COTTON MOUTH–HOW LONG–SMOKIN’–MOANIN’–WHEN MY BABY LEFT–SLAM HAMMER–WHATCHA GONNA DO–SAM’S BLUES–BAD BOY–NOT WHAT MAMA PLANNED–TRYNA FIND MY BABY–SITTIN’ HERE BABY
Little Mike (Markowitz) was raised in New York City, and had the opportunity to meet the legends who came to town to play the blues. As such, he forged a lot of friendships with some of those greats that have lasted a lifetime. A powerful harp man, pianist, composer, and singer, he’s had recent highly-acclaimed sets reviewed within the pages of this humble forum with Zora Young, and a long-lost, rare live show with Jimmy Rogers and Pinetop.
His latest is entitled “How Long?” and it combines his love for blues from back in the day with some fine, original, contemporary blues written and played in the old-school style. When you hear Mike’s harp, you’ll hear nuances from Cotton to Carey, and his piano playing brings to mind Rosco Gordon and ol’ Joe Willie Perkins himself.
Blasting off like a V-8 motor made of modern design is the blistering leadoff instrumental, “Cotton Mouth.” He has some more good instrumentals, too, with the rhum-boogie beat of a song identified with Johnny Young, “Slam Hammer,” and an original that is seven minutes of deep, slow-blues bliss, the soul-satisfying groove of ” Sam’s Blues.”
Mike’s original vocal tunes are mighty strong, too. Check out the soul-blues tune dealing with Karma and “biting the hand that puts food on your plate,” “Whatcha Gonna Do?” The life of a bluesman is well-documented, too. A jazzy groove defines the story of a man who follows his heart, and is definitely “Not What Mama Planned.” The set closes on a similar note. “Sittin’ Here Baby, a thousand miles away from you” deals with loneliness on the road as only a man who’s been there can tell.
Our favorite was easy. Mike’s harp is all over the double-time, rat-a-tat-tat beat of a tale dealing with his worst habit, “I just can’t stop Smokin,’ no matter how hard I try.”
In the liner notes of “How Long?” there is an excerpt from an interview Little Mike did with Blues @ Greece. When asked to describe his sound, Mike shared what his fans already know–it’s deep, hard-hitting, and raw, and goes straight from his heart into your soul! Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow.