A scarce, beautiful 1951 Roy Brown / Roy Milton concert poster designed to advertise a mid-century R&B concert tour.
Besides the two Roys, R&B songstress Camille Howard is the third act on the poster, which rounded out the “Triple Attraction” it promises at the top.
This Roy Brown placard is known as a “tour blank” – meaning it was used from town to town, with the lower portion remaining unchanged, and each city’s date, ticket price and so forth printed into the blank portion at the top.
On my particular poster, however, that top section was trimmed down in order to fit this thing into the back of an old mirror frame.
As a result of that trimming, my piece measures only 22 by 24 inches, whereas the original dimensions of this Roy Milton poster board were 22 by 28 inches.
If I were to trim off another couple of inches, the result would be a perfect square, which would be a great size for framing.
I just love the design of this Roy Brown show poster; the red and blue hues are great attention-grabbers.
In fact, red ink outpaces the blue ink about two-to-one; the blue is used as a nice transition background color, and only on the bottom half.
Globe Poster Corp. of Baltimore was the manufacturer of this Roy Milton tour poster – and they also created the design and layout.
Another fun feature here is the way all those little white lines fly away from Roy Brown’s face … an effective artistic touch that shows action and excitement.
Notice that Globe also used a lot of different type sizes and fonts for the lettering on its Roy Brown in-person poster… that’s a technique that automatically makes things more appealing to the eye.
This poster actually has close ties to the genesis of rock & roll… Elvis Presley recorded “Good Rockin’ Tonight” (shortened by a word on the poster) as his second Sun Records 45 release.
So it’s really a thrill to have a Roy Brown window poster plugging “Good Rockin’ Tonight” two years before Elvis recorded it. Wow!
That groundbreaking song features the phrase, “Tonight I’ll be your mighty, mighty man,” so Brown named his backing group the Mighty, Mighty Men.
This Roy Milton appearance poster doesn’t list any of his songs, but it’s not for lack of success… Milton had accrued 16 consecutive Top 10 rhythm & blues hits at the time of this poster, even more than Brown.
But at least the poster name-checks Milton’s back-up group, “his Solid Senders,” which included Camille Howard, by the way.
This Roy Milton window display has significance in the development of Elvis’s Sun career from Milton’s perspective, too.
His 1946 record “Milton’s Boogie” quotes a snippet of Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup’s seminal 45 release “That’s All Right,” which – as you know – Elvis famously recorded as his debut Sun single in 1954. You can bet that Presley heard “Milton’s Boogie” on the radio, in addition to the Crudup single, because it reached the #3 chart position.
So a lot of Elvis Presley followers would consider this Roy Brown event poster to be a real harbinger of what was to come in the King of Rock ’n’ Roll’s earliest recording days. How could you argue otherwise?
As I often explain in this space, this poster was a tour blank… it was used for an entire tour, with the only thing changing being the city-to-city info which would be printed in at the top.
To help explain this technique used by promoters, I hold up a photograph in my video of this very Roy Milton show placard which does have specifics printed into the top portion. And one picture, as you’ll see, is worth a thousand words.
Of course, you’re right, I would much prefer mine to have that information up at the top, instead of my “blank.” But with the scarcity of these posters, you take what you can get!
Globe Posters also generated a 14-by-22-inch version of this Roy Milton concert placard from the same era, and some collectors actually prefer the smaller size because they’re easier to frame.
But I favor the larger size, because since the graphics are so attractive here, it’s a matter of the more size, the merrier!
I’ve neglected to mention more about Camille Howard at the bottom of this Roy Brown billboard. After all, she was billed as the tour’s “third attraction.”
Well, all Ms. Howard did was chart two Top 10 R&B hits on her very own, apart from Milton, so she had it going on herself, too.
On the condition tip, you might notice that my Roy Brown tour placard has a few words written on it lightly, which I never like to see, but one has to live with.
For whatever reason – talk about redundant – someone penciled in “Roy Brown – Roy Milton – “ under the latter’s picture. But since it’s in pencil, a restorer could easily zap it out of there.
Back on the design tip, it’s cool the way “Plus” shows up between acts #1 & 2 and #2 and 3. It’s almost like they really wanted to underscore that this was a “triple attraction.”
And it’s cool the way “Plus” appears as a blue word inside the black arrow by Milton’s head, with a touch of red also peeking through.
One of the subliminal attractions of this Roy Brown street poster is the way all three musicians are wearing bright, happy smiles. That’s no coincidence… a poster like this must grab your attention and compel you to pull out your wallet. Containing happy faces was one effective way of achieving that feeling.
I do give Globe kudos for squeezing in a photo of Camille Howard down at the bottom, rather than just listing her name. I guess they kind of had to do that. to bolster their “triple attraction” claim.
Giving every element of it serious consideration, I’d have to label this Roy Milton broadside as a beautiful post-war, pre-rock & roll, rhythm ’n’ blues concert poster.
Another moniker that comes to mind is “Jump Blues,” an important post-war musical art form based on R&B music… and which certainly applies here.
I’ve already covered the fact that this 1950s Roy Brown window card was trimmed at the top back in the day, and that maybe it could be trimmed down a little bit more to form a square, which would look great framed.
Heck, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine someone cutting even this piece in half to create a couple of separate, good-looking horizontal strips for each artist alone, also suitable for framing.
I didn’t mention yet that this Roy Milton fence poster was made on rigid cardboard, to hold up against any possible inclement weather outside.
Can you just imagine if Globe made their old concert posters out of paper? So fewer would have survived over the years… we’d practically never seen any!
As cool as this Roy Brown street sign is, I’ve actually seen a better-looking one, believe it or not… from 1952 and ’53. It’s the smaller size, but its graphics are dramatically nice. I’ll video-blog it as soon as I can get my hands on one.
The trouble is, collectors usually don’t have free choice in which ones they want to collect; these things are so few & far between, that we have to kind of take whatever comes along.
The reason the promoters went to the expense of creating a Roy Milton concert advertisement like this is because it was one of only three avenues they had to pursue, to get the word out.
Simply put, they could either make up concert posters, or they could take out ads in local newspapers or on radio shows. That was it, other than word-of-mouth.
So as a result – lucky for us collectors – you have this colorful Roy Brown concert announcement 50+ years later, whereas all newspapers are long gone and radio ads are not even tangible, of course.
I really feel that there’s some kind of “collector’s gene” that makes people like me love this stuff… and for whatever reason, 99% of the time that gene is found in males, not females. Yes, some women “collect” things, but I see it more as “gathering” or “hoarding”… it’s men that really drive hobbies like this.
This Roy Milton boxing style concert poster is lectured upon by long-time music collector Peter Howard. Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (805) 540-0020. I will pay TOP DOLLAR IN THE HOBBY for this poster with its venue info intact at the top! Or for any other vintage concert posters of this ilk.
And to see some additional nice R&B posters from years past, please click on http://www.postercentral.com/rhythmnblues.htm