Personalities | Amos Milburn | Forties | Jazz & Blues

(Piano, vocals, 1927–80)

Joseph Amos Milburn Jr. was born in Houston, Texas, and he began recording in 1946 for Aladdin records. Milburn was an exceptionally popular performer between the late 1940s and mid-1950s, with number-one R&B hits such as ‘Chicken Shack Boogie’, ‘Bewildered’ and ‘Roomin’ House Boogie’ (all 1948–49). Beginning in 1949, he toured and recorded with his own band, the Aladdin Chickenshackers, and continued his string of hits with ‘Bad, Bad Whiskey’ and ‘One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer’. The success of the latter inspired a series of songs with liquor-related themes.

Milburn was a superb pianist, equally at home with slow blues, rolling boogie-woogie, ballad material, novelties and jump blues. He worked frequently with Charles Brown in the late 1950s but became inactive in music after a stroke in 1970.

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Source: The Definitive Illustrated Encyclopedia of Jazz & Blues, founding editor Howard Mandel


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