Day 103: “I Got a Woman”

When was it recorded?  Jul. 16, 1963

When was it first released, and on which album?  Nov. 30, 1994 on “Live at the BBC”

Who wrote it?  Ray Charles and Renald Richard

Have I heard this song before?  Just the original

What my research dug up:

I hope you enjoyed reading about Elvis and Ray Charles lately because we’re talking about them again today.

Charles and American jazz musician-slash-bandleader (and trumpeter for Charles’ band) Renald Richard wrote “I Got a Woman” after hearing the Southern Tones’ “It Must Be Jesus” on the radio while touring.

“I Got a Woman” was recorded Nov. 18, 1954 and released as a single in December. It didn’t appear on an album until Charles’ 1957 “Ray Charles”/”Hallelujah I Love Her So.”

The single was Charles’ first #1 hit and established him as an innovate R&B/soul musician.

Before “I Got a Woman” appeared on a Ray Charles album, it appeared on an Elvis Presley album. The King covered the tune during his live act for nearly a year before recording it for his debut studio album, “Elvis Presley.” This record came out Mar. 23, 1956.

Like Elvis, the Beatles used “I Got a Woman” in their live shows prior to signing with EMI. They later recorded it twice for BBC Radio, with their cover hewing closer to the style of Elvis’ single than Charles’ original.

The first version was recorded Jul. 16, 1963 for “Pop Go the Beatles.” It aired Aug. 13 and was later released on the compilation “Live at the BBC.”

A second version of “I Got a woman” was recorded Mar. 31, 1964 for “The Saturday Club.” This one aired Apr. 4. Quoth the Beatles Bible, “Currently available only on bootlegs, this second version was faster than the 1963 take, with a double-tracked vocal by John Lennon but without the stop-start rhythms and the delayed appearance of the drums.” Fortunately, the first part of that is no longer true – the second version of “I Got a Woman” was released last year on “On Air – Live at the BBC Vol. 2.”

The most interesting part of this post for me was finding an original behind “the original.”  I like “I Got a Woman” better than “It Must Be Jesus,” but reading about that single was enlightening.  All in all, I do prefer Charles’ version of “I Got a Woman” to either Elvis or the Beatles’ covers.  If there’s one thing I love about Ray Charles, it’s the emotion he puts into his music and how you can tell he means every word he sings.




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