The Malford Milligan Band

Texas platters

Phases and Stages

The Malford Milligan Band

Rides Again ...

Every thing about the Malford Milligan Band's debut is unremarkable: the title, artwork, song selection – compositions by Freddy King, Muddy Waters, Merle Haggard, and Buck Owens. Everything except Malford Milligan's voice, that is. When the veteran Austin bluesman rips into King's opening "Palace of the King" with full-throated command, the throne is his. Of course, the world needs more blues covers like it needs more synchronized teen singing, but there's simply no keeping Milligan down. When he struts through Jerry Lynn Williams' coolly defiant "No Beginner at the Blues," the singer's possession of the song sounds effortless. This ain't no babe in the woods. Local guitarists, bassists, drummers, horn players, and keyboardists galore ride this well-trodden territory, and yet the arrangements are never cluttered, so Milligan rarely over-emotes ("Blow Wind Blow"). No one will ever confuse his version of Otis Reddings' "These Arms of Mine" with the real thing, but Milligan puts his stamp on it readily enough, and that's no easy feat. At the point proceedings start getting rote, Milligan cooks up a couple of strong originals, which, particularly in the case of "Ain't Nobody," should've welcomed more such efforts. Blues has always been the rock and a hard place: Originals better be up to the Willie Dixons of the world, or why bother? A humble, sincere interpretation of the Cars' "Drive" in the closing slot is perfect middle ground. Rides Again is unremarkable enough, but then Malford Milligan can certainly "Drive."

**.5

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Guy Forsyth & Jeska Bailey
Conspirators (Record Review)

Reid Jowers, Sept. 27, 2019

Texas Platters
The Texas Horns
Get Here Quick (Record Review)

Jay Trachtenberg, Sept. 20, 2019

More by Raoul Hernandez
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Crucial Concerts for the Coming Week
Swallow the Sun, Benny the Butcher, Every Time I Die, Buck Meek, and more recommended shows

Nov. 19, 2021

Alejandro Escovedo Album Review
Alejandro Escovedo Album Review
La Cruzada (Yep Roc)

Nov. 19, 2021

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle