Don’t Let The Devil Ride

cd cover: you better lie down by scott ainslie(Oris Mays)

Don’t Let The Devil Ride
Don’t let the Devil ride. No, don’t you.
Don’t let the Devil ride.
If you let him ride, he’ll take over and drive.
Don’t let him ride.

Don’t, don’t let him hold your hand. No, don’t you.
Don’t let him hold your hand.
If he holds you hand, he’ll want you to join his band.
Don’t let him ride.

Don’t, don’t take the Devil’s pay. No don’t you!
Don’t take the Devil’s pay.
If you take his pay, he’ll hurt you some day.
Don’t let him ride.

Don’t, don’t let him ring your bell. No, don’t you.
Don’t let him ring your bell.
If he ring you bell, you’re going to Hell.
Don’t let him ride.


This tune is played on the L’Arrivee, in standard tuning in the key of C. What can I say? There are no secrets here to make this easier. Play on.

Written by Oris Mays, I learned this solo guitar arrangement of it from the wonderful playing of Dreddie Manning, a lay preacher and legendary former blues player from the Lake Gaston area of North Carolina, near Roanoke Rapids. After years of trying to find Manning on field trips to the area, I finally caught up with him in his cinderblock church next to the trailer that is his office and studio on his property. When I askedhim if it would be alright to record him, he said that would be fine and pulled out his video camera to record me and record me recording him. He played for my machines and I played for his. This kind of leveling of the playing field was a sea change in the realm of folk music documentation and pleased me no end. Dreddie liked my National and played it for the taping. The guitar part speaks for itself: he is a remarkable player and singer who looks great in polyester pastel suits and tux shirts.

Scott Ainslie

Born in Rochester NY in 1952, Scott Ainslie has been playing music on something since he was three years old. A guitarist since 1967 with powerful appreciation for and apprenticeships with elder black and white musicians in different musical traditions, Ainslie carries a portion of them forward in his own traditional blues performances and songwriting.

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