Monday, June 16, 2014

Big Miller Big Revelations and the Blues Columbia 1961

Big Miller Big Revelations and the Blues Columbia 1961 CS 8411

Big Miller was born Clarence Horatio Miller in Sioux City, Iowa.  He spent his formative years in Iowa and later, Topeka, Kansas.  Like many others singers in KC, he found his break as a shouter for Jay McShann's.

For the most part, his body of work is overlooked in favor of Big Joe Turner.  While Turner's work is superior, it's not fair to just dismiss Big Miller.  The dude could shout.  This album represents his first of several LPs the singer cut for Columbia in the 1960's.  Prior to this debut, Miller was in a R&B vocal group called the Five Pennies and gained Columbia's attention by performing the Newport Jazz Festival with Bob Brookmeyer in 1958, the Brookmeyer album, The Kansas City Sound, was from the festival.  Columbia picked him up and sent him to Hollywood to record.  He actually soaked in the LA life style and wound up acting in several movies in addition to his music career.

At times, this album just kills, swings hard and Miller belts out his tunes.  He's credited for most the work here and Columbia provided him a solid backing jazz band.  Where it gets discredited is the MOR of it all.  The album wasn't rock n' roll or straight blues, it's much more set in jazz.  Truthfully, jazz is probably the best route for Miller, as stated, he's no Joe Turner, so the jazzier, laid back blues is probably best for him. It still has great moments that up tempo moments that swing and Miller does have a powerful voice. The album does suffer when Miller attempts to go straight jazz, namely the first track, "About my Baby."  Overall all though, worthwhile album that shouldn't be thrown aside.

Wanna See My Baby

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