Champion Jack Dupree

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Champion Jack Dupree
Champion-jack-dupree-img98- small.jpg
Dupree performing at the
Dennis Swing Club, Hamburg
Background information
Birth name William Thomas Dupree
Also known as Harelip Jack Dupree
Born (1910-07-04)July 4, 1910 (probable)
Irish Channel, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.
Died January 21, 1992(1992-01-21) (aged 81)
Hanover, Germany
Genres Blues, boogie-woogie
Occupation(s) Pianist
Instruments Piano
Labels Atlantic, OKeh, Blue Horizon, Groove

William Thomas "Champion Jack" Dupree (July 23, 1909,[1] or July 4, 1910[2] – January 21, 1992) was an American blues and boogie-woogie pianist and singer. His nickname was derived from his early career as a boxer.

Biography[edit]

Dupree was a New Orleans blues and boogie-woogie pianist, a barrelhouse "professor". His father was from the Belgian Congo and his mother was part African American and Cherokee. His birth date has been given as July 4, July 10, and July 23, 1908, 1909,[1] or 1910; the researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc give July 4, 1910.[2]

He was orphaned at the age of eight and was sent to the Colored Waifs Home in New Orleans, an institution for orphaned or delinquent boys (about the same time, Louis Armstrong was also sent there as a child, after being arrested as a "dangerous and suspicious character"[3]). Dupree taught himself to play the piano there and later apprenticed with Tuts Washington and Willie Hall,[4][5] whom he called his father and from whom he learned "Junker's Blues". He was also a "spy boy" for the Yellow Pocahontas tribe of the Mardi Gras Indians. He soon began playing in barrelhouses and other drinking establishments.

He began a life of travelling, living in Chicago, where he worked with Georgia Tom, and in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he met Scrapper Blackwell and Leroy Carr. He also worked as a cook. In Detroit, after Joe Louis encouraged him to become a boxer, he fought 107 bouts, winning Golden Gloves and other championships and picking up the nickname Champion Jack, which he used the rest of his life.

He returned to Chicago at the age of 30 and joined a circle of recording artists, including Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red, who introduced him to the record producer Lester Melrose. Many of Dupree's songs were later credited to Melrose as composer, and Melrose claimed publishing rights to them.

Dupree's career was interrupted by military service in World War II. He was a cook in the United States Navy and was held by the Japanese for two years as a prisoner of war.

After the war, his biggest commercial success was "Walkin' the Blues", which he recorded as a duet with Teddy McRae. This led to several national tours and eventually a European tour. In 1959 he played an unofficial (and unpaid) duo gig with Alexis Korner at the London School of Economics.

Dupree moved to Europe in 1960, settling first in Switzerland and then Denmark, England, Sweden and, finally, Germany.[6] On June 17, 1971, he played at the Montreux Jazz Festival, in the Casino Kursaal, with King Curtis, backed by Cornell Dupree on guitar, Jerry Jemmott on bass and Oliver Jackson on drums. The recording of the concert was released in 1973 as the album King Curtis & Champion Jack Dupree: Blues at Montreux on the Atlantic label.[7]

During the 1970s and 1980s he lived at Ovenden in Halifax, England.[8] A piano he used was later discovered at Calderdale College in Halifax.[9] He continued to record in Europe with the Kenn Lending Band, Louisiana Red and Axel Zwingenberger and made many live appearances. He also worked again as a cook, specializing in New Orleans cuisine. He returned to the United States from time to time and performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

Dupree died of cancer on January 21, 1992, in Hanover, Germany.[10]

Musical style and output[edit]

Dupree's playing was almost all straight blues and boogie-woogie. He was not a sophisticated musician or singer, but he had a wry and clever way with words: "Mama, move your false teeth, papa wanna scratch your gums." He sometimes sang as if he had a cleft palate and even recorded under the name Harelip Jack Dupree. This was an artistic conceit, as he had clear articulation, particularly for a blues singer. He would occasionally indulge in a vocalese style of sung word play (similar to Slim Gaillard's "Vout"), as in his "Mr. Dupree Blues", included on the album The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions.

Many of his songs were about jail, drinking and drug addiction, although he himself was a light drinker and did not use other drugs. His "Junker's Blues" was transmuted by Fats Domino into "The Fat Man", Domino's first hit record.[6] Some of Dupree's songs had gloomy topics, such as "TB Blues" and "Angola Blues" (about Louisiana State Penitentiary, the infamous Louisiana prison farm), but he also sang about cheerful subjects, as in "Dupree Shake Dance": "Come on, mama, on your hands and knees, do that shake dance as you please". He was a noted raconteur and transformed many of his stories into songs, such as "Big Leg Emma's", a rhymed tale of a police raid on a barrelhouse.

The lyrics of Jerry Lee Lewis's version of "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"—"You can shake it one time for me!"—echo Dupree's song "Shake Baby Shake".

On his best-known album, Blues from the Gutter, released by Atlantic Records in 1959, he was accompanied on guitar by Larry Dale, whose playing on that record inspired Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.

In later years Dupree recorded with John Mayall, Mick Taylor, Eric Clapton and The Band.[6]

Although best known as a singer and pianist in the New Orleans style, Dupree occasionally pursued more musically adventurous projects, including Dupree 'n' McPhee, a collaboration with the English guitarist Tony McPhee, recorded for Blue Horizon Records.

Since his death, Dupree has undergone a revival of interest on the British vintage dance scene. His recording of “Shakin’ Mother for You” now features on the playlist of most DJ’s on the UK Lindy Hop scene and it has become the de facto standard track for the ‘Cardiff Stroll’[11].

Discography[edit]

[12] [13]

Studio albums[edit]

  • Blues from the Gutter (Atlantic, 1958)
  • Champion Jack's Natural & Soulful Blues (Atlantic, 1961)
  • Champion of the Blues (Atlantic, 1961)
  • The Women Blues of Champion Jack Dupree (Folkways, 1961)
  • Trouble, Trouble (Storyville, 1962)
  • The Best of the Blues (Storyville, 1963)
  • Champion Jack Dupree Of New Orleans (Storyville, 1965)
  • From New Orleans to Chicago (Decca, 1966)
  • When You Feel the Feeling You Was Feeling (Blue Horizon, 1968) {with Paul Kossoff, guitar; Duster Bennett, harmonica; Simon Kirke, drums)
  • Scoobydoobydoo (Blue Horizon, 1969, UK), also released as Blues Masters, Vol. 10 (Blue Horizon, 1972)
  • The Heart of the Blues Is Sound (BYG, 1969)
  • The Hamburg Session (Happy Bird, 1974)
  • Champion Jack Dupree "1977" (Isadora, 1977), also released as Hamhark & Limer Beans
  • Back Home in New Orleans (Bullseye Blues, 1990)
  • Forever and Ever (Bullseye Blues, 1991)
  • One Last Time (Bullseye Blues, 1993)

Live albums[edit]

  • Champion Jack Dupree (Festival, 1971)
  • Alive, "Live" and Well (Chrischaa, 1976)
  • The Blues Jubilee Album (Pinorrekk, 1984)
  • Live at Burnley (JSP, 1989)
  • Jivin' with Jack: Live in Manchester, May 1966 (Jasmine, 2002)
  • Bad Luck Blues: Live with Freeway 75 (Bad Luck Blues, 2003)

Collaborations[edit]

  • Champion Jack Dupree And His Blues Band featuring Mickey Baker (Decca, 1967)
  • Tricks, with Mickey Baker (Vogue, 1968), also released as Anthologie du Blues, Vol. 1 (Disques Vogue, 1968, France)
  • I'm Happy to Be Free, with Mickey Baker and Hal Singer (Vogue, 1971)
  • Blues at Montreux, with King Curtis (Atlantic, 1972)
  • Freedom, with the Monty Sunshine band (Pinorrekk, 1980)
  • Real Combination, with Henry Ojutkangas (Dig It, 1980)
  • I Had That Dream, with Kenn Lending (Pinorrekk, 1982)
  • Get You An Ol' Man, with Brenda Bell and Louisiana Red (Paris, 1984)[14]
  • Rockin' The Boogie, with Kenn Lending (Blue Moon, 1988)
  • Sings Blues Classics, with Axel Zwingenberger (Vagabond, 1990)

Selected compilations[edit]

  • Champion Jack Dupree Sings the Blues (King, 1961)
  • Cabbage Greens (OKeh, 1963)
  • Champion Jack Dupree (Everest, 1970)
  • The Incredible...Champion Jack Dupree (Sonet, 1970)
  • The Legacy of the Blues, Vol. 3 (Sonet, 1972)
  • Shakespeare Says (Saravah, 1976)
  • The Blues of Champion Jack Dupree (Storyville, 1976)
  • Blues for Everybody (King, 1976)
  • Boogie Woogie, Booze And Wild Wild Women (Storyville, 1977)
  • Blues Masters, Vol. 6 (Storyville, 1991)
  • New Orleans Barrelhouse: Piano Blues 1960 (Magpie, 1992)
  • Champion Jack Dupree 1945–1953 (Krazy Kat, 1992)
  • Champion Jack Dupree of New Orleans (Storyville, 1993)
  • New Orleans Barrelhouse Boogie (The Complete Champion Jack Dupree 1940–1941) (Columbia, 1993)
  • The Joe Davis Sessions 1945–1946 (Flyright, 1995)
  • The Blues of Champion Jack Dupree, Vols. 1–2 (Storyville, 1995)
  • Truckin' On Down (Storyville, 1998)
  • A Portrait of Champion Jack Dupree (Rounder, 2000)
  • St. Claude and Dumaine (Fuel 2000, 2002)
  • Walkin' the Blues: The Very Best of Champion Jack Dupree (Collectables, 2003)
  • Dupree 'n' McPhee: The 1967 Blue Horizon Session, with Tony McPhee (Ace, 2005)
  • The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions (Blue Horizon, 2005) - note: includes all of the tracks from the albums, When You Feel The Feeling You Was Feeling, and Scooby Dooby Doo, plus 4 tracks originally released on singles, and 12 previously unreleased tracks.
  • Early Cuts from a Singer, Pianist and Songwriter Who Took Blues to the World, 4-CD box set (JSP, 2009)
  • Two Classic Albums Plus 40s & 50s Singles, 2-CD set (Avid, 2010) - note: includes all of the tracks from the albums, Blues From The Gutter, and Champion Jack's Natural & Soulful Blues, plus 29 tracks originally released on singles, and 3 previously unreleased tracks.

10" shellac (78-rpm) and 7" vinyl (45-rpm) releases[edit]

  • "Warehouse Man Blues" / "Chain Gang Blues", 1940 (OKeh 05656)
  • "Black Woman Swing" / "Cabbage Greens (No. 1)", 1940 (OKeh 05713)
  • "Gamblin' Man Blues" / "New Low Down Dog", 1940 (OKeh 05769)
  • "Cabbage Greens (No. 2)" / "Angola Blues", 1940 (OKeh 05823)
  • "My Baby's Gone" / "That's All Right", 1941 (OKeh 06068)
  • "Dupree Shake Dance" / "Gibing Blues", 1941 (OKeh 06104)
  • "Junker Blues" / "My Cabin Inn", 1941 (OKeh 06152)
  • "Weed Head Woman" / "Bad Health Blues", 1941 (OKeh 06197)
  • "Big Time Mama" / "Heavy Heart Blues", 1941, released 1942 (OKeh 06597)
  • "All Alone Blues" / "Black Cow Blues", 1941, released 1942 (OKeh 06642)
  • "She Makes Good Jelly" / "Rum Cola Blues", 1945 (Joe Davis 5100)
  • "Johnson Street Boogie Woogie" / "I'm Going Down with You", 1945 (Joe Davis 5101)
  • "F.D.R. Blues" / "God Bless Our New President", 1945 (Joe Davis 5102)
  • "County Jail Special" / "Fisherman's Blues", 1945 (Joe Davis 5103)
  • "Lover's Lane" / "Black Wolf", 1945 (Joe Davis 5104)
  • "Walkin' by Myself" / "Outside Man", 1945 (Joe Davis 5105)
  • "Forget It Mama" / "You've Been Drunk", 1945 (Joe Davis 5106)
  • "Santa Claus Blues" / "Gin Mill Sal", 1945 (Joe Davis 5107)
  • "Once I Had a Girl" / "Black Woman Blues", 1945 (Solo 10-014)
  • "How Long, How Long Blues" / "I Think You Need a Shot", 1945 (Continental 6064)
  • "Let's Have a Ball" / "Hard Feeling", 1945 (Continental 6065)
  • "Going Down Slow" / "Mean Old Frisco", 1945 (Continental 6066)
  • "Bad Whiskey and Wild Women" / "Bus Station Blues", 1945 (Lenox 505)
  • "Mean Old Frisco" / "When You Ain't Got a Dime", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording as Blind Boy Johnson & His Rhythms, 1945 (Lenox 511)
  • "Love Strike Blues" / "Wet Deck Mama", 1946 (Joe Davis 5108)
  • "Big Legged Mama" / "I'm a Doctor for Women", 1946 (Celebrity 2012; Celebrity is a Joe Davis subsidiary label)
  • "Cecelia, Cecelia" / "Going Down to the Bottom", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording as Willie Jordan & His Swinging Five, 1946 (Alert 207)
  • "Fifth Avenue Blues" / "Highway 31", 1946 (Alert 421)
  • "Come Back Baby" / "Chittlins & Rice", 1949 (Apollo 407)
  • "One Sweet Letter" / "Mean Mistreatin' Mama", 1949 (Apollo 413)
  • "Lonesome Bedroom Blues" / "Old Woman Blues", 1949 (Apollo 421)
  • "Featherweight Mama" / "Day Break", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording as Brother Blues & the Back Room Boys, 1949 (Abbey 3015)
  • "Day Break" / "Pete's Boogie", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording as Brother Blues & the Back Room Boys, 1949 (Abbey 3024)
  • "Deacon's Party" / "My Baby's Coming Back Home", Dupree with Big Chief Ellis & His Blues Stars, 1950 (Apollo 426)
  • "Just Plain Tired" / "I'm Gonna Find You Some Day", Dupree with Big Chief Ellis & His Blues Stars, 1950 (Apollo 428)
  • "Rub a Little Boogie" / "Doomed", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording as Duke Bayou & His Mystic Six, 1949, released 1950 (Apollo 440)
  • "Goin' Back to Louisiana" / "Barrel House Mama", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording as Meat Head Johnson & His Blues Hounds, 1950 (Apex 1110)
  • "Old, Old Woman" / "Mean Black Woman", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording as Meat Head Johnson & His Blues Hounds, 1950 (Gotham 514)
  • "The Woman I Love" / "All Night Party", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording under McGhee's name, 1951 (Derby 783)
  • "Heartache Blues" / "Real Good Feelin", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording as Big Tom Collins, 1951 (King 4483)
  • "Heart Breaking Woman" / "Watchin' My Stuff", Dupree and Brownie McGhee recording as Big Tom Collins, 1951 (King 4568)
  • "Stumbling Block Blues" / "Number Nine Blues", 1953 (Red Robin 109)
  • "Highway Blues" / "Shake Baby Shake", 1953 (Red Robin 112)
  • "Drunk Again" / "Shim Sham Shimmy", 1953, released 1954 (Red Robin 130)
  • "The Blues Got Me Rockin'" / "Tongue Tied Blues", 1953 (King 4633)
  • "Ain't No Meat on de Bone" / "Please Tell Me Baby", 1953 (King 4651)
  • "Walkin' Upside Your Head" / "Hard Feeling", 1953 (King 4695)
  • "Rub a Little Boogie" / "Camille", 1953 (King 4706)
  • "Two Below Zero" / "Blues for Everybody", 1955 (King 4779)
  • "Harelip Blues" / "Let the Doorbell Ring", 1955 (King 4797)
  • "Walking the Blues " / "Daybreak Rock", vocal by Teddy "Mr. Bear" McRae, 1955 (King 4812)
  • "That's My Pa" / "Stumbling Block", 1955 (King 4827)
  • "She Cooks Me Cabbage" / "Silent Partner", 1955 (King 4859)
  • "Failing Health Blues" / "Me and My Mule", 1955 (King 4876)
  • "Overhead Blues" / "So Sorry, So Sorry", 1955, released 1956 (King 4906)
  • "Mail Order Woman" / "Big Leg Emma's", 1955, released 1956 (King 4938)
  • "Lonely Road Blues", vocal by Teddy "Mr. Bear" McRae / "When I Got Married", 1956 (Groove 0171)
  • "Dirty Woman" / "Just Like a Woman", 1957 (Vik 0260)
  • "Old Time Rock and Roll" / "Rocky Mountain", 195 (Vik 02797)
  • "Shake Baby Shake" / "Lollipop Baby", 1957 (Vik 0304)
  • "Frankie and Johnny" / "Strollin'", 1959 (Atlantic 2032)
  • "My Mother-in-Law" / "Evil Woman", 1961 (Atlantic 2095)
  • "Sharp Harp" / "Two Below Zero", 1955, released 1961 (Federal 12408)

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Dahl, Bill. "Champion Jack Dupree: Biography". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  2. ^ a b Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger. p. 314. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  3. ^ "Our Times: The Louis Armstrong Childhood Arrest That No One Knew About". New Orleans Times-Picayune. Retrieved 23 August 2016. 
  4. ^ Lichtenstein, Grace; Dankner, Laura (1993). Musical Gumbo: The Music of New Orleans. W. W. Norton. ISBN 0-393-03468-2, ISBN 978-0-393-03468-4
  5. ^ Broven, John (1983). Rhythm and Blues in New Orleans. Pelican Publishing. ISBN 0-88289-433-1 ISBN 978-0-88289-433-1
  6. ^ a b c Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. pp. 107–108. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  7. ^ "King Curtis & Champion Jack Dupree - Blues At Montreux". Discogs. 
  8. ^ "Small Town Saturday Night". SmallTownSaturdayNight.com. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  9. ^ "Sound file". Sounduk.net. Archived from the original on 2014-03-30. Retrieved 2014-06-14. 
  10. ^ "Champion Jack Dupree, Jazz Pianist, 82". The New York Times. 22 January 1992. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  11. ^ "Eightbeat Jive demonstrate the Cardiff Stroll". 20 February 2016. Retrieved 23 August 2017. 
  12. ^ "Illustrated Champion Jack Dupree Discography". Wirz.de. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  13. ^ "Champion Jack Dupree: Discography". AllMusic.com. Retrieved 29 March 2017. 
  14. ^ [1]

External links[edit]