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There’s no doubt that this is the “official” B-side to the regional hit which adorns the top half of Aladdin 3150, so let’s settle that debate right here and now.

But there IS some question as to whether it was a last minute substitute for another song, or if the other selection was merely a printing error on the label, or possibly a case of them sending in the wrong acetate to the pressing plant before the mistake was found and corrected.

Just the kind of thing we can waste an entire section debating for those of you who don’t have enough to fill your lonely miserable days.

How’s that for an enticing invitation?


My B-Side Is Bound To Change
In the review of the terrific, if slightly atypical, top side, Greyhound we mentioned in passing that Aladdin Records had scheduled a double session for the third week of August for Amos Milburn.

This isn’t too unusual for big stars who spent a lot of time on the road, as you’d have to get them in the studio whenever you had the chance and record enough material to see you through the next few months of releases.

Furthermore, Milburn hadn’t been too prolific in that department lately and he wasn’t writing many of his own songs for awhile, so by collecting a bunch of outside contributions they’d be able to get twice as many cuts (eight… actually nine in this case) as they would for a normal single session (which were the standard four songs in three hours), thereby keeping them well stocked going forward.

But they also might’ve done this because they’d been poised to release another Milburn single that month as Aladdin 3146 which featured some very old material, one of which, Button Your Lip, was put to wax the very first week of 1950. But that was nothing compared to the other half, Everything I Do Is Wrong, which incredibly dated back to December 1946 and had already been released once not long after that.

Who’s bright idea was this proposed single?

Maybe what they were trying to tell Milburn was unless he got back in the studio soon, they’d be forced to put out a scratchy audio recording of him as a baby in his crib as he was crying while making music with his rattle.

Of course that still doesn’t explain the initial presence of My Luck Is Bound To Change as the apparent first choice for the B-side of THIS single, as that’s a song that is relatively new by comparison, as it was cut in February 1949 in the midst of Milburn’s hottest commercial success.

That’d have been nice to hear back then for sure, but three and a half years is a long time in something as rapidly evolving as rock ‘n’ roll and so with all of these newly cut songs to choose from they quickly swapped it out for Kiss Me Again, a recording which in many ways sounds as if it’s from… 1949.

Wait a second… what?!?!?

Yeah, I don’t understand it either, but I’ve already graduated fourth grade and so I’ve long since moved past the intelligence level of record company executives when it comes to making decisions.

Daylight Shall Come But In Vain
One of the things that on the surface seems to be a credit to his talents, but which in reality may have caused Amos Milburn some short-term grief (and long-term confusion amongst historians) is the fact that he was relatively adaptable to different musical genres.

Make no mistake about it, Milburn was a rock artist through and through at his core. He damn well helped to invent the entire style of rock ‘n’ roll in the late 1940’s and his biggest hits, most influential cuts and greatest performances were all squarely in the rock idiom, full stop. But he was also capable of giving the appearance of being a blues artist if he so chose, or even a jazz singer if the lights were dimmed low enough.

Because of this his songs aimed at the rock audience sometimes contained shadings of other types of music. We’re obviously not stupid enough to suggest that great ballads like Bewildered weren’t rock simply because they weren’t rockING, but rather that with different accompaniment and by altering his vocal delivery he could pass muster in a field like cocktail blues which his buddy Charles Brown ruled commercially during this same period that Milburn dominated the rock headlines.

On Kiss Me Again however, it seems as if the band led by producer Maxwell Davis is aware this is meant to be a rock song, while Milburn remains a bit confused – or maybe a little stubborn – and keeps insisting it would be better served in cocktail blues.

Of course considering the source material came from opera and dated back even further (1905) than either of the two sides of the aforementioned cancelled single from last month, it’s hardly surprising that all of them might be a little uncertain as to what to do with it.

Safe In Your Arms
As for how this composition found its way to rock ‘n’ roll and specifically to Amos Milburn, that’s not too hard to figure, as in 1950 Vaughn Monroe, no longer the commercial heavyweight he’d been a few years earlier but still a big name, had a version of it which his lusty baritone replaced the soaring soprano of Fritzi Scheff and cut back on some – but not all – of the ornate trappings and made it more conventional for modern times.

Milburn and Maxwell Davis take that even further here, as Davis presents Kiss Me Again with a modestly suitable rock arrangement featuring his sax out in front, grinding out a riff to kick it off that would curl Vaughn Monroe’s hair and cause Fritzi Scheff to keel over in shock.

The problem though is Milburn has no prototypes on which to base his vocal on, just a reconfigured melody, and so he vacillates between a more appropriate harder-edged delivery before easing back into a dreamy-headed croon that sounds as if he hastily ingested a dime bag of primo weed when the cops came prowling around his dressing room and which suddenly hit his bloodstream mid-song.

It’s not a good match, as the sax solo – while relatively tame – still sounds reasonably appropriate for the rock landscape, while Amos sounds as if he’s left his piano stool and in a dinner jacket with a mic in one hand and a cigarette in the other, is trying to impress the regulars at a jazz club in Greenwich Village, almost seeming as if he’s going to start scatting any minute.

The thing is, he probably COULD pull that off alright, for he certainly doesn’t sound bad here, just woefully inappropriate at times. But that while that explains the attempt, it doesn’t excuse it and makes you wish they kept the original older song as the B-side after all.

Again And Again
Actually, let’s not get carried away, for while their apparent first choice may have been a little more suited for our needs, it was hardly ideal either, as it was far more bluesy than we typically want to hear a rock act behaving.

Remember, too much of that kind of thing in somebody’s catalog only confuses matters when people try and find reasons to jettison another rock pioneer to a genre they deem less “important” so they can go on pretending that Sam Phillips or some other overhyped white guy invented the entire movement.

Besides, we’re here to review what actually DID make it to the market, which is Kiss Me Again and as stated there’s some moments here to be admired thanks to Maxwell Davis’s arranging skill. Even Amos Milburn’s more typical vocal approach works well enough on this song when he applies it properly, adding a good deal of hormonal urgency to what had been – in ALL renditions – a typically sexless look at love.

But that’s as far as it goes. We’re not sadists who get our kicks from hearing these kinds of Frankenstein monster musical experiments where all sorts of mismatched parts are stitched together on a lark.

So while we can give them marginal credit for sections of the performance, maybe even admire their confidence in thinking they could pull something like this off, in the end it was a strategical misfire, soon to be forgotten since it was only a harmless B-side after all.


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