The Grateful Dead turn this Piedmont folk blues into a rhythmic crusade whose roots can be directly traced back to its gospel origins. Bob Weir (guitar/vocals) arranged the song from Rev. Gary Davis’ recollections of the Blind Willie Johnson version dating back circa the 1920s. “Samson And Delilah” was not the first of Davis’ songs to have been adapted by the Dead. They had been performing “Death Don’t Have No Mercy” as a slow and languid psychedelic blues which is in definite contrast to this full-blown raver which highlights the Dead’s tightly wound pulsating rhythms as well as room for Jerry Garcia (guitar) to provide some incendiary fretwork between the verses. Lyrically -- and somewhat by definition -- the words are based upon the biblical account of “Samson And Delilah” as recalled in the 16th chapter of the book of Judges. As with most other interpretations of the song -- which is also known as “If I Had My Way”-- the translation is far from being strictly verbatim. However the slight artistic licence of Weir’s rendition is much in keeping to the purist sense of the true folk music tradition of remoulding and reconstructing a song to fit the performance style of an individual artist. Although the band had been performing it live for over a year, “Samson And Delilah” was first released on Terrapin Station (1977). The undulating rhythm and stop-on-a-dime arrangement made it a instant favourite with Deadheads as well as with the band. The song was never dropped from the Dead’s live repertoire and had the tendency to appear almost anywhere during the span of a typical performance. There are quite a few live versions readily available for interested enthusiasts. Among them are volumes 3, 9, 15, 17, 18, 20 and 21 in the Dick’s Picks series of archival concert recordings as well as on the Dead Set (1981), Terrapin Station, Capital Centre, Landover, MD, 3/15/90 (1997) and the first instalment in the multi-media View From The Vaults project. There are also numerous other recordings from a wide variety of artists including Peter Paul and Mary, Dave Van Ronk and the Staple Singers.