Don't You Feel My Leg

Album: Classics (1938)
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Songfacts®:

  • Blue Lu Barker was a New Orleans singer married to the guitarist Danny Barker. They wrote this very sensual song, with Blue Lu singing, "Don't you feel my leg 'cause if you feel my leg you're gonna feel my thigh, and if you feel my thigh, you're gonna go up high." This was pushing the limits in 1938.
  • The song was produced by J. Mayo Williams, who was one of the biggest blues music producers of the '30s and '40s. For Barker, this was her first single after signing with the Vocalion label, and it became a national hit, leading to appearances with Cab Calloway and Jelly Roll Morton. The Barkers appeared at the New Orleans Jazz Festival in 1989, and in 1998, this appearance was released as the album Live at New Orleans Jazz Festival. Danny died in 1994 and Blue Lu in 1998.
  • Maria Muldaur brought new life to this song when she recorded it for her 1974 self-titled album, with the title altered to "Don't You Make Me High (Don't You Feel My Leg)." That same year, Muldaur had her big hit "Midnight At The Oasis," and when she rose to stardom, she stopped performing "Feel My Leg," as she didn't want to be known for her sexuality. In her interview with Rolling Stone that year, she explained: "It's a funky song, fun to do, but I had to stop doing it. That's my concession to avoid being typecast as a sexy singer, period. I dropped it after I saw a Marilyn Monroe TV special early this year. I saw her entertaining the troops in Korea, up there singing 'I Can't Give You Anything but Love' to acres and acres of horny GIs. Shelley Winters was on the show and she said something about how far Marilyn might have gone if she hadn't let herself get stuck with an image as a sex symbol who couldn't do anything else. That shook me. You can't rely on physical image alone. That's sure as s--t gonna fade. The shape of your tits and butt ain't always going to be so good. I want to be a singer long after I'm not so hot to look at."

Comments: 1

  • Tommy from TexasHiYa Folks. Danny and Blue Lu were friends of mine and I painted Danny into a number of my originals and fine art print editions over the years. They were beautiful people and are missed. Blue Lu wanted to do me a favor for giving Danny a live sketch done in the Famous Door club... around 1973. We were at a dinner party at Joan Liberty's home ( my gallery owner) and Blue Lu sang Don't You Feel My Leg to me to say thanks.... It is an amazing and dear memory. I blushed red and Joan teased me without mercy. What fun time those were! Visualize as you listen to the song... perhaps you'll blush too.
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