Mike Elosh - Black Ink

Black Ink

Mike Elosh

Mike Elosh
P.O.Box 384
Rockville, MD 20848-0384
email: Meadohall@aol.com

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Moshe Benarroch

This CD is a full guitar and vocals recording. Only Mike, his songs and his guitar. It is rare that this kind of CD holds the listener's attention for the the full length of the recording. But this one does. Elosh has an expressive and convincing voice that makes you believe in what he is singing, and that he is singing every word with all his heart. The reason for this may be due to the fact that this is a short CD, less than forty minutes long. But the good part of it is that there are no fillers on Black Ink.

Although Mike states that he doesn't like comparisons, there is no other way to describe his music than the word Dylanesque. He is very much in the style invented by Bob Dylan, and also reminiscent of other S.O.D.'s (sons of Dylan) like Butch Hancock, Peter Himmelman, Jeff Wilkinson, Jimmy Lafave, Steve Forbert, and many others. I don't think this is some kind of lacuna, but it is the weakness of the CD: Elosh has not developed a voice of his own, but he may be on his way in the near future. It is normal that artists remain under the influence of another artist until they free themselves. It took a few albums for Jeff Wilkinson to untie himself from Dylan and do his greatest work on Just Luck.

We can see in Elosh an artist in the making and a very good, disciplined and engaging one in his way. Any one of his songs could make a great evening at a cafe. I especially liked Baltimore, a song about memory, in which he sings:

You looked at me like I already knew
Everything you'd show me and reveal as true
In the darkness of the night
In the harbor of Baltimore

The whole ambience of the song reminded me of Dylan's One Too Many Mornings. Many of Elosh's songs have some kind of philosophy in them and a bit of protest, but not as much as any of those Sixties songs. In Soldier, he sings:

I was a soldier on the wrong side
But I hear that they're signing up turncoats tonight
Though I don't feel the same way about it as I did before
Mama mama I want to get out of the war.

I enjoyed this CD very much, and listened to it many times. If you like Dylan, or an acoustic and intimate singing style, or if you think Dan Bern has gone too far, I think that Elosh is someone you might enjoy listening to.

Song list:

  • Mama's Calling
  • Baltimore
  • Beggar At The Gate Of Love
  • Dirty Night
  • Again And Again
  • Soldier
  • Everything To Me
  • Down To The Mine
  • Hear The Whistle Catch The Train
  • Can't Tell
  • I Needed You
  • Tell Me About It
  • Ain't It Lonesome When The Sun Goes Down

Edited by Roberta B. Schwartz

Copyright 1999, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.

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