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Guitar Shorty: Roll Over, Baby

Guitar Shorty doesn’t need to do somersaults with his guitar at every gig. His powerful guitar playing and downhome singing should stand on their own. Plus, he’s got a sense of humor in his music that is part of his on-stage wildman charm. But somersaults? I worry about Shorty. He might hurt his back or something. But he’ll never stop doing those damn somersaults. Not as long as he hears the delirious screams every time he takes another dive. While somersaults don’t translate to the recording process, his stinging, hot licks, and soulful, witty ways certainly come across on Roll Over, Baby (Black Top 1147; 55:37). The title track finds Shorty in a frisky mood while he digs into the horn-powered shuffle “Sugar Wugar” with a vengeance. There’s humor in his covers of Swamp Dogg’s “I Want to Report a Crime” and “The Porkchop Song,” done here with a New Orleans second line flavor. His warm, overdriven tone on “You’re a Troublemaker” is a departure from his normally bright, stinging tone and he reserves his most passionate playing for his own minor key lament, “I Wonder Who’s Sleeping in My Bed.” After another rousing shuffle on “I’m Going Back to Houston,” an ode to his hometown, Shorty closes out the set with a volatile tribute to Jimi Hendrix on “Hey Joe.” Cue the somersault on that one.

Originally Published