I Will Trust in the Lord

cd cover: you better lie down by scott ainslieI Will Trust In The Lord

I will trust in the Lord (3x)
’til I die.

I’m gonna treat everybody right, (3x)
’til I die.

I’m gonna stay on the battlefield (3x)
’til I die.

Who’s going down in the grave with me? (3x)
When I die?

I will trust in the Lord (3x)
’til I die.


The Gurian in dropped-D tuning [from lowest pitch to highest: D-A-D-G-B-E] with a marvelously dissonant figure at the fifth and fourth frets. You’ll know it when you hear it. African harmonies are often built on parallel intervals, rather than the diatonic harmonies of Europe and Western music and Mr. Malloy’s playing was full of them.

When I worked as a Visiting Artist at Fayetteville Technical Community College between 1988-90,
the husband of a faculty member alerted me to the presence of an aged gospel musician who rented
property from him, a man by the name of Willie Malloy.

Mr. Malloy was born in 1900 in Fayetteville. He left home in his early teens to play guitar in
a blues band and after a couple years on the road got homesick for his family, decided to quit
playing blues and shift to gospel and started working his way back home. He was catastrophically
injured in a gas explosion in Norfolk, VA around 1917 in which his eyelids, the tops of his ears
and most of his nose were burned away. He miraculously survived this and on his release from the
hospital struggled his way back to Fayetteville. Unable to close and hydrate his eyes, he lost his
sight within weeks of getting home. When I met him in 1988, he was the same. He wore sunglasses to
protect us from having to look into eyes that hadn’t closed in seventy-one years.

At the age of 88, Mr. Malloy still hit the guitar with all the force and power of a twenty year old, still traveled to accompany and lead the gospel quartet from his church, and laughed regularly
and well every few minutes during the many afternoons that we visited and played together. When he sang,

“I’m going to treat everybody right,
I’m going to treat everybody right,
I’m going to treat everybody right, ’til I die.”

Something shifted in my heart. Reverend Gary Davis once said something similar in its effect on me.

Davis was blinded by a doctor who put the wrong medicine in his eyes when he was just a few days old.
Asked about this horrible injustice when he was in his seventies by someone who was fishing for the anger
and outrage that he must have felt toward the man whose ignorance stole his sight, Rev. Davis replied,
“The Lord took my sight. And I am his disciple.”

There are a few moments in the presence of human wisdom that simply elaboration.

My afternoons with Mr. Malloy, in his darkened house, resonate with those kinds of memories.

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