- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 4, 2005

JACKSON, Miss. — Little Milton Campbell, a booming-voiced blues singer and guitarist known for his gritty, pleading songs of lost love, died yesterday of complications from a stroke. He was 70.

His family said Mr. Campbell died in a Memphis, Tenn., hospital from a cerebral hemorrhage as a result of a stroke he suffered July 27.

Greg Preston, a close friend and producer of Mr. Campbell’s 2000 Grammy-nominated album “Welcome to Little Milton,” visited the singer in the hospital over the weekend.

Mr. Preston said he played some of Mr. Campbell’s music in an attempt to bring him out of his comatose state.

Mr. Campbell is best remembered for his voice, which Mr. Preston said resonated with audiences nationwide.

“Every time I was in the studio with him, his voice was bigger than the whole building,” he said.

Mr. Campbell’s hit record “We’re Gonna Make It” and his 1978 vintage black jacket were on display last year in Clarksdale, Miss., as part of a “Sweet Home Chicago” exhibit at the Delta Blues Museum.

“It was a very good feeling … to see people get excited,” Mr. Campbell told a reporter.

Mr. Campbell was born on a Delta farm near Inverness, Miss., on Sept. 7, 1934. He was named after his father, Big Milton, a locally known blues musician.

In 1953, Mr. Campbell was introduced to Sam Phillips of Sun Records by talent scout Ike Turner. Some of his first recordings were on the Sun label backed by the Ike Turner Band.

Mr. Campbell went on to record “I’m a Lonely Man” and “That Will Never Do” for Bobbin Records. He switched to Checker Records in 1960. In 1965, he had the hit “We’re Gonna Make It.”

Mr. Campbell joined Stax Records in 1971 and recorded “Annie Mae’s Cafe” and “Little Bluebird,” two of his most memorable songs. In 1988, he was presented with the W.C. Handy Award as blues entertainer of the year. He was also inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame that year.

The Delta native also enjoyed a career with Malaco Records in Jackson, Miss., which began in 1984. At the label he wrote “The Blues Is Alright” and recorded “Welcome To Little Milton,” which was nominated for Best Contemporary Blues Album.

At the time of his death, Mr. Campbell was signed with the label Telarc International, based in Cleveland. His last album, “Think of Me,” was released in May 2005.

Funeral services were pending. Mr. Campbell is survived by his wife, Patricia, and three children.

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