“It all started back when I was two and a half years old. Ringo, my father’s friend, would bring over some Hank Williams records and sit on the stairs and listen to ‘Kawliga’ [sic]. My grandfather would keep an eye on me while my mother and father were at the movies, and I would make him play records over and over again.”
—Van Morrison, quoted in Clinton Heylin’s Can You Feel the Silence
“In some part of his memory bank, Morrison may well believe that such was his instinctive love of music that he could enjoy Hank Williams singing about a tobacco-store Indian cigar-holder in love with an antique statue of an Indian maid when barely a bairn. But then, a serious collector like him must also know that he was eight years old when ‘Kawliga’ was released, on the death-ridden heels of that last, fateful ride.”
“Since you’re being so nitpicky, Clint, you ought to have noticed that it’s actually spelled ‘Kaw-Liga.’”
I hadn’t twigged this controversy until now though I’ve heard this song several times. I don’t remember noting how the lonely wooden man’s name was spelled before. Hank certainly doesn’t pronounce it the way I’d expect given the spelling. Maybe someone at MGM just did their best. Maybe the co-writer can explain.
I am positive I have never heard this song before, though I had seen its name, as I had no idea it rhymed with Elijah.