Little Milton has always known how to romp his way through an album, and his latest release shows that he’s still got it. And while this album really moves, it’s not a major artistic statement, but more of a compilation of Milton’s favorite songs with his favorite young talent jamming along.
A slightly more descriptive title for this record would be “Little Milton Duets.” The guest list is huge, ranging from G Love and Special Sauce, and Government Mule, to Keb’ Mo’, Delbert McClinton, Susan Tedeschi, Lucinda Williams, and Dave Alvin, (who is most notable for penning a number of Little Charlie and the Nightcats tunes with their frontman Rick Estrin.) With a list that long, you’d probably think that there would be at least one special guest on every track. Well guess what? There is. As a matter of fact, in more than one instance, there are at least two of Milton’s pals along for the ride.
The highlight is “Me and My Woman,” featuring the multi-talented G. Love on guitar, harmonica, and some hip-hop-ish vocals. The song starts with some panned and flanged-out guitar licks (which just hop back and forth between a stereo set of speakers) and continues through a few verses and solos, before reaching Love’s verse and then a great all-out jam.
The second to last track, “Some Kind of Wonderful,” features the very confident vocals of McClinton and some pretty nice horn work from the Muscle Shoals Horns. The album finishes as it started, with Government Mule guesting, this time on Willie Dixon’s “I Can’t Quit You Baby,” which sounds slightly less enthusiastic than the Led Zeppelin version. Don’t get me wrong, Milton’s voice is much more listenable than that of Robert Plant, but Warren Haynes’ guitar work pales in comparison to the complex blues chops of Jimmy Page.
As a whole, Welcome to Little Milton maintains a rockin’ pace, only slightly jarring for the breaks in continuity of personnel, as was the case with B. B. King’s Duets album. This album, however, allows a little more room for the guests to work, and thus, proves itself to be a better listen. Yeah, that’s right. Someone in the blues world just did something that beats B. B. King. So here’s hoping lots of folks listen to it.
// Notes from the Road
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