Laura Ainsworth

Necessary Evil

Eclectus Records
Laura Ainsworth’s sultry second CD, Necessary Evil, is a jazzy potpourri of mostly “bad girl” songs from the 1920s to today. This through line echoes an ode to colorful gin joint gals who can be nasty or nice. She pulls this off with considerable flair in her clear, shimmering voice that recalls more than a hint of Julie London in her prime. Covering this eclectic mix,  from mainstays like “My Foolish Heart” and “Out of This World” to Francesca Blumenthal’s “The Lies of Handsome Men,” among others, Ainsworth segues in and out of moody ladies in love, like those in a Barbara Stanwyk film festival.

“The Gentleman Is a Dope” lays claim to sassy ladies who require reprisal. “Just Give Me a Man” pokes fun at blind love with a man—any man. It all wraps with  Eubie Blake/Andy Razaf/John Finke’s jukebox ditty, “I'd Give a Dollar for a Dime” and the newest romp, “Last Train to Mercerville.” Whether hilarious or heartfelt, Ainsworth packs a pistol (check out the cover!). Surrounded by superior jazz musicians with the great Brian Piper at the helm,  the album is a stretch by a singer who has a lot to offer. At times, the strong band almost outshines the vocals. Too, there is an occasional sameness to her delivery. She approaches adventurous and suggestive songs in a similar timbre. Her voice and astute musicianship are so good that it still works and this is not a flaw. However, sometimes she plays it too safe. Always well rounded vocally, sometimes that bad girl flaunting necessary evils needs to let loose and do just that— be evil. Quibbles asunder, Laura Ainsworth has the goods and should make waves with this new release.

John Hoglund
Cabaret Scenes
November 1, 2013
www.cabaretscenes.org