Hip gospel, laid-back soul, and cool grooves! This sound reaches back to major tours with Louis Armstrong and BB King, back to Houston's old Fifth Ward and Third Ward, back to the golden era of the blues. Jewel Brown and Milton Hopkins bring all this together on their new release on Dialtone Records. Fifth Ward native Milton Hopkins is a cousin of Lightnin' Hopkins, the epitome of old-style Houston blues. In 1950, along with the great saxophonist Grady Gaines and others, the young guitarist joined a band called the Tempo Toppers backing the early R&B sensation Little Richard. By 1953, the Duke-Peacock Records impresario Don Robey had also recruited Milton to do session work with some gospel groups. Soon after that, he went on the road with the late, great Johnny Ace and Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton. In 1956, Milton got the opportunity to play with his musical hero, Gatemouth Brown. Things were on the upswing as he reunited with Grady Gaines in The Upsetters, which soon became one of the premier R&B/Rock & Roll groups in the country--the band of choice for performers such as Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson and the Drifters. Milton left the Upsetters in 1963 and moved to San Francisco where he worked briefly with Marvin Gaye and Lou Rawls and also had the chance to play with his famous cousin. In 1971, B.B. King, who remembered him from his days with the Upsetters, asked Milton to join the band. For the next nine years Milton Hopkins was B.B.'s rhythm guitar player, playing gigs all over the world. While vocalist Jewel Brown was still in high school in Third Ward, Lionel Hampton invited her to tour Europe, but she chose to stay in school while singing locally with her brother¹s group. In 1955 she recorded a single for Don Robey's Duke label and began to perform beyond Houston. In Los Angeles in 1957, Jewel sat in with organist Earl Grant at the Club Pigalle and was hired on the spot. From there she went on to Dallas to work in a nightclub owned by the infamous Jack Ruby. Based on the strength of her performances there, the legendary talent manager Joe Glaser gave Jewel the opportunity to join either of two jazz greats: Louis Armstrong or Duke Ellington. She chose the former, and from 1961 to 1969 she was the featured vocalist with the Louis Armstrong band. Jewel's subsequent career includes affiliations with Carrol Garner, Earl Grant, and Arnett Cobb, among others. In 1971, after twenty-three years of singing professionally, she took leave from the stage and returned to Houston to care for her ailing parents--and later to pursue a successful business career outside of music. Since then she has only occasionally displayed her considerable talents for live audiences, mainly at special events in Houston and New Orleans or on European tours with The Heritage Hall Jazz Band. Now, Milton Hopkins and Jewel Brown come together on record for the first time. Backed by a band of first-rate players, these two musical veterans deliver a classic blues statement for the twenty-first century. The quality of the vintage testifies to the rich depths of the roots. Savor it and enjoy!