Scott Ainslie | The Last Shot Got Him

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The Last Shot Got Him

by Scott Ainslie

A 1934 Gibson archtop & the music of its youth: solo acoustic versions of six Mississippi John Hurt tunes, two Robert Johnson tunes, a tune each from the movie Dumbo, from Rev. Gary Davis, Yip Harburg, Irving Berlin, Fats Waller and one Ainslie original.
Genre: Blues: Acoustic Blues
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  Song Share Time Download
1. The First Shot Missed Him
1:46 $0.99
2. Avalon Blues
3:43 $0.99
3. Love in Vain
2:54 $0.99
4. Say It Isn't So
3:36 $0.99
5. Let the Mermaids Flirt With Me
3:31 $0.99
6. Got the Blues, Can't Be Satisfied
2:29 $0.99
7. When I See an Elephant Fly
2:13 $0.99
8. Sally Whiskey (Aka Sally, Where'd You Get Your Whiskey?)
3:42 $0.99
9. Honey, Right Away
2:03 $0.99
10. Ain't Misbehavin'
2:54 $0.99
11. Monday Morning Blues
4:12 $0.99
12. Late Last Night
4:34 $0.99
13. Cross Road Blues
2:50 $0.99
14. Over the Rainbow
3:32 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
Scott Ainslie: The Last Shot Got Him

“All the songs on The Last Shot Got Him were chosen by, and played on, this little 80-year-old, 1934 Gibson L-50 – an archtop guitar with a large open soundhole. She’s an old lady who knows what she likes and isn’t afraid to make that known.

"I was just following orders...” – Scott Ainslie

At its core, this is an album of duets for guitar and voice.

It’s a collection of songs that surveys the wide variety of music that was current in the 1930s and early ‘40s, when this little Gibson was young.

A musician from the age of 3, Ainslie began playing guitar in 1967, and says he still finds “singular power in what can be done with two hands and the voice.”

We think you’ll find the evidence of that right here. Thank you for listening.

1. The First Shot Missed Him (Mississippi John Hurt, 1928) 1:45 The second line of this ebullient little John Hurt miniature gave the CD its title. I think the gourd banjo and guitar parts fit together very happily. (Guitar & fretless gourd banjo)

2. Avalon Blues (John Hurt, 1928) 3:43 Originally recorded by Hurt on December 21, 1928 in New York City – complete with Zoot suit references (“they sure will spin your chain”) – Hurt clearly wrote it there. This tune led to Hurt’s rediscovery in 1963.

3. Love In Vain (Robert Johnson, 1936) 2:53 A remarkably spare, almost archaic song from this Delta Blues legend, with memorable, poetic images, and its persistent lamentation – “All my love’s in vain.”

4. Say It Isn’t So (Irving Berlin, 1932) 3:35 I was introduced to this song by the singing of the irrepressible Sippie Wallace (author of Woman Be Wise). I simply had to learn it. She had an off-hand way of delivering a line in her singing that inspired me (“That’s all I want to know”). (Guitar & bass)

5. Let The Mermaids Flirt with Me (John Hurt/W. E. Myers, 1929) 3:30 Hearing Hurt’s 1928 Memphis & NYC recordings, record company owner W. E. Myers sent Hurt twenty-two pages of song lyrics and asked him to set them to music for upcoming recordings. He also sent Hurt a 78 r.p.m. record of Jimmie Rodgers’ Waiting For A Train, suggesting the melody might be a good for one of the songs. This is that song.

6. Got The Blues, Can’t Be Satisfied (John Hurt, 1928) 2:28 I don’t know about you, but as a Blues singer, I couldn’t pass up a verse like, “Whiskey straight can drive the blues away...That being the case, I’ll take a quart today.”

7. When I See An Elephant Fly (Oliver Wallace/Ned Washington, 1941) 2:13 Originally recorded by Cliff Edwards for the soundtrack for Disney’s fourth animated feature film, Dumbo. My arrangement builds on one that Tom Chapin showed me years ago.

8. Sally Whiskey (Rev. Gary Davis, 1930s) 3:41 This is a fine example of the party songs Davis largely abandoned when he remarried and took up preaching. Luckily, he didn’t forget how to play them and they reappeared in his repertoire when he was an old man. This midnight vocal seemed to be inspired by my late friend, Doug Quimby, of the Georgia Sea Island Singers: I was hearing his voice in my head.

9. Honey Right Away (John Hurt, 1920s) 2:02 A song that Hurt clearly knew most of his life, recorded in his last recording session in February of 1966. (Hurt passed away in Grenada, Mississippi in November of that year.) His landmark career in the 1960s had lasted only three years. (Guitar & 5-string banjo)

10. Ain’t Misbehavin’ (Fats Waller/Harry Brooks/Andy Razaf, 1929) 2:53 I worked out this guitar arrangement in mid-1980s and have been playing it in select circumstances ever since. Everybody seems to be delighted by this joyous little number.

11. Monday Morning Blues (John Hurt, 1928) 4:12 The chance of being arrested on trumped up charges and sent into the convict leasing system in the South was far greater than being lynched, but for many, just as deadly. Convict leasing persisted until 1942 in the mines of Birmingham, AL. Hurt recorded the tune during his first recording session on St. Valentine’s Day, in Memphis, 1928.

12. Late Last Night (Scott Ainslie, 2008) 4:33 Written in the jazzy, harmonic style of the 1920s and 30s, this song came into being on the night Russia invaded the Republic of Georgia in 2008. Spurred on by all many armed conflicts in the world today, this song found a home in this little guitar on this CD.

13. Cross Road Blues (Robert Johnson, 1936) 2:50 A landmark tune from Johnson’s San Antonio sessions in November, 1936: Sundown curfews on Blacks always come to mind. You’ll notice the devil is not mentioned.

14. Over The Rainbow (Yip Harburg/Harold Arlen, 1939) 3:31 This song was initially left on the cutting room floor by the movie executives in charge of The Wizard of Oz. Harburg and Arlen essentially went in and started pounding on desks until the executives relented. Isn’t it amazing to think about that movie – or our lives – without this song? It is seemed a fitting coda to the collection.



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