THE MIKE HENDERSON BAND
IF YOU THINK IT’S HOT HERE…
ELLERSOUL RECORDS ELL 1501
I WANTA KNOW WHY–SEND YOU BACK TO GEORGIA–IT’S ALRIGHT–IF YOU THINK IT’S HOT HERE–WEEPIN AND MOANIN–MEAN RED SPIDER–IF I HAD POSSESSION–UNSEEN EYE–MATCHBOX–GAMBLIN BLUES–ROCK HOUSE BLUES
We have been fans of Mike Henderson ever since his 2006 album, “Edge Of Night,” and his blazing version of “My baby she left me ’cause I wouldn’t lay my guitar down.” He’s not only a monster, in-demand guitar player, he’s a fine singer and harp man as well. And, you can also add Grammy-nominated songwriter to his resume’, too.
This fantastic entertainer is back on the Ellersoul label with “If You Think It’s Hot Here,” which returns him to his blues-rockin’ roots with a sweet mixture of originals and covers over the course of the eleven cuts presented herein. His backing band ain’t no slouch, either, with Michael Rhodes on bass, Pat O’Connor on drums, and the immensely-talented Kevin McKendree on keys.
Mike captures that “old school” vibe on all these cuts, letting his vocals and guitar take charge. There is absolutely not a weak cut on this one, folks, but we picked some highlights. The fellows rock the house on “Send You Back To Georgia,” Theodore Roosevelt “Hound Dog” Taylor’s “It’s Alright,” and turn Muddy’s “Mean Red Spider” into a struttin’ slab of funk, with an extended solo from Kevin on piano. And, “don’t let your right hand know what your left hand do,” because Sonny Boy’s “Unseen Eye is watching you!”
Mike’s originals capture that spirit of down-home blues, too. The set kicks off with the red-hot “I Wanta Know,” and closes with Mike on harp and Kevin on piano for a cool instrumental, “Rock House Blues.”
We had some favorites, too. Mike’s slide is sho’ nuff workin’ overtime on his Delta-fied read of “If I Had Possession Over Judgement Day.” One can almost feel the ghost of Robert Johnson standin’ over his shoulder on this one. And, at the total opposite end of the spectrum is the title cut. It’s a sobering look at Eternity and doing unto others, “If You Think It’s Hot Here, just wait until that Pearly Gate is closed!”
Mike Henderson is the real deal, the genuine artifcle, and any other adjective you can think of. He still holds down that solid Monday night gig at the iconic Bluebird Cafe, and “If You Think It’s Hot Here” just adds to his growing legacy! Until next time….Sheryl and Don Crow.