You've Got to Love Her with a Feeling

"You've Got to Love Her with a Feeling", or "Love with a Feeling" as it was originally titled, is a blues song first recorded by Tampa Red in 1938. Numerous blues artists have interpreted and recorded the song, making it a blues standard.[1] When Freddie King adapted it in 1961, it became his first single to appear in the record charts.

"Love with a Feeling"
Love with a Feeling single cover.jpg
Single by Tampa Red
B-side"When I Had a Good Woman"
Released1938 (1938)
Format10-inch 78 rpm record
RecordedChicago, June 16, 1938
Songwriter(s)Hudson Whittaker a.k.a. Tampa Red

Original songEdit

Tampa Red recorded "Love with a Feeling" as a mid-tempo twelve-bar blues. Accompanying Red, who sang and played slide guitar, were Black Bob Hudson on piano and an unknown bass player.[2] Although Tampa Red wrote several bawdy blues, "Love with a Feeling" is tame, with only one verse suggesting the more colorful versions to come:

Now the coppers brought her in, she didn't need no bail
She shook it for the judge, and he put the cops in jail
'Cause she shook it with a feeling, yes she shook it with a feeling
Yes she loves with a feeling, or she don't love at all

Not long after recording "Love with a Feeling", other blues artists began recording their versions of the song: Merline Johnson (also known as "The Yas Yas Girl") (1938), Piedmont blues-singer Sonny Jones (1939), Tommy McClennan (1940), and Brownie McGhee (1946). In May 1950, Tampa Red recorded an updated version called "Love Her with a Feelin'".[1] The song was performed as a Chicago-style blues with Tampa Red on electric slide guitar with piano, bass, and drum backing. He also recorded it as a solo piece with vocal and electric guitar in 1961 for his Don't Tampa with the Blues album.[3]

Freddie King adaptationEdit

On August 26, 1960, Freddie King adapted the song using the title "You've Got to Love Her with a Feeling" for King Records. He uses breaks where he sings the first four bars of each twelve-bar verse without the usual instrumental accompaniment. Most versions recorded after King follow this arrangement. Backing King on vocal and guitar are Sonny Thompson on piano, Bill Willis on bass, and Phillip Paul on drums.

The song was released as the B-side of the "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" single on King Records subsidiary, Federal Records.[4] Of the two songs, "You've Got to Love Her with a Feeling" was the only one to appear in the record charts. In 1961, the single reached number 93 on the Billboard Hot 100,[5] but did not appear in the magazine's R&B chart.[6] The song is also included on King's first album, Freddy King Sings (1961).[7] On his single and albums, King is often listed as the songwriter, sometimes with Thompson as co-writer.[7]


  1. ^ a b Herzhaft, Gerard (1992). "Love Her with a Feeling". Encyclopedia of the Blues. Fayetteville, Arkansas: University of Arkansas Press. p. 459. ISBN 1-55728-252-8.
  2. ^ Fancourt, Les (1994). It Hurts Me Too (Album notes). Tampa Red. Indigo Recordings. p. 3. IGOCD 2004.
  3. ^ Dahl, Bill. "Tampa Red: Don't Tampa with the Blues – Album Review". AllMusic. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  4. ^ Freddy King: "You've Got to Love Her with a Feeling" / "Have You Ever Loved a Woman" (Media notes). Federal Records. 1961. Retrieved December 20, 2015 – via Discogs.
  5. ^ "Freddy King: Chart History – Hot 100". Billboard. Retrieved May 6, 2019.
  6. ^ Whitburn, Joel (1988). Top R&B Singles 1942–1988. Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin: Record Research. p. 241. ISBN 0-89820-068-7.
  7. ^ a b Bedard, George. "Freddy King Sings – Album Review". AllMusic. Retrieved May 6, 2019.