CHAMPION JACK DUPREE
EARLY CUTS 1940-1953 (4CD)
Champion Jack Dupree, who was born in New Orleans in 1910, made his first records in 1940 and his last in 1991! He was a prolific boisterous piano player who loved to entertain with his dazzling displays of bruising left hand bass and impressively inventive right hand moves. In clubs, concert halls and on record, his music was loud, lively, lascivious and humorous (...and possibly shocking too in these politically correct times).
His 1958 Atlantic album ‘Blues From The Gutter' is regarded (rightly) as his masterwork but his early material has been largely overlooked by reissue companies so this is a very welcome release by JSP and Neil Slaven who go right back to Champion Jack's beginnings on these 104 tracks.
So - you get his early 1940s recordings for OKeh with guitarist Bill Gaither and string bassist Ransom Knowling, a clutch of 1942 sides with Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, two sides made for Asch in 1944, his solo work on JD and the 1945 sides with Brownie McGhee for Lenox and Continental. Then it's on to the mid-forties and the two tracks for Alert (as Willie Jordan & His Swinging Five) followed by the Champion Jack Dupree Country Blues Band sides for Apollo in 1949. There's a ton of great music from the fifties on labels as diverse as Abbey, Apex, Gotham, Harlem, Derby and eventually, the King sides with Mickey Baker and Milton Batiste including one I never knew about - ‘Camille' from 1953 that features the dynamic playing of harmonica man Papa Lightfoot!
Needless to say, this set gives us a great view of Jack's vast repertoire - old traditional melodies, slow boogies, piano stomps, jitterbugs, shake dances, boogie woogies along with classic vintage New Orleans numbers like ‘Junker Blues', ‘Cabbage Greens' and ‘Big Leg Mama'.
A powerhouse of marvellous blues on 4 CDs - all at our famously low Red Lick price...
Review Date: July 2009