Little Milton is one of the few active bluesmen who can trace their careers back to Sam Phillips’s legendary Sun label in Memphis. In those days Milton mimicked everyone from his Memphis compatriot B.B. King to New Orleans shouter Roy Brown with uncanny accuracy, and though his sides from that era are now collectors’ items it wasn’t until he found his own style–on labels such as Bobbin, Chess, and Malaco–that he put together one of the blues’ most artistically satisfying careers. Milton’s guitar playing is a straightforward synthesis of B.B.’s string-bending melodicism and the aggressive emotionality of his own Mississippi-Memphis roots. He remains a versatile vocal stylist as well, capable of everything from funky celebrations of the blues life (“Annie Mae’s Cafe”) to lugubrious pop flowerpots like “The Wind Beneath My Wings.” In recent years he’s received widespread airplay on commercial urban contemporary radio–unusual for blues artists–and he’s among the biggest attractions on the southern-based chitlin’ circuit. He has yet, however, to attain a large white listenership–this appearance should begin to remedy that situation, at least in Chicago. Friday, 11 PM, Buddy Guy’s Legends, 754 S. Wabash; 427-0333 or 427-1190. DAVID WHITEIS

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/James Fraher.