THE LAST SHOT GOT HIM
THE FIRST SHOT MISSED HIM–AVALON BLUES–LOVE IN VAIN–SAY IT ISN’T SO–LET THE MERMAIDS FLIRT WITH ME–GOT THE BLUES, CAN’T BE SATISFIED–WHEN I SEE AN ELEPHANT FLY–SALLY WHISKEY–HONEY RIGHT AWAY–AIN’T MISBEHAVIN–MONDAY MORNIN BLUES–LATE LAST NIGHT–CROSS ROAD BLUES–OVER THE RAINBOW
First off, Scott Ainslie’s release of “The Last Shot Got Him” is a brilliantly-conceiced acoustic “concept album” of sorts. Scott plays all these songs on an eighty-year old Gibson L-50 archtop with a large open sound hole. And, all the cuts presented herein are a variety of songs that show the differences within popular music from the Thirties and Forties when this Gibson guitar was young.
A majority of the blues songs Scott sings are from the catalogue of Mississippi John Hurt. The set leads off with Hurt’s title cut, where “the first shot missed him, but The Last Shot Got Him!” It is done with Scott also playing a fretless gourd banjo. Another John Hurt song is presented by Scott in a semi-light-hearted mood, even tho the song deals with death. Hurt and W. E. Myers collaborated on the tale fo “saving all the undertaker’s bills, and Let The Mermaids Flirt With Me!”
The Rev. Gary Davis is represented by “Sally Whiskey,” while Scott’s original “Late Last Night” fits right in, done in the jazzy style of Django Reinhardt, and is a tribute to the 2008 invasion by Russia of the Republic Of Georgia.
There are several examples of what would be considered “pop standards” from this era, including “Ain’t Misbehavin,” “When I See An Elephant Fly,” (from Walt Disney’s “Dumbo”), and a brilliant rendition of “Over The Rainbow” that closes the set.
We had two favorites, too, both from the pen of Robert Johnson. Scott gives a sweet rendition of Johnson’s tale of unrequited passion, the sparse “Love In Vain.” And, Scott brings the chilling tale of “goin’ down to the cross roads,” to life with nary a mention of the Devil, in “Cross Roads Blues.”
Scott Ainslie has given us an excellent overview of blues and popular music from the Thirties and Forties. He also shows the power of one voice, two hands, and one instrument over the course of “The Last Shot Got Him!” Until next time…Sheryl and Don Crow, The Nashville Blues Society.