August 10, 2005

Little Milton Dies At 70

【リトル・ミルトン死去】

ブルース。

2005-0810-0459.jpg60年代から70年代にかけて多くのブルース・ヒット、ソウル・ヒットを放ったシンガー、リトル・ミルトンが去る8月4日、メンフィスで死去した。一週間ほど前に心臓発作で入院していた。70歳だった。

リトル・ミルトンの芸名で知られるシンガーの本名は、ジェームス・ミルトン・キャンベル、1934年9月7日ミシシッピー州インヴァーネス生まれ。ミュージシャンだった父親の影響で音楽に興味を持ち、その道に進んだ。当初は、よく聴いていたカントリーのラジオ番組『グランド・オール・オプリー』などの影響を受け、ギターを弾き始める。当初のアイドルは、ギタリストのTボーン・ウォーカーだった。

やはり南部を中心に活動していたアイク・ターナーと知り合い、1953年、彼の紹介でメンフィスのサン・レコードでレコーディングを始める。その後、1950年代、シカゴのチェス・レコード、メンフィスのスタックス・レコードに移籍、ヒットを放った。

中でも1965年、「ウィ・ゴナ・メイク・イット」は、ソウル・チャートで1位になった。71年、スタックスに移籍。72年には「ザッツ・ホワット・ラヴ・ウィル・メイク・ユー・ドゥ」がヒット。また、「ワッツタックス」にも出演している。76年、マイアミのTKプロ傘下グレイズ・レコードに移籍、さらにマラコ・レコードに移籍した。

エレキギターを持ったブルースマンとして、また、ソウル、R&Bの分野でも人気を獲得し、ブルースとR&B、ソウルの架け橋ともなった。

リトル・ミルトンの成功のきっかけを作ったアイク・ターナー(=73歳。アイク&ティナ・ターナーのアイク)は、こう振り返る。「ミルトンが数週間前、電話をかけてきて言ったもんだ。俺たち、もっと仲良くしようぜ。ロスコー・ゴードンが死んだ。そのすぐ前にタイロン・デイヴィスも死んだ。俺たち、子供時代一緒にいったじゃないか。あの頃、俺もミルトンもジミ・ヘンドリックスみたいに痩せてたな。今じゃ、俺の彼女は彼のことを『大きなリトル・ミルトン』と呼ぶんだからな。ちゃんとプレイできるいい連中が皆、木から落ちていくんだ」

チェス時代にレーベルメイトでもあった女性ブルース・シンガー、ココ・テイラーはミルトンの他界に衝撃を受けこう語った。「彼はブルースマンの中のブルースマンだったわ。私がブルースウーマンの中のブルースウーマンであるようにね。素晴らしい人物であり、ブルース・ギタリストであり、シンガーだった。ブルースを知る人間で、今まで一度たりともリトル・ミルトンの悪口を言う人に会ったことがないわ」

ミルトンの友人は、彼の音楽だけでなく、彼の人間としての暖かさ、ユーモアのセンスを口々に言う。

シカゴのソウルマンでありブルースマンでもあるオーティス・クレイはこう述べた。「俺たちにはお互いの呼び名があったんだ。だけど、それは印刷なんかできない言葉なんだ。お互い愛情を込めてそう呼んでいたんだけどね」

リトル・ミルトンは1988年、ブルース界のグラミー賞とも言える「W.C.ハンディー・アワード」を受賞。また、ブルース・ホール・オブ・フェイムにも選ばれている。

また、リトル・ミルトンは3回来日している。1983年4月、渋谷ライヴイン他全国各地、88年10月、東京・簡易保険ホール他全国各地、93年5月、渋谷クワトロ他全国各地で公演した。

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Source: Chicago Suntimes
http://www.suntimes.com/output/entertainment/cst-ftr-milton06.html

Little Milton: an R&B great in any era

August 6, 2005

BY JEFF JOHNSON Staff Reporter

Little Milton Campbell's five-decade career is the story of postwar rhythm and blues in microcosm.

The versatile Southern soul-blues performer, who died Thursday in Memphis, Tenn., at age 70, was among the most versatile performers in the blues field. He had the guitar chops to hold his own during the rough-edged electric blues period of the 1950s, the gritty, gospel-trained voice and songwriting talent to score hit after hit in the soul-powered '60s and early '70s and the adaptability to survive during the disco years of the late '70s. Even in the '80s and '90s, when R&B was watered down by synthesizers and electronic beats, the sheer vitality of his songs shined through.

In 1999, when he made the duets album "Welcome to Little Milton," he held his own in the studio with many of the roots-rockers and blues-rock stars who idolized him, such as Dave Alvin, Gov't Mule and Susan Tedeschi. That album brought the only Grammy nomination of his career.

And his last album, "Think of Me," released in May on Telarc, marked a return to his classic sound. Milton's throaty tenor and single-string runs were in perfect form on an album that he hoped would bring a wider audience.

"He never got the recognition he deserved," said Ike Turner, who met Little Milton when they were teenagers in Greenville, Miss., just breaking into the music business.

Turner said he attended B.B. King's concert Thursday night in Highland, Calif., and the two were reflecting on the recent loss of many Delta-based blues stars who got their start in the 1940s and '50s.

"Milton called me a few weeks ago and said, 'Man, we should stay closer,' " Turner said. "Rosco Gordon had just died, and just before him Tyrone Davis. We were kids together, back when me and Milton were skinny like [Jimi] Hendrix. Now my girl calls him 'Big Little Milton.' ... All of the good guys who could play are falling like trees."

Turner, 73, played a vital role in Milton's career, steering him toward Sam Phillips in 1953 at Sun Records in Memphis. Later, when Turner had become established in Downstate East St. Louis, he sent for Milton, who landed at St. Louis-based Bobbin Records.

But it was Chicago's Checker Records, a Chess imprint, for which he scored his biggest hits, including "We're Gonna Make It." The 1965 song became a civil rights anthem, reaching No. 1 on the R&B chart and No. 25 on the pop chart.

His music became a staple on the play lists of Chicago's black-oriented radio stations. Late '60s hits such as "If Walls Could Talk," "Feel So Bad," "Who's Cheating Who?" and "Grits Ain't Groceries" marked a time in the life of the city's African-American youth, the same way the Beach Boys and the Buckinghams did for whites.

Chicago blues queen Koko Taylor, Milton's label mate at Chess, said she was deeply saddened by Milton's passing. "He was nothing but a bluesman, just like I'm nothing but a blueswoman," Taylor said. "He was a great blues person, guitarist and singer. I don't think I've ever met anybody who knows about the blues who could say anything bad about Little Milton."

After the Chess empire collapsed, Milton found his way to another seminal R&B label, Memphis-based Stax. Younger fans found Milton through his appearance in the 1973 concert film "Wattstax," for which he performed "Walking the Back Streets and Crying."

Stax folded in 1976, and Milton tried several other labels, finally settling at the R&B specialist Malaco. But he felt he never got the proper promotional push there.

While he was making the Telarc album last fall, he told the Sun-Times, "I'm trying to see if we can get a different share of exposure that we haven't gotten since the early Chess and Stax days. I'm not criticizing Malaco, but I hung in there for 19 years, waiting for promises that never came to be."

Jon Tiven, who co-produced and co-wrote much of "Think of Me," says, "Milton was very well established in the African-American community, and one of the reasons he came to me is he felt he wanted to get more recognition in the white community. And he was well on his way to accomplishing that with this album."

But Milton's friends will remember his warmth and sense of humor as much as his music.

Tiven said he last saw Milton perform at an open-air concert in Nashville, Tenn. Tiven, who had taken his dog to the show, arrived backstage sporting sunglasses. He introduced himself to Milton's road manager, who informed Milton that Tiven was there to see him. Milton took one look and shouted, "Jon Tiven isn't blind!"

Asked what he would miss most about Little Milton, Chicago soul-blues singer Otis Clay replied, "There's a word that we always called each other that you couldn't print. It was all with affection."

Services are set for 11 a.m. Wednesday at Greater Love Church Ministries in Southaven, Miss.

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ENT>OBITUARY>Little Milton / August 4, 2005