Samson and Delilah
DESCRIPTION: "Delilah was a woman, fine and fair, Very pleasant looks and coal black hair... If I had my way I'd tear the building down." Delilah tricks Samson out of the secret of his strength; he is captured, but manages to tear the building down.
EARLIEST DATE: 1927 (recording, Rev. T. E. Weems)
KEYWORDS: Bible religious death hair trick lie
FOUND IN: US(SE,So)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Lomax-Singing, pp. 6-8, "Samson" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSNA 251, "Samson" (1 text, 1 tune)
Courlander-NFM, pp. 49-50, "(If I Had My Way)" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Harold Courlander, _A Treasury of Afro-American Folklore_, Crown Publishers, 1976, pp. 312-313, "(no title)" (1 text)
Blind Gary Davis, "Samson and Delilah" (1992, on "Harlem Street Singer," Prestige Bluesville CD OBCCD-547-2(BV-1015); recorded 1960)
Blind Willie Johnson, "If I Had My Way I'd Tear the Building Down" (Columbia 14343-D, 1928; Vocalion 03021, 1935; rec. 1927)
Celina Lewis, "Session with Celina Lewis" (on NFMAla6)
Rev. T. E. Weems, "If I Had My Way I'd Tear the Building Down" (Columbia 14254-D, 1927)
NOTES: Most of this story is Biblically accurate. The story of Samson occupies chapters 13-16 of Judges. We may categorize:
* Delilah's beauty (not mentioned; we are only told that Samson loved her; see 16:4)
* Samson's birth: A miraculous event described in chapter 13
* "Strongest man that ever lived on earth": not explicit, but tales of his strength fill most of chapters 14-16
* "He killed three thousand Philistines": No such number is given. We read in 14:19 that he killed 30, in 15:15 of another thousand, etc., and in 16:30 that he killed more by knocking down the building than he had in life.
* The dead lion and the bees: 14:6, 8f.
* "They bound him with a rope" (first occurrence): 15:13
* The old jawbone, etc.: 15:15f.
* Samson told her, "Shave off my hair": 16:17
* "His strength became like a natural man": 16:19
* The final incident, where the blinded Samson is displayed before the Philistines, but has his revenge by pulling the building down on them, is told in 16:23-30. - RBW
Last updated in version 3.7
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.