by Rick Moore
“Little Mike” Markowitz has a blues history that dates back some 30 years, having worked with Chicago blues legends like Pinetop Perkins, Hubert Sumlin and Eddy “The Chief” Clearwater. On his latest album Forgive Me, Little Mike returns after a long hiatus to do what he does best: blow some mean and tasty blues harp to a group of mostly three-chord progression original 12-bar Chicago-style blues tunes.
There’s nothing new or startling here, and that’s just fine. If there’s one thing that Little Mike and his band do particularly well on Forgive Me, it’s stay within the framework of the song and not try to blow everyone away with chops they may not (or actually may) have. Instead, all of them, particularly the leader, go for taste and groove, and they hit the mark squarely. If there’s a drawback it’s that, like so many harp players who front a band, Little Mike isn’t any great singer. But then, he doesn’t try to be something he isn’t, doing the same thing with his vocals that he does with his harp playing, and just singing the song with what he has to put into it, not reaching for histrionics he can’t accomplish. Not everyone is Delbert McClinton.
For fans of the Chicago blues genre – and make no mistake, this is more real blues than pseudo-blues wrapped up in a rock bag – this album succeeds well. In a day when guys like Little Mike are disappearing fast, it’s nice to have him back.
For more, visit littlemikeandthetornadoes.com
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