380

Champion Jack Dupree: Junker Blues

Derek Taylor By

Sign in to view read count
Jack Dupree was one of the barrelhouse champions. Weaned on the coarser piano styles of the brothels and speakeasies of his New Orleans youth his utilitarian approach on the instrument always favored volume and vigor over skill and polish. But the attribute that set him most apart from the legion of juke joint ivory ticklers was his world-weary voice. He lived and breathed the life recounted in his colorful lyrics. Traveling across America, and in later years Europe, all the hard times he soaked up in his wanderings as an itinerant musician bled out to innumerable audiences through his gruff intonation.

The Catfish label does him a great service with this compilation. Gathering a generous slice of his 1940s Chicago output these tunes run a wide topical gamut from the bleak realities of prison life (‘Angola Blues’ and ‘County Jail Special’), to the temptations of drugs and booze (‘Junker Blues’ and ‘Rum Cola Blues’), to the inevitable worries posed by the opposite sex (‘All Alone Blues’ and ‘Mean Mistreatin’ Mama’. Through the entire program his muscular, but agile piano rolls duck and weave around the loose accompaniment of a varied crew of partners. Most commonly it’s a lone string bassist tying down the rhythmic end, but guitar, drums and sax do crop up on occasion. Somewhat of a surprise is Jesse Ellery’s electric guitar; on hand a full seven years before Muddy Waters made Chicago blues history on the instrument.

While there’s not much flash in Dupree’s presentation there’s still plenty of fire. The emotive directness of his down home delivery makes the music impossible to resist and these sides show off why he usually managed to pack a house. Also making the music a beautiful repast is the clarity of the Catfish crew’s remastering. Considering their vintage these sides are remarkably free of static and surface noise and all of the musicians, but particularly the bassists, are crisply rendered. Dupree recorded a large body of work during his lifetime, but these tracks from his heyday rank among the finest.

Catfish on the web: http://www.catfishrecords.co.uk/


Track Listing: Love Strike Blues/ Warehouse Man Blues/ Angola Blues/ Big Time Mama/ That

Personnel: Champion Jack Dupree- piano, vocal; Bill Gaither- bass; Wilson Swain- bass; Ransom Knowling- bass; Jesse Ellery- electric guitar; Brownie McGhee- guitar; Count Edmondson- bass; Jesse Powell- tenor saxophone; Melvin Merrit- drums; Lannie Scott- piano; Sticks McGhee- guitar.

| Record Label: Catfish Records (UK) | Style: Blues


Shop

More Articles

Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Before The Silence CD/LP/Track Review Before The Silence
by John Sharpe
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1 CD/LP/Track Review Masters Legacy Series, Volume 1
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Backlog CD/LP/Track Review Backlog
by Mark F. Turner
Published: February 24, 2017
Read Process And Reality CD/LP/Track Review Process And Reality
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 24, 2017
Read The Picasso Zone CD/LP/Track Review The Picasso Zone
by Franz A. Matzner
Published: February 23, 2017
Read "Slag" CD/LP/Track Review Slag
by Mark Corroto
Published: January 29, 2017
Read "Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen" CD/LP/Track Review Vanheusenism: A Tribute To Jimmy Van Heusen
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 3, 2016
Read "Matthew Halsall: On the Go (Special Edition)" CD/LP/Track Review Matthew Halsall: On the Go (Special Edition)
by Phil Barnes
Published: July 1, 2016
Read "Genesis" CD/LP/Track Review Genesis
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Projeto Brasil!" CD/LP/Track Review Projeto Brasil!
by Budd Kopman
Published: May 27, 2016
Read "Iridescent Clouds" CD/LP/Track Review Iridescent Clouds
by James Nadal
Published: September 24, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!