shack Boogie”. Then along came a series of reissue LPs of the great man himself on Pathé Marconi: “Let’s Have A Party”, “Vicious Vicious Vodka” and another LP named after one of his biggest hits: “Chicken Shack Boogie”.

Which brings me to the latest offering here on Bebopwino – one of those Amos Milburn LPs from Pathé Marconi – “13 Unreleased Masters”. It’s something of a cliché for reviewers to claim that a collection of unreleased tracks stacks up well against the released output of a performer, but in this case it’s true, bud, it’s true. And listening to these tracks while processing them from vinyl brought back to me the reasons why I became such a big fan of Amos Milburn all those years ago.

He’s one of those rare artists to whom I could happily listen for hour after hour. His piano playing ability combined with his smoky, slightly hoarse voice meant that he was equally at home with boogie woogie, early rock and roll, blues and ballads. You could imagine him performing in a rowdy dance hall or in the more intimate setting of a barroom or late night club.

This small but career-spanning collection shows the various sides of Amos. “Shake, Shake” is from late in his Aladdin career when he was no longer hitting the R&B charts. In December 1956 he recorded a session at Cosimo Matassa’s studio in New Orleans. The best known track from that session is his pounding reworking of “Chicken Shack Boogie”, but “Shake, Shake” can’t hope to equal that masterpiece. It may be rock and roll by-the-numbers, but Lee Allen’s tenor sax solo just about saves it. “I’ll Be True” recorded earlier in the year in Los Angeles is a nice pleading ballad which suits Amos’ voice perfectly. “After Awhile” is a good New Orleans influenced easy rocker recorded in LA in 1954.

“Without Someone To Call Your Own” and “Sorrowful Heart” are from a session recorded in New York in June 1953 with Sam “The Man” Taylor and Mickey “Guitar” Baker included in the backing band. “Without Someone …” is a fine moody blues, with “Sorrowful Heart” being a rather subdued ballad performance. “Stormy Weather”, the final track on side 1 of the LP, is a terrific performance recorded in LA in August 1952.

The seven tracks on side 2 were all recorded in LA in 1947 under the direction of Maxwell Davis. The storming “Nickel Plated Baby” (with nice guitar work by an unnamed player) dates from April while the rest of the tracks are from the November 19th session which produced the first version of “Chicken Shack Boogie.” One possible reason for these sides remaining unreleased is that they were recorded when an AFM strike was looming (to start on January 1st 1948) and record companies were frantically stockpiling masters to enable them to keep issuing material through the recording ban.

“I’m Gonna Leave You” is a rollicking boogie with great sax by Maxwell Davis “Hard Driving Blues” is either an instructional course on how to maintain your automobile at peak performance, or it’s a piece of utter filth. Here at Bebopwino our unofficial motto is “fun for all the family”, so any double entendres are purely in the minds of our listeners. Now go wash your brains out.

The final four tracks are all “slows”. The ballads “Rapture In Bloom” and “Don’t Tell Her” have no accompanying sax and sound uncannily like the King Cole Trio, which is no bad thing. “My Tortured Mind” and “It’s A Married Woman” are slow blues with sax fills by the maestro, Maxwell Davis.

The front cover of this LP is adapted from the cover of the 1952 Aladdin LP “Rockin’ The Boogie.” Thanks to Joan for a copy of that cover.

Ripped from slightly crackly vinyl at 320 kbps.

Download from here:

http://www21.zippyshare.com/v/BD8KucmC/file.html

1. Shake, Shake
2. I'll Be True
3. After Awhile
4. Without Someone To Call Your Own
5. Sorrowful Heart
6. Stormy Weather
7. I'm Gonna Leave You
8. Hard Driving Blues
9. Nickel Plated Baby
10. Rapture In Bloom
11. Don't Tell Her
12. My Tortured Mind
13. It's A Married Woman

3 comments:

Exeter said...

WoW!
I thought I had just about everything Amos ever recorded, but I have never even heard of this record before! Thanks a ton!

aksyonoff said...

plz reupload! thanks!

boogiewoody said...

Amos Milburn 13 Unreleased Masters new link now up.