Sunday, May 2, 2010

Issa's Sunday Service #50: Samson and Delilah

Friday April 30th was the birthday of the Reverend Gary Davis and what better way to celebrate than with his live version at the Newport Folk Festival of the classic "Samson and Delilah," another example of litrock from the big book. For a man of the cloth, his incendiary performances were truly possessed, putting truth to many an adage about religion and the devil.

Speaking of devils, how's about a rock performance of the same song by the Grateful Dead? Here is a video of one of their better renditions of this little number. The dual drumming lead-in, Jerry's tasty licks, and a particularly fine vocal by Bob (I was afraid I wouldn't be able to find anything not embarrassing in comparison to the Reverend) make this well worth a view.

50 songs on the Sunday Service. Almost up to a year's worth. Who'd a thought? Has it been with the time and effort? Thanks to all for their suggestions. I've got a whole trunk full if I decide to keep it going. And I'm still offering the current two issues FREE for any song suggestions that make the cut.


This week's feature poem comes from Lilliput Review #76, from January 1976. 14 years and it hasn't aged one minute and won't in even a millenia ... if there are still creeks around by then.

Direct Pointing
Cluster of shooting stars
on a Spring creek.

Mark Blaeuer

Happy anniversary to David G. Lanoue, whose Haiku of Kobayshi Issa website celebrates it 10th anniversary this month. It is truly one of the web's most outstanding resources.

in cold water
sipping the stars...
Milky Way

translated by David G. Lanoue



Jim H. said...


Outstanding. The Dead video a nice bonus (although as a washed-up rock drummer I object on principle to the use of two drummers -- superfluous).

The Blaeuer piece is sublime.


batsick said...

I never knew of such a person! However I did know about Grateful Dead a little. I'd heard of it on several occassions.

By the way, if you like, you can come by my blog at, subscribe, and comment if you like! I'd love it!

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Just back from a week in the woods so lots of catchup to do.

Jim, ah, the two drummer objection. I have heard this before, particularly about the one album 60's psyche band "Clear Light."

Once saw a band attempt to play the Who's "I Can See for Miles" (at a high school mixer!) and they had one of the band members supplement the drummer on the high hat / cymbals because it just wasn't humanly possible otherwise (we of course all know Mr. Moon was un-human).

Shigune, glad you are getting exposed to new things. Thanks for the link - I'll check it out.

Anonymous said...

It is Bob Weir singing, not the bass player, Phil Lesh.

The lyrics suggest that "Samson" is representative of the state of Israel, and Delilah is rep. of the Palestinians (using todays rivalry), and that the "building is the state of Israel, also, which needs tearing down.

Can anyone make more sense?

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Thanks for the note ... I corrected Phil to Bob (what a brain cramp that was!).

Don't really see the analogy to the political situation - not surprising, though, since I certainly don't have the Bible chops. Here's the lyrics for anyone who wants to look into it further.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting my comments, but I'm not religious and really don't know the whole story of Samson, just bits.

Apparently he had his eyes gouged out and sent to prison in Gaza, after having his hair cut. Maybe this, the prison, is the building he wishes torn down. But he seems a bad person in that he killed lots of people with the jawbone and the lion. Or maybe I'm missing the point.

Anyway, I like your blog, having stumbled upon it researching the song Samson and Delilah, and would like to suggest "Julius" by the band Phish, as a potential song for your Sunday service.


Zeke S.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Zeke, a bit of research here and there sort of confirms Samson as something of an anomaly in the Bible. I'd always thought him a someone who had fallen and later returned to God not unlike Paul or Augustine but now I'm not so sure. Hope your research continues well.

Will look into the Phish song. Is it about Julius Caesar?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Julius is about Julius Ceasar, via Shakespeare. And essentially, I think, challenging the notion of belief in a god.

I think the song Samson and Delilah likewise questions belief in a god. And, also, the concepts of the cruel and unusual punishment provided by prisons. And, one step further, the oppression of citizens by governments.

I think the Dead provide this song as a utopic vision.

sorry for my overgeneralizations


Zeke S.

Issa's Untidy Hut said...

Zeke, thanks for filling me in - interesting connection between the songs - I've added "Julius" to the list for a future edition of the Sunday Service. I send out the current two issues of Lilliput to suggestions that are used so, if you'd like the current two issues free, just drop me a line with your snail mail address at:

lilliput review at gmail dot com

Spelled out to avoid pesky bots. Thanks again.