In the mid-1940s he first began to record Cajun musicians, most notably the Cajun string band Happy, Doc, and the Boys. In the 1950s he began to record swamp pop artists, including King Karl, Guitar Gable, Warren Storm, Rod Bernard and Johnnie Allan, among others. Around this time he also began to record swamp blues artists like Lightning Slim, Lazy Lester, and Slim Harpo. It was Miller who produced Harpo's "I'm a King Bee" and "Rainin' In My Heart," significant swamp blues recordings later covered (re-recorded) respectively by Rolling Stones and Neil Young, to name a few.
During his lifetime Miller's studio, "Master-Trak Sound Recorders", attracted a handful of mainstream recording artists, including Paul Simon and John Fogerty.
Although he claimed to be a segregationist, Miller nonetheless used interracial studio bands during the Jim Crow era, when black and white musicians in the South were not permitted to mingle onstage or elsewhere in public. He professed to enjoy African-American blues music more than another other musical genre, and he even penned blues songs under the pseudonym "Jay West" (a name he used to disguise his race). Yet in the 1960's he also produced and released several racist recordings on his own Reb Rebel label, most notably those of Johnny Rebel.
Miller was also a songwriter, and he has written such songs as "I Made A Big Mistake", "Diggy Liggy Lo", "I Hear You Knocking", "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels", "Sugarcoated Love", "I'm A Lover Not A Fighter" and "Falling Falling Falling", "Cryin' Over You", "Cry Cry Darling", among others.
Following complications from quadruple bypass surgery, Miller died March 23, 1996, in Lafayette, LA, at the age of 73.
J.D. Miller Discography
- 1 Remix
- 4 Instruments & Performance
- 341 Writing & Arrangement
- 30 Production
- 8 Technical
- 1 Acting, Literary & Spoken