"I Can't Quit You Baby" is a blues standard written by Willie Dixon and first recorded by Chicago blues artist Otis Rush, one of the leading exponents of the "West Side Sound." The song, a slow 12-bar blues, was a vehicle for arranger/producer Dixon to launch Rush and Cobra Records, as it was the first single for both. In this regards, it was a success, reaching #6 in the Billboard R&B chart in 1956. In his autobiography, Willie Dixon explained that "I Can't Quit You Baby" was written about a relationship that Rush seemed to be preoccupied with at the time and that Dixon used that to draw out an impassioned performance by Rush.
Otis Rush revisited "I Can't Quit You Baby" several times over the years, most notably when he recorded the song for the 1966 blues compilation Chicago|The Blues|Today! Vol. 2 (Vanguard 79217). This version featured an altered arrangement with an unusual turnaround (tonic chord followed by a half-step above the tonic chord) and staccato guitar fills. This is the version on which most cover versions would be based. John Mayall's Bluesbreakers covered it on the 1967 Crusade album (Decca SKL 4890/London PS 529). In 1969, Little Milton (Checker 1212) and the song's author Willie Dixon (Columbia PC 9987) also covered it. Since then it has been recorded by many blues and other artists. Otis Rush's original Cobra single "I Can't Quit You Baby" was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1994.
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