The man who made “The Blues is Alright” a national anthem with blues enthusiasts around the globe was born to a family of humble sharecroppers on the outskirts of Inverness, Mississippi. From an early age, he wasted no time in mastering the sounds he heard on the radio and at local joints, where he would develop his craft as a guitarist, and attract the attention of local acts, and record label executives alike.
At Sun Records, he was working alongside Sam Phillips around the same time as Elvis Presley, another unknown Mississippi talent was coming up. But the relationship did not produce any hits, so he eventually moved onto Bobbin’ Records. There he cut his own first hit, “I’m a Lonely Man” in 1958, and after becoming the chief A&R, signed artists such as Albert King to the label. He later signed with Chess Records, which brought him to Chicago, and his music to the national spotlight, and after that with Stax, where he enjoyed rubbing elbows with the who’s whos of the blues revival heyday.
In 1984, Little Milton joined Malaco Records and began the longest professional association of his career, producing 14 albums with the label. He went on to earn the 2000 Grammy Award nomination, and his spot in the Blues Hall of Fame during that time. He continued to tour well into his career, and recorded his last, beautifully rich album Think of Me with the TELARC label. Shortly thereafter, Milton passed away on August 4, 2005, after suffering a massive brain stroke, but leaves behind the indelible legacy of a lifetime of powerful songwriting and blues riffing.
Sol Canal for Keeping the Blues Alive
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