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Saturday 9 April 2011

Amos Milburn - Chicken Shack Boogie

Side A
1. My Baby's Boogying
2. Amos’ Boogie
3. Bye Bye Boogie
4. It Took A Long Long Time
5. Chicken Shack Boogie
6. Pot Luck Boogie
7. Jitterbug Fashion Parade

Side B
1. Roomin' House Boogie
2. Johnson Rag
3. Boogie Woogie
4. Sax Shack Boogie
5. Roll Mr Jelly
6. Grey Hound
7. House Party

This is the fifth of the Pathe Marconi Amos Milburn LPs to be posted on the blog and I believe that the set is now complete. I can say that I’ve saved the best till the last, for this collection of classic tracks rocks, rolls, pounds and boogies in a merciless onslaught of the finest rhythm and blues you’ll hear anywhere.

The only break is provided by the slower “It Took A Long Long Time” at track 4. From track 5, which is the original hit version of “Chicken Shack Boogie,” there is simply no letup as Amos shouts the blues and pounds that piano to the blasting tenor sax accompaniment of studio bands led by the great Maxwell Davis or else his road band, The Aladdin Chicken-Shackers.

This is a collection which spans Amos’ successful years with Aladdin, beginning with his first session for the label in September 1946 and ending in 1955, by which time the hits had dried up. He was born in Houston, Texas, in 1927, into a family of twelve children. After war service in the Pacific, he became the main breadwinner for the family and took up music professionally, forming a small combo which played the clubs around the Houston area. While playing at the Keyhole Club in San Antonio he was spotted by Lola Anne Cullum (the wife of a Houston doctor) who was something of a promoter on the local music scene. Taking the young Amos under her wing, Mrs Cullum soon had him relocated to Los Angeles and signed up with Aladdin Records.

From that first session under the supervision of Maxwell Davis, “My Baby’s Boogying” achieved good sales locally. In the next year or so Amos laid down a mix of boogies, salacious double entendre blues and the occasional ballad which sold well enough but it wasn’t until November 1948 that real success came along when “Chicken Shack Boogie,” which he’d recorded in late 1947 just prior to the AFM recording ban, stormed to the top of the R&B charts. This kicked off a remarkable series of hits for Amos which lasted from 1949 through to 1954 when “Good Good Whiskey,” the last in a series of drink related hits, (“Bad Bad Whiskey,” “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer,” etc.) charted.

Like many of his contemporaries, Amos was left behind by changing fashions in R&B and the advent of rock and roll. In 1956 he recorded in New Orleans with top musicians such as Lee Allen and Earl Palmer in an attempt to reboot his flagging career. This session produced one of the greatest rock and roll records of all time – a searing remake of “Chicken Shack Boogie” but it didn’t sell. The Aladdin contract was not renewed in 1957.

Towards the end of the 1950s Amos hooked up with his old buddy Charles Brown for live appearances and a single on Ace, “I Wanna Go Home,” / “Educated Fool.” Sam Cooke’s “Bring It On Home To Me” was heavily based on “I Wanna Go Home,” but for Brown and Milburn there was to be not a hint of the success that Cooke would have with his version.

Amos recorded for King and Motown between 1960 and 1967, but nothing sold. As the 60s became the 70s, increasing ill health including two strokes and a leg amputation blighted the remaining years of his life which came to a close on January 3rd, 1980.

Ripped from vinyl at 320 kbps.

Download from here:

Amos Milburn (piano and vocal) on all tracks.

Los Angeles, September 12th, 1946. Unknown g, b, dm. Maxwell Davis (ts) present at session:

1. My Baby's Boogying (Aladdin 160)
2. Amos’ Boogie (Aladdin 173)

Los Angeles, October 27th, 1947. Maxwell Davis (ts), possibly Gene Phillips (g), unknown b and dm:

3. Bye Bye Boogie (Aladdin 206)
6. Pot Luck Boogie (Aladdin 3026)

Los Angeles, November 19th, 1947. Maxwell Davis (ts), unknown g, b and dm:

5. Chicken Shack Boogie (Aladdin, 3014)

Los Angeles, December 18th, 1947. Maxwell Davis (ts), probably Frank Heywood (g), unknown b and dm:

4. It Took A Long Long Time (Aladdin 3014)

Los Angeles, February 28th, 1949. Maxwell Davis (ts), Gene Phillips (g), Ralph Hamilton (b), Jesse Sailes (dm):

7. Jitterbug Fashion Parade (Aladdin 3023)

Los Angeles, July 13th, 1949. Maxwell Davis (ts), Chuck Norris (g), Ralph Hamilton (b), Lee Young (dm):

8. Roomin' House Boogie (Aladdin 3032)

Los Angeles, December 19th, 1949. Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chicken-Shackers – Don Wilkerson (ts), Billy Smith (ts), Willie Simpson (bs), Johnny Brown (g), Harper Cosby (b), Calvin Vaughan (dm):

9. Johnson Rag (Aladdin 3049)
10. Boogie Woogie (Aladdin 3105)

Los Angeles, January 4th, 1950. Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chicken-Shackers – Don Wilkerson (ts), Billy Smith (ts), Willie Simpson (bs), Johnny Brown (g), Harper Cosby (b), Calvin Vaughan (dm):

11. Sax Shack Boogie (Aladdin 3064)

Los Angeles, January 30th, 1952. Willie Smith (ts), Bill Hill (ts), Leroy Robinson (as and bs), Wayne Bennett (g), Leonard Sonny Williams (b), Eldeen McIntosh (dm):

12. Roll Mr Jelly (Aladdin 3133)

Los Angeles, August 21st, 1952. Maxwell Davis (ts), unknown bs, g, b and dm:

13. Grey Hound (Aladdin 3150)

Los Angeles, July 25th, 1955. Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chickenshackers – Arnett Sparrow (tb), Eddie Chamblee (ts), Joe Evans (bs), Irving Ashby (g), possibly Red Callender (b), possibly Rufus Jones (dm):

14. House Party (Aladdin 3306)

Mo’ Amos –

On the blog – the other 4 Amos Milburn Pathe Marconi LPs are shown below:

That gives you quite a helping of Amos but there is much more to explore. Try to hunt down and purchase the following CDs:

"Amos Milburn Rocks!" (Bear Family) is probably the current best single CD overview of his career:

The Revola CD "Let's Have A Party" is a compilation of 1950s sides recorded for Aladdin:

If you wish to explore the career of Amos Milburn in depth (and who wouldn't?), then the Chronological Classics series covers 1946 - 1953 in 5 CDs. The first CD, 1946 - 1947, may be hard to obtain. The succeeding four are available at, some as mp3 downloads.

Now sadly out of print, but still one of my all time favourite R&B CDs, is the Capitol Blues Collection 3CD set ""Blues, Barrelhouse & Boogie Woogie." 66 tracks and superb liner notes by Mark Humphrey. Still available as a surprisingly cheap mp3 download from Amazon, but if you find a second hand copy at a reasonable price, buy it.


Anonymous said...

I've always been interested in hearing original versions copied outright or used as models by other performers, such as "I Wanna Go Home." Thanks very much, Boogiewoody. Marie

boogiewoody said...

OK Marie - you got it. There's now a streamed version of "I Wanna Go Home" on the post. Ripped from vinyl - the Route 66 Charles Brown LP "Sunny Road."

Cousin Pickles said...

I've been digging on some jump blues and boogie woogie lately. Thanks for your knowledge and generosity.

Anonymous said...

That's very good of you, Boogiewoody - a nice treat on a (too early) Sunday morning! Thanks for letting me hear this one.

I should probably run for cover, but I can only take Sam Cooke's voice in limited doses - give me Amos Milburn and so many of the other R 'n' B and gospel quartet leads any day. Marie

Baron said...

Thanks BW for the Amos Milburn ... Baron

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the message about divshare links, Boogiewody. They play on all of the blogs, but instead of being taken to a dl button after clicking on the far right, people are taken to the divshare sign-in page. Apparently, even when people sign up the same thing happens. Marie

David Federman said...

Thanks for all the Milburn. Wouldn't it be easier, however, to post the long o.p. Mosaic box? I missed it and I'm still kicking myself.

boogiewoody said...

I missed the Mosaic box too, David, and I probably couldn't have afforded it when it came out.

I'll just stick to posting vinyl appetizers from way back when! Then it's up to you guys 'n' gals to go hunting for more ... preferably from legit sources ...

David Federman said...

Hearing Amos sing "Rum and Coke Cola" shows me just how versatile this guy was. Somewhere I think I heard his recording of "You Don't Know What Love is." Or was that Charles Brown? In any case, thanks. You just can't hear enough Amos Milburn. I just wanted it all on my hard drive--finally.

B._B. said...

Of course, the best "Chicken Shack" was his '56 re-cut done at Cosimo's with Lee Allen & crew . . . . . Just sayin' . . .

Just confirmed some stuff, found a bit more on that infamous scantily clad gal pal of Dick "Huggy Boy" Hugg's . . .

Check it out: