Obscure origins of 'You Don't Love Me'

May 3, 2013

"You Don’t Love Me" is a classic blues song that has roots in the 50's and is still being recorded and re-invented. Willie Cobbs, an Arkansas rice farmer, made his way to Chicago in the late 1940's, playing his blues on Maxwell Street, eventually releasing "You Don't Love Me" in 1961.

He never became a major star, but his name will live on through the numerous cover versions of his song. Besides the blues artists who played it, like Junior Wells and Albert King, the song was a hit for Jamaican singer Dawn Penn in the '60s, and Rihanna included the song on a 2005 album.

Like many blues songs, this one has its origin in another song: Bo Diddley’s 1955 song "She’s Fine, She's Mine," which contains many of the elements of "You Don’t Love Me."

Most modern blues listeners likely first heard the song on The Allman Brothers’ 1971 album At Fillmore East, which featured the band jamming on "You Don’t Love Me" for 19 minutes — an entire album side. Though they are often credited with pioneering "southern rock," the Allman Brothers also deserve credit for bringing jazz sensibility to the blues. Here’s a 1995 video of the band performing "You Don’t Love Me":

Slo Leak is the brainchild of guitarist and producer Danny Kortchmar, who produced and played guitar on classic '70s releases from Carole King and James Taylor, and later with Linda Ronstadt, Jackson Browne and Don Henley. He brings his studio savvy to bear with Slo Leak, often treating classic blues songs with extreme makeovers, as in their 1996 version of "You Don’t Love Me."

Here are the complete versions of "You Don’t Love Me" and "She’s Fine, She's Mine":

Bo Diddley "She’s Fine, She’s Mine" 1955

Willie Cobbs "You Don’t Love Me" 1961

The Allman Brothers "You Don’t Love Me" (at 19 minutes the 1971 version is too long, so this 6 minute live version was from a 1995 release)

Slo Leak "You Don’t Love Me" 1996