Friday, May 7, 2010

Amos Milburn & Moon Mullican

Despite the crummy sound quality, this is a nice clip of Amos Milburn pounding it out. Milburn's amazing version of Down The Road Apiece. Moon Mullican, doesn't sound all that different than Amos Milburn.
Moon's Rock'n'Roll Bullfrog in living color.
Two pre-rock'n'roll barrel house boogie woogie piano players, both from Texas, one black, one white. One considered an R&B pioneer, the other a C&W star. Despite the different settings, they're basically playing the same thing. Especially similar is their piano playing. When watching these clips the first thought that came to my mind was Paul Newman's great line in The Hustler while he's watching Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats playing pool-- "look those chubby little fingers.....". Amos Milburn, who had a good run as an R&B hit maker from 1947-53, would record Chicken Shack Boogie twice, the second version (Aladdin 3332) is the better of the two, recorded in New Orleans, it's one of the greatest records ever made. After the hits dried up at Aladdin he cut some sides for King and a very rare LP for Motown (partially produced by Andre Williams).
Moon Mullican cut tons of records for King, most of them great, my favorite is Seven Nights To Rock. He was also pals with Hank Williams with whom he co-wrote Jambalaya. He later recorded for Coral, Starday, and Spur but his King sides are the best. Black or white, this is what it sounded like in Texas roadhouses in the late 40's and early 50's. For a fascinating look at one of the sleaziest strips of Texas nightlife ever, see Josh Alan Friedman's piece on Jacksboro Highway nightspots from his Black Cracker Online blog. I'm not sure if Amos Milburn or Moon Mullican ever played The Jax, but I'll bet my socks they were both on the jukeboxes in a lot of them joints.

16 comments:

Gene Casey said...

What is with the superimposed second right hand on the Moon clip? Is it Moon or someone playing along side?

The Hound said...

It looks like his hands shot from a second camera at another angle superiposed onto the frame. I guess the director really wanted you to see his left hand....

Gene Casey said...

Even given the likelihood of poor syncing of image and sound, there does seem to be a third hand PLAYING, if you listen closely. Curious. Thanks for posting. Love the Mullican stuff on King, especially the session with Boyd Bennett's band.

Gene Casey said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Amos Milburn was a giant. There's another real good one of him doing "Down the Road A Piece," same MC, same venue, but better sound quality. They do the Bradley/Slack intro dialog and the whole bit...

The Mullican clip is a revelation to me; I knew his reputation but had never heard or seen him. Man, he sure could boogie.

These are great clips, thanks for posting them. I could watch this stuff all day...

Always a pleasure.

Best,
Lee

The Hound said...

"here's another real good one of him doing "Down the Road A Piece," same MC, same venue, but better sound quality. They do the Bradley/Slack intro dialog and the whole bit..."

I've just added that....it's one of my favorites.

Bob said...

High on my time machine gig list would be early Moon Mullican at some Gulf coast roadhouse. As great as his records are (even much of the later stuff), he must have been a total badass in a sleazy dive.

Anonymous said...

thank you so much

this is Mullican RIGHT HAND
until now i have'nt seen any
left hand with the thumb on the right side

the not so modern fills is a steel guitar

The Hound said...

"until now i have'nt seen any
left hand with the thumb on the right side"

You didn't grow up in Florida like I did, I remember one kid who had thumbs where his toes should have been.....

Ed Ward said...

Once upon a time in a city far away (San Francisco) there was a record store called City Hall Records, which had no telephone and was run by a cantankerous old man. It stocked mostly 78s and 45s and none of them were new.

A friend of mine dropped by one day and saw a whole bunch of Moon Mullican 45s, so he grabbed everything he didn't already have on an album and took them to the counter, where the proprietor was deep in conversation with a woman about his age.

"Moon Mullican, huh?" the woman said, eyeing my friend's pile. "What do you want with that sorry motherfucker, anyway?" Oh, my friend replied, I really like him. "Yeah," the woman said, "but you weren't married to the sonovabitch."

Having no answer to *that*, he picked up the bag with his purchase in it and left the store.

The Hound said...

"Once upon a time in a city far away (San Francisco) there was a record store called City Hall Records, which had no telephone and was run by a cantankerous old man. It stocked mostly 78s and 45s and none of them were new. "

That's very weird, I'm almost positive that's the place I found my copy of Moon Mullican's cover of Jan & Arnie's Jenny Lee (Coral) on 45 in the late 70's on my first trip to S.F. I don't remember a lady at the counter, but I must have bought a hundred 45's that day. I guess I got there a bit late as it was the only Moon Mullican record in the place but I did find a whole stack of mint doo wop and R&B discs on the Music City label, a fairly obscure Bay Area
label, as well as my copy of Lafayette Thomas' Cockroach Run.
I should probably do a proper posting Mullican since he seems to have generated a lot of interest.
If I get a burst of energy this week I'll work on it.
I even have some 78's of him with Cliff Bruener's Texas swing band that are pretty good, he sings on Kangaroo Blues if I remember correctly.

Ed Ward said...

I think the former Mrs. Mullican was just visiting.

That store has a tremendous history. One of its former employees, in fact, is Chris Strachwitz. Also Houston White, who's better known in Austin as the perpetrator of the Vulcan Gas Company, America's first psychedelic dance hall.

The Hound said...

"That store has a tremendous history. One of its former employees, in fact, is Chris Strachwitz."


It was the Strachwitz/Arhoolie connection that had led us to the place, I do remember there was a dog sleeping on the floor which didn't stir when we walked in and then this guy who looked a bit like Charles Manson came in and the dog awoke and went crazy, the guy just gave off such bad vibes the pooch picked up on 'em and reacted. I don't know why that memory has always stuck with me.I was always amazed at how good the record picking was in the Bay Area long after New York/Memphis/New Orleans/L.A. had been cleaned out, it seems like the collectors from Europe and Japan didn't get there until the early 90's. Of course Ebay has pretty muched ruined record hunting worldwide unless you find a stash of stuff from a recently deceased collector. Speaking of which, anyone know what happened to Ray Topping's collection? Or why my mind keeps rambling way off any topic I start out on?

Gene Casey said...

And YES, Hound, the latter version of "Chicken Shack Boogie" by Amos, recorded in New Orleans with the mighty Earl Palmer kickin' it on drums is one of the greatest rock & roll records ever made.

Daddy-o Dilly said...

Moon Mullican was really brilliant. Would you all do me a favor and send an email to Bear Family asking them to put out the biggest Moon Mullican box set possible? They are probably tired of me asking them. Now that Bear Family is in fact putting out CD box sets from the King/Federal catalog, namely Hank Ballard & Freddie King, it is indeed possible for them to do just that!

Anonymous said...

My name is Patrick Wall. I'm from Ireland and Moon Mullican is one of my favorite artists of all time and a big influence on my own singing and music.

Moon's music is excellent and he has recorded in numerous different styles mostly great (only his novelty songs like "New Jole blon" or "Jole blon's sister" I don't like - they are so un-Moon Mullican!).

I did a tribute CD to him last year and also have recorded many of his songs on other albums. Everyone responds very well to Moon's songs like "Lay me down beside my darling", "Worries on my mind", "Chill on the hill tonight" and "Leaves mustn't fall" now.

Bear Family should put out a Moon Mullican box set. I have everything by him with the exception of the material he did for Charles Mitchell Orchestra. It is one of the most consistent bodies of work by any artist and has laid the foundations for what Jim Reeves, Jerry Lee Lewis and Hank Williams - all 3 were influenced by him - would later do.

Let's Hear It For The Orchestra

Let's Hear It For The Orchestra
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