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.
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