AMOS MILBURN — Rockin' The Boogie (Bear Family) 10.inch LP Houston-born-and-bred Amos Milburn was a blazin' R&B comet during the late '40s and '50c. An absolute master of barrelhouse and boogie woogie piano stylings, he eventually became known for hooch anthems like "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer" and "Bad, Bad Whiskey," despite there being no personal life evidence of a drinking problem. Hard-driving and rhythmic as hell, his style is also one of the key influences on rock 'n' roll's early development. Fats Domino, for one, sang Milburn's praises often.
As laid-back as Fats' New Orleans groove was, it's hard to see what he took from Milburn's polished-yet-primal Central Avenue thud. Es-pecially on the evidence of this big 10-inch record, issued by Aladdin in 1955 following a string of big-selling singles. Reissued in a limited edition as part of Bear Family's Vinyl Club series, not a lot of the drinkin' songs are in evidence. Rather, as per the title, this concentrates on Milburn's most barn-burnin' boogies and proto-rock 'n' roll, including his first big national hit "Chicken Shack Boogie" and a thing called "Down The Road Apiece," which is audibly apparent was borrowed by Chuck Berry before passing it on to the Rolling Stones.
Practically every tune's an ode to downhome good times: Barbecue cookin' in the backyard, jugs of corn gettin' passed around, pretty women being urged to kick off their shoes and rock to some lowdown blues. Throughout, a smokin' rhythm sec-tion acts as one giant drum behind Milburn's pounding left hand and nimble, trilling right, a rasping bari-tone sax riding it all like a killer wave. If the title's any indication, Alad-din likely intended this collection of hard-driving hit boogies as an intro-duction to that nascent rock 'n' roll scene Milburn had helped inspire. Unfortunately, his commercial for-tunes nosedived shortly after this release. Were Amos Milburn's tales of partyin' and boozin' too adult for teen appeal? Perhaps. Still, Bear Family's performing a real public service, lovingly reproducing this for a new century. (Tint Stegall)