Little Milton / Sept 7, 1934 - Aug 4, 2005

Happy birthday to the soulful blues guitarist and singer Little Milton, most famous for his hit version of "Grits Ain't Groceries" and his fine albums on Chess, Stax and Malaco. He is generally known to fit into the BB King/Albert King style of brassy, soulful blues with strings and such. It's a formula that found Milton some hits songs in the '60s & '70s.

From the Mississippi Delta, his father Big Milton was a blues musician and Little Milton got into country music and jump blues, with T-Bone Walker a particularly big influence. He started his career with the Rhythm Aces in the early '50s, playing around the region (including backing Sonny Boy Williamson II) before being discovered by Ike Turner, who brought Milton to Sun Records to cut some singles.

Without much success at Sun, Meteor or Trumpet, among other labels, Milton moved to St Louis in '58 and started his own Bobbin Records, producing records by Albert King and Fontella Bass (as well as his own) and worked a distribution deal with Chess. He had a 1962 chart hit with "So Mean To Me".

In the mid-'60s he changed up his sound to that of a more soul approach. He joined the Stax roster in the early '70s, adding orchestral elements to his sound and he appeared in the WattStax movie. Stax folded in '75 and he went to the TK label and then to MCA in the early '80s. He struggled to regain chart positioning until hooking up with Malaco in '83. He made some appearances with Govt Mule before passing away after a stroke.

Tagged: blues, Celebrate Icons, guitar, Little Milton, rock, soul!

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