Roy Milton

Roy Milton & His Solid Senders [Specialty]

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This is more great stuff from the "Legends Of Specialty" series. Drummer and vocalist Roy Milton was one of the first artists signed to Juke Box Records, the label that became Specialty, and his "R.M. Blues" was a factor in getting the label capitalized. The Solid Senders came about, in part, because of the growing economic unfeasibility of the big bands. The streamlining that followed had a dramatic and interesting effect, first highlighting simpler, punchier, and more direct arrangements over a firm rhythmic backing, and then by the directions it led -- listening to the 1947 "Milton's Boogie" is an instant education in the roots of rock and roll. The powerhouse piano riffs and short solos from Camille Howard will be nothing unusual if you've heard many of the primary white rock and roll records (and a few of the black ones, too.)

Roy Milton, though, specialized in solid rhythm and blues with a big dose of boogie (here given the assistance of Camille Howard's smokin' piano -- the delicate, fluttering right hand, and the stomp-boogie left; she's one of the great unsung r&b piano players). There are elements of big band arrangements creeping in amongst the horn riffs and walking blues basslines -- "Everything I Do Is Wrong" sneaks in more than a few horn mutes and wahs. For the most part, Milton's drumming is serviceable, rather than great (he does take a solo here and there, and sounds fine doing so, but the dictates of drumming and singing make both something of a compromise). In audio terms, the digital transfer is superb -- there's still acetate noise, but far less than on some of these releases, and it's not a bother. The sound is well rounded, with a nice bass and midrange and clean highs. The original recording media was free (thankfully) of tape hiss, so the end result is excellent, and certainly very easy to recommend. In keeping with Specialty's "Legends" releases, the CD is loaded up with bonus tracks -- nine in this case. That only makes it more of a value. This is good music, folks -- don't pass it up because of its age. People will still be listening to Roy Milton and company when the latest heavy metal hairdo outfit has gone to cutout heaven, never to be seen again.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 2:51
2 2:59
3 2:49
4 2:31
5 2:55
6 2:44
7 2:23
8 3:00
9 2:35
10 2:35
11 2:22
12 2:42
13 2:49
14 2:36
15 2:33
16 2:30
17 3:05
18 2:40
19 2:37
20 2:31
21 2:49
22 2:43
23 3:13
24 3:03
25 2:22
blue highlight denotes track pick