Herb Ellis: A Blue, Smooth Road

I've been playing a steady gig at a hotel bar for a while now with a trio that consists of pianist Bernie Senensky, drummer/leader Dan Bodanis and me on bass. Bernie took most of March off to do a tour of the U.S. with another group and as this approached he was scrambling around trying to line up subs and confessed to me he wasn't really looking forward to the road, that he'd miss our gig and was worried something would go wrong in his absence. The night before Bernie was to leave, Dan called a ballad he really likes, "Detour Ahead" and Bernie replied with an impish grin, peering over his glasses with perfect, ironic timing - "De tour ahead is what's worrying me." (Rim-shot.) It's a special, unique song, one that I've heard and played many, many times over the years, yet never tire of. Apart from its beauty, I think this is because it has no echoes of other songs or clich├ęs in it, so every time I play it feels like the first time. We played it again recently and it occurred to me that while I've heard it sung many times I didn't really know the lyrics very well, just snippets of them have stayed in my head - "Smooth road", "gullible clown", "danger sign." I remedied this by looking up the words on Google, here they are: Smooth road, clear day. But why am I the only one Trav'lin this way? How strange the road to love Should be so easy. Can there be a detour ahead? Wake up, slow down. Before you crash and break your heart, Gullible clown. You fool, you're headed more [...]