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Amos Milburn

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Amos Milburn (Houston, Texas, April 1, 1927 – January 3, 1980) was an American rhythm and blues singer and pianist, popular during the 1940s and 1950s.

Joseph Amos Milburn, Jr., one of thirteen children, was playing tunes on the piano by the age of five years. He enlisted in the United States Navy when he was fifteen and earned thirteen battle stars in the Philippines, before returning to Houston and organizing a sixteen-piece band playing in Houston clubs and was Managed by William & Geneva Church. Milburn participated with the Houston jazz and blues musicians. He was a polished pianist and performer and during 1946 attracted the attention of a woman who arranged a recording session with Aladdin Records in Los Angeles, California. Milburn’s relationship with Aladdin lasted eight years during which he produced more than 75 sides. His cover version of “Down the Road a Piece” (1946) was a blues song with a Texas boogie beat that was similar in many respects to rock music. However, none became popular until 1949 when seven of his singles got the attention of the R&B audience. “Hold Me Baby” and “Chicken Shack Boogie” landed numbers eight and nine on Billboard’s survey of 1949’s R&B Bestsellers. He became one of the main performers associated with the Central Avenue music scene in Los Angeles. He was also a popular touring artist, and won awards from both Down Beat magazine (Best Blues and Jazz Star) and Billboard magazine (Top R&B Artist).

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