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The Eddie Marrs version was made popular by the movie Cool Hand Luke. The song is often credited to him but was actually written by Ed Rush and George Cromarty. Ed Rush traced the song back to an African-American camp-meeting song with the lyrics, "I don't care if it rains or freezes, leaning on the arms of my Jesus," which was the theme song of a religious radio program broadcast from Baton Rouge in the 1940s.
Some people are offended by the lyrics and fail to realize that the song is not meant to be sacrilegious but is actually aimed at those who cheapen the image of Jesus by selling plastic gee-gaws, cheap little trinkets in His image and other religious kitsch.
It seems that the original version was recorded by Cromarty and Rush as The Goldcoast Singers, but in the context of a fake spiritual radio broadcast, including only two verses and no chorus. Marrs developed it into a much more complete song, and apparently took credit. There are many alternate verses that have been added over the years. (thanks, Mike - Mountlake Terrace, Washington, for all above)
The Flaming Lips covered this on their 1993 album Transmissions From the Satellite Heart. It is track #9, although the title does not appear anywhere on the album cover. This is the album that also featured "She Don't Use Jelly." (thanks, Timothy - Columbus, OH)
Steve Forbert - "Romeo's Tune"
"Let me smell the moon in your perfume..." It took a rough mix and an extra verse, but Steve found his "calling card" song, which is always
Leslie West of Mountain
From the cowbell on "Mississippi Queen" to recording with The Who when they got the wrong Felix, stories from one of rock's master craftsmen.
Dean Friedman - "Ariel"
Dean's saga began with "Ariel," a song about falling in love with a Jewish girl from New Jersey.