I Coulda Had Religion

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Re: Bob Dylan Plays Cork Tonite. Any Chance Of Rory Tribute?

Postby Tokeiihto » 05 Jul 2014, 02:31

Somehow I doubt Dylan would have really put the "traditional song" credit in if he had found out that Rory only slightly rearranged an old blues standard. :roll: I love Dylan but he - as so many of his contemporaries - was never shy of claiming full credit for songs that were at least partially based on the prior works of other musicians.
"From the fool's gold mouthpiece the hollow horn plays wasted words, proves to warn that he not busy being born is busy dying." (B. Dylan)
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Re: Bob Dylan Plays Cork Tonite. Any Chance Of Rory Tribute?

Postby anniewithaj » 05 Jul 2014, 05:26

So you're saying Donal was totally misquoted in the interview?

There is a song called She's Alright recorded prior to 1972 by both Muddy Waters and Junior Wells. The 3rd verse is pretty much the same as the beginning of I Could Have Had Religion. Just sayin'.
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Re: Bob Dylan Plays Cork Tonite. Any Chance Of Rory Tribute?

Postby RobertaSparrow » 05 Jul 2014, 16:59

anniewithaj wrote:So you're saying Donal was totally misquoted in the interview?

There is a song called She's Alright recorded prior to 1972 by both Muddy Waters and Junior Wells. The 3rd verse is pretty much the same as the beginning of I Could Have Had Religion. Just sayin'.



Was Donal misquoted in which source? I quoted verbatim from the Connaughton book. The source you quoted was likely from another article or web post, or perhaps some other source. And how accurate are any of these sources? I enjoyed reading the Connaughton book, and the Muise book I found to be the most informative. But none of them have really cited their sources very well.

I have obsessed over all things Rory for a while now. Memories fade, sources become harder to pin down, and as the years wind on more and more of that generation (wait a minute . . . :o my generation) start to drop off the face of the earth. Bob Dylan could give a definitive answer, Donal as well. Perhaps Donal will address it in his book. If/when I see Rory in the next world I'll ask him 8-) .

As far as the song you quoted, there are similarities:



Well, I was gone
Gone to the army
I was gone, ver' long time
Well, when I come back home, my baby
Still says she's mine
She still says she's mine
She still says she's mine

She's all right, she's all right
She's all right, she's all right
She's all right, she's all right

Well, I give 'er
Give her all a-my money
Tell me what more, can I do-ooo?
Well now, I really don't
Wanna b'lieve she gon'
She's gon' give it to you
She gon give it to you

She's all right, she's all right
She's all right, she's all right
She's all right, she's all right

(short instrumental break)

Well, I went
Went to the church-house
And I kneeled on my knees to pray
I got to thinkin' about that girl
She drove my
She drove my spirit away
She drove my spirit away
She drove my spirit away


She's all right, she's all right
She's all right, she's all right

(short instrumental break)

Well, I could-a
Could-a had religion

Well, this bad old same day
Tell now, whiskey an' women, won't now
Let the ol' poorboy pray
Let the poorboy pray
Let the poorboy pray

She's all right, she's all right
She's all right, she's all right
She's all right, she's all right.

Muddy Waters - She's Alright Lyrics | MetroLyrics

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

I could've had religion, I could religion
But my little girl wouldn't let me pray
I swear to the world she drove my spirit away
She drove my spirit away, she drove my spirit away


I could've had religion, I could've had religion
But my little girl wouldn''t let me pray
I tell the truth, she drove my spirit away
She drove my spirit away

I could've been, I could've been a preacher,
But I changed my mind the other nigh
The woman I have now, she would not treat me right
She would not treat me right

I've been a bad man, as bad can be
Gonna pray to the Lord above to send his blessing on me
I want some mercy, you got set my soul free
Set my soul free, Please..

I could've had, I could've had religion
But my little girl wouldn't let me pray.
Well, demon woman, you sent the devil my way,
You sent the devil my way.

Oh Lord above please send my fire,
Send your mercy right down to me.
That woman set the devil on me,
She set the devil on me,
She set the devil one me,
She set the devil on me.

Could've had religion

Rory Gallagher - I Could've Had Religion Lyrics | MetroLyrics

But aside from those few lines that are similar, the melody itself is not as similar as Rory's:



There are a wealth of studies and literary collections on blues and religious themes, "Saints and Sinners : Religion, Blues and (D)evil in African-American Music and Literature", Edited by Robert Sacré, Université de Liège, 1996 is one I found frequently cited. And many of Rory's favorites were known for mixing religious themes into their blues; Blind Willie Johnson, Sister Rosetta Tharpe. Reverend Gary Davis,Blind Lemon Jefferson, Charley Patton, Sam Collins, Josh White, Blind Boy Fuller, Blind Willie McTell, Bukka White, Sleepy John Estes, Skip James, s Reverend Robert Wilkins, Son house, and Ishman Bracey.

So many of these songs had repeating themes. As far as the lyrics, I don't see enough similarity to say that was the same song Rory was playing all those many times.

She's Alright


Ladies and Gentlemen of the Jury, what do you think? Does that sound like the same song? And I mean no disrespect to Muddy Waters, I just don't think there is more there than an influence, perhaps an inspiration.
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Re: I Coulda Had Religion

Postby anniewithaj » 05 Jul 2014, 19:06

Similar and same. These two words do not share a definition. We are going to have to disagree on this one. I choose to believe the words I've read of Rory and Donal Gallagher - you choose to believe Connaughton.

Many old blues players swapped and borrowed riffs and lyrics to make their music express their feelings. Also true of folk music. Perhaps this is why so many songs are categorized as traditional and impossible to credit to one author. I've read that Rory was into the history of the blues as well as playing the blues. Maybe he was carrying on the tradition.

Rory doesn't need defending. He has said in several interviews how the song came about. He was a brilliant artist and sometimes artists experiment.

One thing I do agree with you on - Rory gave credit where was due unlike some of his contemporaries. To me that says so much about the man's character.
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Re: I Coulda Had Religion

Postby Tibbierocks » 07 Jul 2014, 14:54

As a Zeppelin fan it's interesting to note that Rory doesn't credit himself for a song where as Jimmy Page had a habit of crediting himself too much :-D
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Re: Bob Dylan Plays Cork Tonite. Any Chance Of Rory Tribute?

Postby willie the pimp » 19 Oct 2015, 22:46

RobertaSparrow wrote:
Now, I had heard Rory do that song way back when, and he always introduced it as a traditional blues song, even dropped a famous name or two of someone before his time who had done it or a version of it, and I always believed it. But I have looked around, and the only close approximation to that song that I have ever found, was a version recorded in the 1990s by Junior Wells:




Not to nitpick, but this was recorded either Dec 30 1969 or Jan 8 1970. Otis Spann died in April 1970.
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