Little Milton

Me for You, You for Me

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    8
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More elaborately produced than its predecessor, Little Milton's second and final album for TK Records' Glades imprint is a profoundly impressive release, chock-full of good and great songs and a sound that somehow effortlessly embraces both lean, bluesy guitar and string accompaniment (sometimes within the same song), and a very opulent overall sound. Opening with the title tune, which features a very elegant and tasteful string and brass embellishment, Milton straddles the soul and blues worlds across eight songs -- indeed, brevity may be the only weakness in this album, which moves from strength to strength, from hard blues like "Angel of Mercy" and "4:59 A.M." to smoothly flowing and funky soul ("Loving You [Is the Best Thing to Happen to Me]," "My Thing Is You"), and soaring ballads like "Just One Step" and "Me for You, You for Me" -- most of what's here are originals written or co-written by Milton, but the best song on the album is his rendition of Sam Cooke's "Sugar Dumpling," a rousing, spirited, sweaty reinterpretation of the song that could be the best cover of a Sam Cooke song that this reviewer has ever heard; at the least, it's in the running right alongside Otis Redding's "Shake" and "A Change Is Gonna Come," and makes the album worth finding just for this track. Along with Friend of Mine, Me for You, You for Me represented the totality of Milton's brief stay with TK Records, after the collapse of Stax Records and preceding a five-year hiatus in his recording career; never in print long on vinyl and not too widely distributed, it may be his most obscure album, a great irony as it's also a killer display of his talents at their best.

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