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When their last release began to make some regional noise it was only obvious what song from that same August session Aladdin Records would pull for the follow-up.

But just because this one was written by the same person and just because that person was Rudolph Toombs, one of the most reliable songwriters in rock, did not mean it was any guarantee of success.

Sure enough this one sank without a trace, but there’s no use crying about it since the other side more than made up for it.


That’s What I’m Goin’ Through
They say you can’t just a book by its cover, but how about a song by its title?

When you saw the other side was called Rock, Rock, Rock, any reasonable Amos Milburn fan would be turning backflips over his statement of loyalty to the genre that had made him a star, especially after a few years of more sporadic signs of commitment.

But when you flipped it over and saw THIS title staring you in the face, I’m not exactly sure what you’d think. I mean, this isn’t something adults say to one another unless they’re mocking somebody while making sour faces at them for laughs and as a result it may even make you a little uncomfortable to say out loud without such make-believe histrionics to go with it. Now they’re expecting you to be asking for it by name in a store, telling your friend what song to punch on the jukebox or calling in to request it on Hunter Hancock’s radio show… to say nothing of arguing over it with your friends when debating Milburn’s recent releases.

That’s not enough to disqualify Boo Hoo from consideration by any means. If it’s a great record with scintillating performances by Amos and the musicians they could call it Eddie Mesner’s Colostomy Bag and chances are you’d still have people eager to play it.

But since this isn’t on par with Rudy Toombs’ best work, then we’re at risk of maybe underrating it just a little because the title and the associated hook come across as beneath us.

That’s silly, I know, but in a song that clocks in at under three minutes, if two of the most prominent words are kinda bothersome, it’s bound to have an effect on how you respond.

To Pay What It Costs
When Amos Milburn comes in delivering the title line like a five year old who can’t even convince you they’re actually sad while the melody it’s attached to wobbles along on unsteady footing, you think to yourself that you might’ve actually been TOO lenient on this going in and that it’s worth chucking into the trash before we’re forever stained by the experience of hearing it.

But then – thankfully – the record starts to get its bearings and the story starts up and Rudy Toombs shows he hasn’t completely lost his touch, or his mind, as this begins to makes some sense.

It’s another post-breakup lament wherein Milburn is obviously broken hearted over the departure of his girl, hence his tendency to Boo Hoo about it, but as long as he sticks to words and not childish approximations of crying sounds, we’ll tolerate it to find out how the story progresses.

Though the melody is pretty basic, the accompaniment is fairly limited, with just Maxwell Davis’s sax droning the same pattern over and over, and not all of the stanzas rhyme, the basic concept is alright and even has a few decent examples of his misery.

The bridge in particular feels drawn from real life and though Toombs is hardly finding innovative ways to describe it, he manages to concisely sum up the biggest issue with what Milburn’s going through which is coming to the realization that “the one you want, didn’t want you”. That of course is the crux of the matter to most who fall in love but never wind up with the relationship they were after.

Putting your own heart on the line, as Amos clearly has done since he’s addressing this to the girl directly, and having it met with disinterest is a painful experience, eating away at your self-worth if you’re not careful. But that’s the risk you always have to take if you want to be with somebody and the long term rewards when it works out are generally worth the tradeoff of the temporary pain when it doesn’t.

After all, it only takes one love of your life to make that life worthwhile.

Unfortunately though it takes more than just one accurately depicted life lesson in a song to make that song something special and while we can’t fault Milburn much, as he embodies the right mindset for the bulk of this, there’s nothing beyond that we really gravitate towards here.

We might have sympathy for his plight, because everybody’s been there themselves at one point or another, but it’s not something you want to revisit unless it’s got a hook to it a mile wide. While the arrangement offers up a decent consistent sound, typically well played by the crack band behind him, it’s not a musical track we’re riveted to either because there’s just not much going on.

As a result this is something you might listen to, even modestly appreciate, every now and then but probably aren’t going to keep seeking out… no matter what it’s called.


Walk Through Fire And Rain
Considering he was most associated with Atlantic Records, it’s a little surprising that Rudy Toombs was peddling his songs to other labels… Jubilee recently and now two with Aladdin.

Not that this wasn’t his prerogative as a freelance songwriter, but even with Greyhound, which was currently still making some noise for Amos Milburn, the written composition wasn’t top shelf material for someone who’s penned a handful of the best songs of the past two years. This one is a notch below that on paper and doesn’t have the benefit of a more compelling overall sound to make up for it as that one did.

It would appear that Aladdin came to that realization themselves here, as despite the natural urge to follow up one small hit with another from the same source, they seemed to think of Boo Hoo as the B-side from the start, at least if their ads were any indication.

But AS a B-side, it’s certainly not bad. The performances are alright, the draggy tempo kinda off-sets the slightly faster cut on the other side which helps that one seem even more energetic by comparison and at the very least this was an original song, rather than some tune they hijacked from the pop charts or country or blues realms as they’d been doing far too much of in recent years when it came to Milburn.

Besides, when it comes to singles, as long as one side is great and brings in sales, that’s all that really matters.

In other words, nobody would be crying when this one fell by the wayside.


(Visit the Artist page of Amos Milburn for the complete archive of his records reviewed to date)