Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Little Milton's a Samplin' Man!

Little Milton - Before the Honeymoon

So much for my January 2008 aspiration to do a "Soul-Blues Saturday" post on Little Milton, who has only appeared on this blog sporadically since a 2006 entry!

As I mentioned in the 2006 post, after Milton left Chess in 1971 he ventured down to Memphis and signed to Stax, where he was allowed to bring his guitar back into the spotlight (on his Checker sides, his guitar work became pretty infrequent once his growling voice took "We're Gonna Make It" to #1 in 1965) and where he settled into the mixed soul-blues bag that he kept throughout the remainder of his career. At Stax he hit right out of the gate with this hybrid style with "That's What Love Will Make You Do," which made it into the R&B Top 10 in 1971. (I really need to feature this tune on the blog soon; readers, if I don't feature it within a reasonable time, remind me!) Although the intense waltz-time blues "Walking the Back Streets and Crying" became his signature tune, Milton shone on 45 with slightly-funky 45s like "That's What Love Will Make You Do" and today's selection.

"Before the Honeymoon" was released in 1972 as the A-side of "Walking the Back Streets and Crying" (the Joe Cobb aircheck I provided a snippet of on Memorial Day included a portion of the tune) but was soon overshadowed its flip, which was featured in the concert film Wattstax and went on to become a blues classic despite the lack of commercial success for the 45. The groove of "Before the Honeymoon" alternates between funky blues and rambling soul as Milton, seeking to convince his woman to abandon her "wait until marriage" position, spins analogies of trying on clothes, test driving cars and the like in order to "sample [her] honey to make sure it's alright before the honeymoon."

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