Little Milton Campbell

Little Milton Anthology 1953-1961

Over the course of his 50-year career, Little Milton (so called to distinguish him from his father, “Big” Milton) has developed into a very smooth vocalist/guitarist who, at 68, is now one of the elder statesmen of the blues. This 27-track CD presents his very first recordings as a leader for Sun Records in Memphis. With Ike Turner, who arranged for the sessions, on piano, Campbell alternately rips and croons his way through 12 selections (half of them unreleased) that focus primarily on woman trouble, e.g., the Latin-influenced “Somebody Told Me” ("that my gal was runnin’ ’round") and the jumping, horn-backed “I Love My Baby” ("If you don’t want me, baby, won’t you please drop me a line"), with Turner pumping out some solid boogie woogie.

Four years later Campbell was in St. Louis recording for Bobbin (a label he co-founded) with another batch of new songs dealing with the same themes. The music is smoother now—missing is his “snarling, barbed-wire guitar” playing—thanks to altoist Oliver Sain’s hand. Highlights include “I Found Me a New Love” (I don’t have to cry no more"), “Dead Love” ("My heart feels like a ton of lead") and the uptempo “Long Distance Operator,” another Latinish number where he’s trying to contact his baby.

Campbell soon went on to greater success with on Checker Records and, since the ‘80s, for Malaco. You can catch him here at the beginning.