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If ever there was a fitting title – also known as self-incrimination – in rock history then it was surely this song.

You’d think Amos Milburn, Aladdin Records and their various lawyers and representatives would want to try and mask their shameful attempts at conjuring up records from their past, but no, not these guys. They were being boldly upfront and unapologetic about it.

Needless to say, this can and will be used against them in court when they go on trial for general incompetence.


How Could It End? Here’s How!
The first thing you as a music fan must come to grips with is that NO record company, not a single one of them, actually cared about music. Not in the least.

They cared about SELLING music, but if they could’ve sold a recording of somebody playing a cowbell or making armpit noises and had a greater profit, they wouldn’t have bothered with musicians, singers or producers.

Since the market for armpit noises outside of the second grade is pretty low however, it meant they had to find musicians and singers and producers and pay them as little as possible to get them to create songs to record and sell. The cheaper this could be done, the quicker they could do it and the easier it could be accomplished, the more they liked it.

Heading into 1950 Aladdin Records had the single most profitable artist in all of rock in Amos Milburn because a) he was probably rock’s greatest all-around talent, a singer, songwriter and pianist of renown, b) they also had the greatest record producer in in the biz, Maxwell Davis, shepherding his sessions, and c) they rounded it out with the best material in the genre, whether his own or Davis’s compositions, or those coming from some first rate songwriters for hire like Jessie Mae Robinson and John Erby, or the occasional well-chosen cover song.

But upon reaching this plateau by the end of 1949 Aladdin Records suddenly figured with Milburn’s soaring popularity they’d be able to sell any old thing they threw out on the market, so Eddie and Leo Mesner, the label owners, had Milburn cut versions of any and every song that someone else was stirring interest with and they’d promptly issue Amos’s rendition to compete with it, throwing in a few old tracks of his that were collecting dust in the vaults as B-sides and call it a day.

That’s precisely when Amos Milburn’s career started to flounder.

Though some of it was actually done pretty well, and the older cuts were often every bit as good as newly recorded sides by his competitors, no longer was Milburn himself in control of his own musical destiny, nor was Davis. Instead two imbeciles with the musical acumen of an eggplant and rutabaga were reading the trade magazines and picking out songs for him to sing… probably because they were too cheap to invest in a Ouija board.

When they ran out of other people’s tunes to abscond with they turned to the tried and true back-up method for further derailing his momentum by having him re-do his own past hits with new lyrics and stories designed to disguise their intent before you brought the record home and heard it was nothing new after all.

By only getting hardcore fans to Remember his previous high points with these efforts in lieu of giving them any NEW high points you were all but ensuring that Milburn’s fans would be turning on him for forcing him to deliver such shallow hackneyed abominations as this.

Forget I Hurt You
Considering that we just basically absolved them all for the same duplicitous trick on the top side of this release with Sax Shack Boogie you might be wondering why we’re suddenly being so hard on them for doing the exact same thing here.

Good question and here’s a good answer. Because with the uptempo cuts the instrumentation could be beefed up and played with even more virile intensity to keep up with the changes in rock as a whole and they were able to bribeerr… pay Robinson to come up with a new story and some memorable lines for Amos to sing in the process.

But this isn’t an uptempo side and unlike the faster material the approach to rock balladry hadn’t changed much in two years and when you shoehorn a new song with much worse lyrics into the same melodic structure and musical arrangement you’re going to only wind up with a mess that pales in comparison to the original.

Here Milburn is forced to play a guy making up to a girl he hurt – how he did this we don’t find out, but considering the song my guess is he stole most of her belongings – and is apologizing to her and asking her to Remember the good times… which we also don’t get any insight on.

Milburn sings this with the appropriate ache in his voice, though it’s entirely possible the pain he was showing was due to the realization his own record label was out to end his career by now. Behind him the band were the same studio pros he knew so well, including Maxwell Davis who is the best part of this with his languorous sax lines, but they too were surely not much happier with this turn of events but at least they got paid no how they were being asked to humiliate themselves.

Because it’s difficult to cram new words into an old melody and convince people that it’s something new and wonderful, this is a record that only comes across well if heard through plenty of gauze. The lyrical cadences are painfully awkward at times and there’s just one line, or image, they come up with that shows a modicum of creativity by using a weather analogy in describing their love… but even that wit only becomes apparent mainly by how Amos himself holds the pause in the middle of the payoff line to draw attention to it, otherwise it’d have passed without notice like a cloud on a dark night.

On top of it all the plot itself is distressing, especially if you make the rather easy assumption that this guy hit or otherwise abused his girlfriend in the past, and though the musical performance still retains an appealing sound, why on earth would you listen to this when you could take a far better record you already paid for off the shelf and listen to that instead?


Could We Ever Love Again?
What’s most galling about this isn’t necessarily hearing Milburn channel Bewildered again, after all, he still sings and plays better than almost anybody, but rather how brazen they were in their disrespect for us as consumers. At this point they aren’t even trying anymore, just expecting you to be gullible enough to fall for it again. If one of the Mesners spit in your face while the other picked your pocket from behind it wouldn’t be more of an affront than what they’re trying to do here.

Remember this? No thanks, this is something we’d rather forget.

All of which goes to show you that whenever and wherever you read anything positive about the independent record company operators of the 1950’s it is a lie. A big, fat, smelly, obnoxious lie like so many of the men themselves.

The fact that they were deemed necessary to put out the music we love all those years, and in most cases reaped the lion’s share of the financial rewards for doing so, is one of those cruel ironies imposed upon the world to make humanity pay for centuries of untold crimes against the universe.


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