This is the second episode of our two-episode look at New Orleans boogie-woogie piano player Champion Jack Dupree.
In the first episode, we spent some time tracking down his music and his fascinating history — his childhood, his boxing career, his recording career, and his departure for Europe. In this episode we pick up where we left off, with Jack returning to New Orleans after more than 30 years. And through interviews with Jack and people who knew him, we found a theme running through his entire life — the search for freedom, for himself and for all of us.
This is a very special look at a very special story. For the story of how we hunted down details about Champion Jack Dupree’s life over a two-year period, check out the first part of our special: Champion Jack Dupree: Pieces of the Puzzle
The recording excerpted at the beginning of this show is from May 5, 1991, at the Music Heritage Stage at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, and features Allison Miner as an interviewer. The Music and Heritage Stage featured mostly interviews with some performance — Jack also did another longer performance at the Economy Hall Stage later that day. Danish guitarist Kenn Lending, whom we interviewed for this episode, performed alongside Jack at both sets.
Dick Waterman is a former sportswriter, booking agent, promoter, artist manager, and photographer, who worked with many blues greats — and he’s a member of the Blues Hall of Fame. He booked Champion Jack Dupree’s 1991 tour of the US, and went along for most of the tour, and we interviewed him at his Oxford, Mississippi home. If you’d like to know more, this interview is a great start.
Blues guitarist Kenn Lending met Champion Jack Dupree in the 1970s, and worked with him until Jack’s death in 1992, performing at over 1,000 concerts in 34 countries. He lives in Copenhagen, Denmark, and still plays music.
Kalamu ya Salaam, interviewed in this episode, is a poet, scholar, and filmmaker in New Orleans, who has written about Champion Jack Dupree.
Champion Jack Dupree – “Big Leg Emma’s”
Champion Jack – “live interview by Allison Miner / Nobody Love Me” (live at Jazz Fest Music Heritage Stage, 1991)
Buddy Guy, Junior Wells – “First Time I Met the Blues”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Rampart Street Special”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Shim-Sham-Shimmy”
Kenn Lending Blues Band – “Every Day I Have the Blues”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Bad Blood”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Evil Woman”
Champion Jack Dupree – “When Things Go Wrong”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Hometown New Orleans”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Rattlesnake Boogie”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Black Wolf Blues”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Freedom”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Yella Pocahontas”
Willie Dixon/ Memphis Slim – “Nervous”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Harelip Blues”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Strollin'”
Max Roach – “Freedom Day”
John Coltrane – “Alabama”
Champion Jack Dupree – “How Long Blues”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Cabbage Greens No. 1”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Dupree Special”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Lonesome Bedroom”
Champion Jack Dupree – “Goin Down Slow”
NEW ORLEANS CALLING is a production of WWOZ, listener-supported community radio in the Crescent City.
Special thanks to:
Margaret Kosanke, Dick Waterman, Kenn Lending, Kalamu ya Salaam, Henry Butler, Tom McDermott, and David Freedman;
to Sally Young for her voice talents;
and to Rachel Lyons and Dolores Hooper of the Archive of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation.
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