IMAGES OF ELVIN BISHOP BY KURT SWANSON
When guitarist/vocalist Elvin Bishop took the stage at San Francisco’s Biscuits & Blues on January 9, 2000 (the first of three nights of sold-out shows), he knew that sparks would soon be flying. That’s because his longtime friend and mentor, guitarist Little Smokey Smothers, was joining him. After all, without Little Smokey Smothers, Elvin Bishop’s career path would have been completely different. It was Smothers who befriended Bishop when Bishop first arrived in Chicago. Smothers taught Bishop about the blues, taught him how to play guitar, and, most importantly, he taught Bishop about life as a bluesman. In fact it was Smothers who secured harmonicist/vocalist Paul Butterfield’s very first gig before Paul formed (and Elvin joined) the Butterfield Blues Band. Over the years Elvin and Little Smokey have remained close friends, and in 1995 they recorded together on Smothers’ very first solo album, released only in Europe. But now, almost 40 years after meeting, the two friends and musicians join forces on Alligator Records’ THAT’S MY PARTNER! (AL 4874), a blazing hot live album recorded at these historic, raucous shows.
THAT’S MY PARTNER! is a rip-roaring good time from start to finish. Elvin and Little Smokey are having the times of their lives, jamming through classics like Roll Your Moneymaker, Little Red Rooster and Elvin favorites like Travelin’ Shoes and Middle Aged Man. The album also includes two powerhouse Smothers’ originals, Annie Mae and Pleading With You. Backed by Elvin’s road-tested touring band, the record features loads of hot guitar interplay, tons of fun and one happy, enthusiastic audience. “Whenever we get together,” says Smothers, “we have a whole lot of fun, no matter where it’s at.” On THAT’S MY PARTNER!, Bishop and Smothers are having more than just fun, they’re making a whole lot of terrific music.~centerstage.com