Champion Jack Dupree (1908/09/10-1992)
A Real Champion
William Thomas Dupree, best known as Champion Jack Dupree, was an American
blues pianist. His birth date is disputed, given as July 4, July 10, and July
23, in the years 1908, 1909, or 1910. He died January 21, 1992. Champion Jack
Dupree was the embodiment of the New Orleans blues and boogie woogie pianist,
a true barrelhouse "professor". His father was from the Belgian
Congo and his mother was a Creole of color and part Cherokee. He was orphaned
at the age of 2 and sent to the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs (also the
alma mater of Louis Armstrong). He taught himself piano there and later
and the legendary
whom he called his "father" and from whom he learned Junker's
Blues. He was also "spy boy" for the Yellow Pochahantas tribe of
Mardis Gras Indians and soon began playing in barrelhouses, drinking
establishments organized around barrels of booze. As a young man he began his
life of travelling, living in Chicago, where he worked with
and Indianapolis, Indiana, where he hooked up with
Scrapper Blackwell and
While he was always playing piano, he also worked as a cook, and in Detroit he
met Joe Louis, who encouraged him to become a boxer. He ultimately fought in
107 bouts and 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 age 30 and joined a circle of recording artists, including
Big Bill Broonzy and
who introduced him to legendary blues record producer Lester Melrose, who
claimed composer credit and publishing on many of Champion Jack Dupree's
songs. Champion Jack Dupree's playing is almost all straight blues and boogie
woogie, with no ballads or pop songs, not even blues ballads. He sang about
life as he found it, singing about jail, drinking, drug addiction, although he
himself was a light drinker and did not use other drugs. His Junker's
Blues is still sung in New Orleans, and was also transmogrified by Fats
Domino into his first hit The Fat Man. Champion Jack Dupree's songs
included not only gloomy topics, such as TB Blues and Angola
Blues (about the infamous Louisiana prison farm), but also cheerful
subjects like the Dupree Shake Dance. On his best known LP, 1958's
Blues from the Gutter for Atlantic, he was accompanied on guitar by
whose playing on that LP inspired Brian Jones (of Rolling Stones fame)
("Yeah! I have to play this... what a sound").Champion Jack Dupree
was also noted as a raconteur and transformed many of his stories into songs.
In later years he recorded with John Mayall, Mick Taylor, and Eric Clapton.
Although Jerry Lee Lewis did not record Dupree's Shake Baby Shake as
suggested by some sources, the lyrics in his version of Whole Lotta Shakin'
Goin' On echo the title of Champion Jack Dupree's song. Indeed, Champion
Jack Dupree's 1957 rerelease of Shake Baby Shake may have been a
response to the success of Jerry Lee Lewis's record in that year. Champion
Jack Dupree's career was interrupted by military service in World War II. He
was a cook in the United States Navy and spent two years as a Japanese
prisoner of war. His biggest commercial success was Walkin' the Blues,
which he recorded as a duet with
This led to several national tours, and eventually to a European tour.
Champion Jack Dupree moved to Europe permanently 1959, the first of many blues
stars to make the move to a less racially prejudiced environment. He
continued to record in Europe and also made many live appearances there, also
still working as a cook specializing in New Orleans cuisine. He returned to
the United States from time to time and appeared at the New Orleans Jazz &
Heritage Festival. He died in Hanover, Germany of cancer.
(quoted from wikipedia.org)
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Visit also these related Sites:
Champion Jack Dupree Tribute Pages
Champion Jack Dupree tribute page at myspace.com.
Biographical Information on Champion Jack Dupree
Champion Jack Dupree biography at wikipedia.org.
Champion Jack Dupree biography by Greg Johnson.
Champion Jack Dupree biography by Bill Dahl.
Champion Jack Dupree biography at john-meekings.co.uk.
Champion Jack Dupree biography by Brendan Hogan.
Champion Jack Dupree biography at allaboutjazz.com.
Various Articles on Champion Jack Dupree
Article by John Orr and photos by José Luis Villegas.
Champion Jack Dupree Lyrics
Lyrics of numerous Champion Jack Dupree songs.
Lyrics of numerous Champion Jack Dupree songs.
Champion Jack Dupree Discographies
Champion Jack Dupree discography at wirz.de.
Champion Jack Dupree Photos
Champion Jack Dupree photo by Karlheinz Klüter.
Champion Jack Dupree photo by Daniel Czerniejewski.
Champion Jack Dupree photo by Lothar Jung.
Champion Jack Dupree Audio Files
Champion Jack Dupree - The Life I Lead. MP3 file, runtime 04:26.
Several Champion Jack Dupree MP3 files at africanafrican.com.
Champion Jack Dupree - When I'm Drinkin'. MP3 file, runtime 03:26.
Champion Jack Dupree Videos
champion jack dupree with king curtis. Runtime 07:43.
Champion Jack Dupree at Montreux - Aint That A Shame - 1980. Runtime 06:18.
Champion Jack Dupree 1972. Runtime 03:38.
Champion Jack Dupree. Runtime 03:42.
Champion Jack Dupree in Germany. Runtime 05:37.
Champion Jack Duprée Chicken Shake. Runtime 04:35.
1969 Mercury Cougar in British TV Program. Runtime 08:34.
Champion Jack Dupree - Diggin' My Potatoes. Runtime 05:29.
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