While the actual title is “I Got You (I Feel Good)”, it is a twelve-bar blues with a brass-heavy instrumental arrangement similar to Brown’s previous hit, “Papa’s Got a Brand New Bag”. It also features the same emphasis “on the one” (i.e. the first beat of the measure) that characterizes Brown’s developing funk style. The lyrics have Brown exulting in how good he feels (“nice, like sugar and spice”) now that he has the one he loves, his vocals punctuated by screams and shouts.
This is a reworking of “I Found You,” a song recorded and released by Yvonne Fair and produced by James Brown in 1962. Fair was one of Brown’s backup singers on the road.
The original 1964 version of this song had no guitar. When Brown redid it 1965, he made his screams more pronounced and added some instrumentation, including more sax. Some of the players on the recording were Maceo Parker on sax, his brother Melvin Parker on drums, Nat Jones on organ and Bernard Odum on bass.
This song has a very convoluted release history. Brown recorded it in September 1964 and leased it, along with some of his other songs, to Smash Records, who planned to release it as a single but couldn’t because Brown’s label, King Records, filed a lawsuit. In October 1964, a judge ruled that Smash Records would be allowed to issue only instrumental recordings by Brown, and all masters of vocals by JB would become property of King Records.
The song was pulled, but Brown had already been promoting it: he played it on the road (335 nights a year) and performed it on The T.A.M.I. Show and Shindig, as well as a movie called Ski Party. Brown then recorded a new version of the song in May 1965 at Criteria Studios in Miami, creating the first gold record to come out of Criteria, where the Eagles did Hotel California and Derek and the Dominos did Layla.