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03 November 2014

I've Got A Woman (aka I Got A Woman, I Gotta Woman)

Studio, 1954.
Single (A): Atlantic 1050, December 1954 b/w Come Back Baby.
Compilation album: Ray Charles, Atlantic 8006, June 1957.
Live single with 1964 Shrine version (A: Part 1/B: Part 2) ABC 10649, March 1965.

Charles told that he performed the song for about a year before he recorded it in Atlanta at the studio of Georgia Tech radio station WGST on 18 November 1954 with "his band": Joe Bridgewater, Charles Whitley - tp; Don Wilkerson - ts (solo); David Newman - bs; Glenn Brooks - d; Wesley Jackson - g; Jimmy Bell - b. The song was a #1 R&B hit by January 1955.

Live, 1964.
The lyrics were written by Ray's bandleader, Renald Richard, who later remembered that The Southern Tones' It Must Be Jesus (1954, Duke 205) was the direct inspiration for the song. The melody, tempo and rhythm of this record are indeed very close to I've Got A Woman:

Prof. James Boyle, in the lecture-video below, added some confusion and inaccurate details to the (also more recent) history of the song, mistakingly focusing on a sometimes mentioned other source of the song, I've Got A Saviour by the Bailey Gospel Singers, from 1950. But it could be that Renald Richard recognized the similarities between It Must Be Jesus and I've Got A Saviour, and then took the title of the latter as his inspiration for the lyrics of Ray's song...

Of course, the core of the matter is that many songs in the gospel tradition 'borrowed' and 'recycled' musical and lyrical elements of older tunes. In fact, there are for instance some clear similarities between I've Got A Woman/It Must Be Jesus and Josh White's There's A Man Goin' Around Taking Names (1933, written by Leadbelly), TheSpirit of Memphis Quartet's He Never Left Me Alone (King, 1949) and The Pilgrim Travelers' Good News (1947).*

*The Zion Travelers also released the song in 1947. When you're at it, also listen to Little Richard's (1953) and Sam Cooke's (1964) versions of (Ain't That) Good News.Then finish this exercise with the release of this song by The Staple Singers (c. 1973), with an intro riff that was based on What'd I Say!

Annie Williams' response:

Jo Stafford's response:

Here's Jamie Foxx, explaining how his collaboration with Kanye West on Gold Digger (2005) came about:

Newport 1958:

Shindig! 1965:

Paris 1969:

Miami 1999:

'58 LC Newport - Released
'62 LC Berlin - Released
'65 FI Ballad - Film version
'64 LC Comblain
'64 CL Shrine - Released
'65 TV Shindig
'67 LC Berlin
'67 LC Frankfurt
'67 LC Melbourne
'68 TV Bishop
'69 LC Paris
'70 LC Prato
'70 TV Glen
'70 LC Paris - 2x
'77 TV Saturday
'78 LC Montreux - Part of medley - Released
'81 DM 20
'86 TV Fats - Released
'88 LC Ballet - 2x
'89 LC Ballet - 2x
'99 LC Miami - Released
'96 LC Warsaw
'00 LC Paris - Released
'01 LC Antibes

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