Little Milton – Blues Highlights
Hailing from Mississippi, Milton Campbell otherwise known as Little Milton is drawn to music at an early age. Whenever he had the chance, he would listen to all types of radio shows that were popular of the day. Furthermore, he connects the most with “The Grand Ole Opry” which gives him an early appreciation for country and western music. As a child, Milton began studying what he heard and practiced mastering songs and reciting them, no matter what the style or difficulty. By his early teens, he was performing in local clubs and bars across the Delta.
Little Milton – The Musician
As Milton grows into a young man, he doesn’t waste any time learning the ropes or absorbing all the musical possibilities that exist at the time. He plays street corners, alleys, dives, you name it, carefully developing his craft and attracting the attention of established acts and local record labels.
Years at Sun Records
By taking the time to developing his craft, he catches the attention of Sun Records in the early 50’s. Already a seasoned musician, he debuts his single, Beggin My Baby. After this release, there isn’t much fanfare, so he moves on to “Bobbin Records” where things take off. During this time, he’s an A&R guy. During this era, Milton signs such artists as Albert King and Fontella Bass to the label. Most importantly, he cuts his own first hit, I’m A Lonely Man, in 1958.
Chess, Stax & More
Milton’s skyrocketing success soon draws the attention of Chess Records executives in Chicago, who signs him to Chess Checkers label and moves him north. Chess carries Little Milton from southern blues circuit fame to the national spotlight and to white audiences. During this time, he cuts We’re Gonna Make It, which hits No. 1 on Billboard Magazine’s R&B singles chart in 1965.
Continuing to make classic blues staples off his live shows from 1962 – 1971. These recording include Baby I Love You, If Walls Could Talk, Feel So Bad, Who’s Cheating Who? and the unforgettable Grits Ain’t Groceries. After Chess dissolves, Milton signs with Stax. During this time from 1971 – 1975 he stacks up more mega hits including Walking the Back Streets and Cryin and That’s What Love Will Make You Do. Milton adds more soul and gospel elements to his music.
Furthermore, when Stax files bankruptcy in 1975, Milton joined TK/Glades Records in Miami. There, he racks up another charted hit, Friend of Mine. But the Glade label also went out of business. Consequently, in 1983, he releases his only album for MCA, Age Ain’t Nothin But A Number.
Malaco Records – Biggest Selling Artist
The title cut is an instant-charted hit. After this in 1984, he signs to Malaco Records where he begins his longest professional association of his career. As well as being one of their biggest selling artists. Along with a 1988 W. C. Handy Award, a Grammy Nomination, and the honor of being inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Over the years, Malaco has released 14 of Little Milton’s albums, including the critically acclaimed, Billboard blues smash hit Cheatin Habit.
Cheatin Habit followed his wildly successful Little Milton’s Greatest Hits compilation. Some of Little Milton’s Malaco cuts that have become American blues standards include Annie Mae’s Cafe, The Blues is Alright, Little Bluebird, Room 244, I Was Trying Not to Break Down, Catch You on Your Way Down, Murder on Your Hands, and Comeback Kind of Love.
In 2005, after more than a half century after his early SUN recordings, Little Milton made his debut on the TELARC label with the release of THINK OF ME, a mesmerizing CD consisting of a dozen tracks distilling a lifetime of rich guitar skills, compelling vocals and deft songwriting all wrapped into a single high-powered package. It would be his last studio recording.
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Credits: www.littlemilton.com / Alamy – BRRM2N