Bluesman Don Scott often sings other people's songs, some as old as the blues itself. But suggest that he sings "covers," and Scott is compelled to correct the record with polite firmness.
"'Covers,' to me, gives the music a bad connotation," he said. "It's our version, our rendition of the song. Like, guys I've played with in the past would ask, 'Do you do it this way?'
"No, I don't it that way; I do it my way. Let's do it a little different, other than just copying the song."
Aching to hear another take on "Smoke on the Water" or "Margaritaville" for the millionth time? Don Scott is not your bag. Dig foot-stomping acoustic blues coupled with suggestive, world-weary lyrics? After more than 40 years practicing what he preaches, Don Scott is your mojo man.
"At most (booking) agencies, you had to play 'Smoke on the Water' to be at the agency," Scott said of a period in the 1970s when he was leading the Dust Bowl Blues Band. "I refused. I played what I wanted to play."
Saturday, Scott returns to the river town where he lived throughout the 1970s when he unites with his latest collaborator, Twin Cities harmonica player Curtis Blake, for a performance at the fifth annual Blues on Belgrade in lower North Mankato.
"I still have a lot of friends here," Scott said in a June interview before an acoustic show at the Wine Cafe with Ron Arsenault and Tom "Footy" Husting, two cohorts from his Mankato heyday. "There's a lot of talent here, still a core of people here that haven't gone to the other side yet."