Little Smokey Smothers

Little Smokey Smothers

born on 2/1/1939 in Tchula, MS, United States

died on 20/11/2010 in Chicago, IL, United States

Little Smokey Smothers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
Little Smokey Smothers

Little Smokey Smothers (January 2, 1939[1] November 20, 2010)[2] was an African American, Chicago blues guitarist and singer.

His elder brother, Otis (died 1993), was known as the bluesman Otis "Big Smokey" Smothers, with whom he was sometimes confused.


Albert Abraham "Abe" Smothers was born in Tchula, Mississippi,[1][2] learned guitar at the age of 15, and relocated to Chicago two years later.[3][4] He soon appeared on stage playing alongside Arthur Big Boy Spires, Magic Sam, Otis Rush and Lazy Bill Lucas.[4] In 1958 he joined up with Howlin' Wolf, and played on Wolf's recording session for Chess Records the following year. Tracks Smothers contributed to included "I've Been Abused," "Howlin' for My Darling," and "Mr. Airplane Man."[1]

In 1961 he founded Little Smokey Smothers and the Pipeplayers.[4] He later met Paul Butterfield and became a founding member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band. He was replaced in the band by Elvin Bishop, but developed a friendship that lasted a lifetime.[4] Throughout the 1960s Smothers appeared with Buddy Guy, James Cotton, Earl Hooker, and Junior Wells.[3] Musical opportunities dried up in the 1970s, and Smothers worked in construction.[4] He recorded again, after several years break, in 1979 as part of Mojo Buford's Chicago Blues Summit album.[5] He re-appeared in the 1980s with The Legendary Blues Band.[6] Their 1989 recording, Woke up with the Blues, included contributions from Smothers.[4][7]

In 1993, Bishop made a guest appearance on Smothers first solo album with the Dutch Black Magic label, Bossman! The Chicago Blues of Little Smokey Smothers. The recording also included work from Smothers' cousin, Lee "Shot" Williams.[1] Bishop and Smothers played at the 1993 Chicago Blues Festival.[8] Smothers had open heart surgery in 1995, but the following year issued Second Time Around.[4] Smothers performed at the 1999 San Diego Blues Festival, and at a party for Mick Jagger's 55th birthday.[3]

Alligator Records then issued That's My Partner (2000), a live album recorded in San Francisco, which saw Smothers reunited with Bishop.[1] Smothers also appeared at the 2000 Chicago Blues Festival.[9] He also featured in Martin Scorsese's 2003 television series The Blues, with excerpts from his live show.[5] In 2006 Smothers and Bishop played live at the Ground Zero club in Clarksdale, Mississippi. Latterly Smothers experienced health problems, and had both legs amputated due to diabetes.

In 2009, Bishop compiled the benefit album, Chicago Blues Buddies, incorporating recordings made by Smothers and Bishop dating back to 1992. Proceeds from the album helped to pay for Smothers' medical costs.[8]

On November 20, 2010, after a spell in a Chicago hospital, Smothers died of natural causes.[2]



  • Bossman! The Chicago Blues of Little Smokey Smothers (1993) - Black Magic (Netherlands)
  • Second Time Around (1996) - Crosscut (Germany)
  • Chicago Blues Buddies (2009) - Black Derby[10]

Other appearances

  • Woke up with the Blues (1989) - Ichiban - The Legendary Blues Band
  • Cold Shot (1995) - Black Magic - Lee "Shot" Williams
  • That's My Partner (2000) - Alligator - Elvin Bishop
  • Chicago Blues Summit (2002) - P-Vine - George "Mojo" Buford

See also

  • List of Chicago blues musicians


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Dahl, Bill. [Little Smokey Smothers at All Music Guide Little Smokey Smothers]. Allmusic. Retrieved on March 3, 2010.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 White, Jim. Chicago blues guitarist "Little Smokey" Smothers dies. Retrieved on November 23, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Little Smokey Smothers. Retrieved on March 3, 2010.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 Albert "Little Smokey" Smothers. Mississippi Writers & Musicians. Retrieved on March 3, 2010.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Dick Shurman & Bruce Iglauer, Obituary in Juke Blues no.70, 2010, p.60
  6. [1]
  7. Blues News: International News. (2000-01-02). Retrieved on 2014-01-27.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Gordon, Rev. Keith A.. Little Smokey Smothers Benefit CD. Retrieved on March 3, 2010.
  9. Homepage | HDtracks - The World's Greatest-Sounding Music Downloads. HDtracks. Retrieved on 2014-01-27.
  10. Little Smokey Smothers | Discography. AllMusic (1939-01-02). Retrieved on 2014-01-27.

External links

  • Chicagobluesguide feature
  • Photographs at
This page was last modified 27.01.2014 14:05:15

This article uses material from the article Little Smokey Smothers from the free encyclopedia Wikipedia and it is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.