Annotation:My Last Gold Dollar

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X:1 T:Last Gold Dollar [1] N:From the playing of Bill Hensley (N.C.), from a 1940 field recording. M:C| L:1/8 N:ADad tuning (fiddle). While the notation can be played in N:GDae or ADae, it makes more sense when tuned to Henley's N:ADad. In his 1940 thesis on Hensley's tunes David Parker N:Bennett recorded that Hensley played "Last Gold Dollar" in N:BEbe tuning. Q:"Fast" D: Z:Transcribed by Andrew Kuntz K:D "*"de|[df][de][df][de] [d2d2]B2|dedB A2de|fefe d2B-d|A3A A2 de| fefe d2B2|dedB A2DE|[FA]-[A2A2]B AFEF|D2DE D2:| |:"**"DE|F-A2B AFEF|A3B A2DE|F-A2B AFEF|D2 DF D2 DE| F-A2B AFAA|[EA]-[F2A2][FA] [F2A2]DE|F-A2B AFEF|D2 DF D2 || P:Substitutions "*"[d2d2]-|[dd]([de][df][de]) [d2d2][B2d2]|dedB A2d2-|d([de][df][de]) [d2d2][B2d2] || "**"DF|AA2 B AFEF|AA2 B A2DE||

MY LAST GOLD DOLLAR. AKA - "Last Gold Dollar (1)," "My Last Old Dollar Is Gone." American, Song and Reel (cut time). D Major. ADad tuning (Hensley). AABB. "My Last Gold Dollar" is the name of a widespread traditional song, although the first appearance in print was in 1927 in American Mountain Songs. The melody has also been set as a reel for dancing. The "My Last Gold Dollar" title appears in a list of traditional Ozarks Mountains fiddle tunes compiled by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph, published in 1954. Waltz & Engle point out that 'My Last Gold Dollar' did not necessarily imply destitution: "During the Civil War the Union government issued both gold-backed and unbacked ("greenback") dollars. The greenbacks were, not surprisingly, treated with less respect and discounted. A man who spent his last gold dollar might still have money--but only the less valuable greenbacks" [1].

The title is a phrase that turns up in a number of "floating verses" in such fiddle tune/songs as "Don't Let Your Deal Go Down (1)," "New River Train," "I wish I was a mole in the ground" and others. See also the country rag "Last Gold Dollar (2)."

Fiddlin' Bill Hensley, 1937. Photograph by Ben Shahn, 1898-1969.

Additional notes

See also listing at :
Hear Bill Hensley's (N.C.) 1940 home recording at Slippery Hill [1]

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  1. Robert B. Waltz & David G. Engle, The Ballad Index, 2020 [2]