When I was invited to write the notes for a LeGarde Twins album earlier this year it was an enjoyable exercise, because they were unique in being identical twins – or so I thought. You wait all these years and then two come along: the Milo brothers, who also happen to be clone of each other! (Actually, it’s not two, it’s four, but let’s not confuse this issue.)
Researching the LeGarde Twins was a relatively simple task but the Milo brothers, Edwin and Edward, presented an enormous challenge because, what background information I had was culled from German magazines and yes, you’ve guessed it – in German! No help to me whatsoever, as my command of German is limited to order a large beer. However, I eventually drew enough snippets of information to provide a few paragraphs on two engaging performers.
Musically, the Milo Twins were cut from the same cloth as the Delmore, Shelton, York and Callahan Brothers – brother duets in other words, and close harmony ones at all. Edwin and Edward Milo (their surname derived from Miolen) were born five minutes apart in Copperhill, Tennessee, on 11 November 1916 and went on to become highly respected musicians and singers and yet more is known about them in Germany than in their homeland. Like so other country/hillbilly names from the 1930s and ‘40s, the Milos appear to have been swirled away in the mist of time and yet they are known to rock’n’roll enthusiasts because of their spirited Truck Driver’s Boogie recording of 1948.
The Milo Twins emerged as a potent musical act during the 1930s and were associated with a number of radio stations, including WLST, Atlanta, Georgia; WMBR, Jacksonville, Florida; WRRR, Dallas, Texas; and WSM, Nashville, Tennessee. They also recorded for several labels including Decca and Capitol and the Standard Transcription Company. Titles like Quit Treatin’ Me Mean and Ain’t It Hard (To Love One That Don’t love You) were early Milo Twins songs on Decca; and yet, outside of scant information on latter-day rock’n’roll collections, and the German feature from Rockin’ Fifties magazine (June 2003), there is precious little else on this brother act and only a few more songs like Singing My Troubles Away, Weary Lonesome Blues, Fugitive’s Lament, I’m Worried Now and It’s Sinful To Flirt do remind us they existed at all.
Dig deep enough on the internet, however, and you’ll discover the boys with Jimmy Wakely on a YouTube video from 1944 entitled “I’m From Arkansas”(duke618 archives) with a running time of 3:55. That particular movie starred Bruce Bennett and Iris Adrian. Two other movies also featured the Milo brothers and these were “Sing, Neighbour, Sing” (1944, which also featured Roy Acuff and the Smoky mountain Boys, Carolina Cotton and Lulubelle & Scotty) and “Marked For Murder” from 1945, which starred Brad Taylor and also included Tex Ritter in its cast.
The Milo Twins were hardly prolific recording artists, yet the titles they cut for Decca and Capitol suggest a substantial Delmore Brothers influence; and among the songs they recorded for Capitol were Pretty mama Boogie, Coo See Coo, Frail Quail, Baby Buggy Boogie, Swamp Woman Blues, Down Town Boogie and Brushy Mountain. Avid collectors of early country music trivia will possibly locate brief references to the Milo Twins in ancient publications like Mountain Broadcast & Prairie Recorder and National Hillbilly News, but little else. The boys’ recordings are equally hard to come by and, if my sources are correct, command healthy prices when found.
Edwin Milo died in Boston, Massachussetts, in 1965 and brother Edward moved to Dalton, Georgia, where he passed away in 1978. Both were genuine but forgotten pioneers of genuine country music; forgotten, that is, until these delightful old recordings were sourced, restored and transferred to a modern format.
Bryan Chalker, June 2009
BACM owner did not allow Bopping to have the Milo Twins CD available to downloading. So I can only include the podcast of the 3 tunes I own: one from a personal 78 rpm and two from a 1982 Charly album “Boogie Woogie Fever” (Capitol vaults). Anyhow, if you want more, do order the BACM CD – it’s full of good time music – at http://bacm.users.btopenworld.com/contact.html
Thanks to David Barnes for the scan of Capitol 78 rpm.