Little Milton: The Blues Is Alright
Live At Kalamazoo (Varese Sarabande 3-2-04)
Reviewed by Don Brown Sr.
The Blues Internet
Las Vegas Jazz n' Blues
Las Vegas Blues
Little Milton is not a household name, even though he's compared to blues greats Bobby "Blue" Bland and B.B. King. Milton is also a member of the Blues Hall of Fame. He started his recording career in 1953 at Sun Records (whose roster includes Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash etc.), and over fifty years later, Little Milton is still going strong. Over the years, he has recorded with Willie Dixon, Albert King, Smokin' Joe Kubek & Bnois King and Gov't Mule to name a few. Take a ride on his new CD Live At Kalamazoo for a taste of the blues. It's in stores now on the label Along The Blues Highway (Varese Sarabande Records).
Little Milton starts his half of this two CD disc with a blistering six song set. Milton's guitar work on "Still Some Meat Left On The Bone" gives you a glimpse of what's to come. The soul stirring "Just One Moment" heads straight for your heart. Milton and his band pick up the pace on "I Don't Believe In Ghosts" with its guitar licks. The "Slow Blues Medley" is one that any jam band would be proud to do. Maybe that's why Gov't Mule chose Little Milton to play on their CD The Deep End Vol. 1. Milton's growl on "I Wouldn't Take NOTHING FOR Your Love" gives this funky tune its heart. He ends with his own "The Blues Is Alright," an anthem that will be played by bar bands until the end of time.
Next up is the Mighty Sam McClain, another bluesman with a heavy gospel and soul side. "Gone For Good" is a slow burning number which provides you with a nice sample of the artist. Sam's own "New Man In Town" is in the Memphis soul style. McClain leads you into gospel on the song "Thank You." The bass driven "No More Tears" leads you into the reggae gospel of "Pray." Sam's turn ends with the true statement, "All We Need Is Love."
The Reverend Raven and his Chain-Smoking Alter Boys get their chance with "Big Bee." The band is lead by its harmonica. "Who's Gonna Be Your Sweet Man" and "I'm Your Honey Boy" give you more of the same. "Life Of Ease" doesn't offer you anything different. "Born In Chicago" gives the guitarist a turn before the harp takes over. "My Back Scratcher" ends this bland set. At least you know with artists like The Mighty Sam McClain and Little Milton out there, "The Blues Is Alright."
Little Milton plays Las Vegas' Sammy Davis Jr. Festival Plaza in Lorenzi Park on Sunday, April 17th. Go to LasVegasBluesFestivals.com or SNVBlues.org for more information.