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One of the last words of advice we got from Jim Dickinson was "Get less accurate tuners" - Jimbo Mathus, South Memphis String Band, at Music in the Hall

Author Topic: Champion Jack Dupree, Jazz Record 28, Sept 1947  (Read 632 times)

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Offline Bunker Hill

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Champion Jack Dupree, Jazz Record 28, Sept 1947
« on: January 21, 2012, 02:46:46 AM »
Today being the twentieth anniversary of Jack's death I thought this early short appreciations of CJD by Pete Kaufman from Jazz Record 28, Sept 1947 (p. 24) might be appropriate:

Champion Jack Dupree
By Pete Kaufman

PIANO pounding, blues shouter Champion Jack Dupree, born in New Orleans, was raised in that same waif?s home that claimed Louis Armstrong for a year and a half. His first musical influence was a New Orleans piano player called Drive 'em Down. Jack used to follow Drive 'em Down around, singing the blues?while Drive 'em Down played. This was in 1922 and Jack was 12. Several years later Drive 'em Down got killed. Jack picked up his way of playing piano and after awhile he was playing the same stuff

Jack tried his hand at prize fighting for a number of years. That's where he picked up the nickname 'Champion'. But he got tired of getting knocked around and in 1940 'he turned to music as a profession, his last fight was in Indianapolis in 1939, in which he knocked out Battling Bozo in the tenth round.

His first professional engagement as a musician was at the Indianapolis Cotton Club. From there he drifted into New York and made his first records in 1941, on Okeh label. Among these was Cabbage Greens No. 1 (which Columbia is planning to reissue this autumn), Dupree Shake Dance, Cabbage Greens No. 2, Big Time Mama, Weedhead Woman, and Angola Blues. He next recorded on Joe Davis label, made an album of four records (Davis album No. 3), and a number of single records. He made one side for Asch, the 12 inch Too Evil To Cry.

Jack lists among his favorite records Looking The World Over by Memphis Minnie, Key to the Highway by Jazz Gillum, Andy Lou by Tampa Red, Heart Of Steel by Lonnie Johnson.

Big Bill and Tampa Red are two of his favorite blues singers, and Pete Johnson, Memphis Slim, and Blind John Davis are piano players he particularly admires. And he calls Brownie McGhee the best blues guitar player he has seen around.

Like a great majority of the blues artists, Jack never had a lesson in his life. He doesn't know one note from another on the piano. He claims there are only two different keys he knows?the black ones  and the white ones. But he can really pound those blues out, and that?s what counts.

[There's a couple of misremembering on Jack's part. The Tampa song is Anna Lou and the Lonnie J is probably Heart Of IRON - BH]

Here's Stefan's CJD discography to put in to context the recordings discussed


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