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Amos Milburn

Milburn was one of the great R&B pioneers and a tremendous influence on many who followed. He was a fine singer and even better pianist - he could bang out a mean boogie or tinkle the ivories in a light and jazzy style as the situation demanded. Largely forgotten outside the committed world of R&B aficionados, from 1948 until 1954, Milburn's sides ruled the R&B charts, and he helped set the stage for the joyous, soulful music of the later R&B and rock and roll eras.

Boogie piano master Amos Milburn was born in Houston, and he died there a short 52 years later. In between, he created some of the best boogie of the postwar era, usually recording in Los Angeles for Aladdin Records. Quite a lot of the releases proved to be massive sellers in the pre rock and roll era, some of which demonstrated Milburn's oft-forgotten abilities with the mellower side of R&B.

After serving in the Navy and seeing overseas battle action in World War II, Milburn formed his own blues and R&B band in Houston - after playing locally and in the surrounding areas he finally secured a deal with Aladdin in 1946. His first date included the great “Down the Road Apiece,” and between 1946 and 1954 had fantastic run of 19 consecutive top ten hits on the R&B charts. Included among them were four number ones ('Chicken Shack Boogie', 'A&M Blues', 'Bad, Bad Whiskey' and 'Roomin' House Boogie'). But Milburn was capable of crooning a fine mellow blues ballad as well, recording in a Charles Brown-influenced style (the two would later become close friends, playing together frequently) - 'Bewildered' was a great example of the cool after-hours side of Milburn.

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