Not to be confused with his late older brother Big Smokey, Albert "Little Smokey" Smothers began to transcend his journeyman status in 1993 with a superlative Dick Shurman-produced album for the Dutch Black Magic label, Bossman: The Chicago Blues of Little Smokey Smothers. The set happily reunited him with his ex-guitar pupil Elvin Bishop and his cousin, singer Lee Shot Williams.
Little Smokey rolled into Chicago during the mid-'50s, landing gigs with guitarist Arthur "Big Boy" Spires and pianist Lazy Bill Lucas and playing with Howlin' Wolf on the 1959 Chess session that produced "I've Been Abused" and "Mr. Airplane Man." Smothers fell in with young White harpist Paul Butterfield when the latter was just starting out in the early '60s and is still fondly recalled as a major influence by his buddy Bishop, who would go on to make history as Butterfield's slashing axeman after Smothers left the harpist's employ.
There was a time during the '70s when Little Smokey pretty much gave up music, but he slid back into playing gradually during the next decade with the Legendary Blues Band. Heart problems temporarily shelved Smothers for a spell not too long ago, but he's back in action now, releasing That's My Partner with Elvin Bishop in 2000 among other dates.