Why does Dylan like Tampa Red?

By Tony Attwood and Aaron Galbraith

During 1978 Bob Dylan performed “She’s Love Crazy” – a Tampa Red song from 1941.   In all Dylan sang it 48 times – he obviously liked it.  He also dipped into “Love her with a feeling”.

Tampa Red was born Hudson Woodbridge in 1903, and was later known as Hudson Whittaker after his parents died during his childhood.  He died in 1981, and was one of the great Chicago blues men.

His first step towards fame came when accompanying Ma Rainey, the lady mentioned in Tombstone Blues, and in 1928 he started recording with Georgia Tom (Thomas Dorsey) particularly with the Hokum Boys.   Hokum was a form of blues that had sexually explicit lyrics and occasional rhythmic changes.

Here’s the Tampa Red Hokum Jug Band


Tampa Red then became known for a bottleneck style and was later known as The Man with the Gold Guitar.

This recording has examples of his solo guitar playing


He was often recorded playing single-string runs – one of the first performers to do so.

“It hurts me too” was one of his best known songs…

And here is “She’s Love Crazy” which Dylan performed


Tampa Red created a number of blues songs which became a staple part of the blues genre.

Bob Dylan performed the song in 1978 – at a time when Tampa Red was still with us – he passed away in 1981.



Interestingly Dylan played about with the song on the tour, changing both the speed and the key.


As for Dylan’s tributes to him, perhaps it was an awareness of Tampa Red’s last years that caused Bob to pay an extra tribute to him.

Tampa Red’s wife died in 1953 and it is reported that after that he took heavily to drink, making his final recordings in 1960.  He died destitute in Chicago at the age of 77 in March 1981.

Why does Dylan like (the series)

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