Sunday, March 5, 2017

TRIBUTE TO CHAMPION JACK DUPREE AND HIS SONG NASTY BOOGIE


William Thomas ‘Champion Jack’ Dupree was an American blues and boogie-woogie pianist who got his name ‘Champion’ owing to his early career as a boxer.

Tribute by Lucky Bill

Champion Jack Dupree – ‘Nasty Boogie’
“Mama bought a chicken
She took him for a duck
Laid him on the table
Wit' his leg stuck up”
Read more: Champion Jack Dupree - Nasty Boogie Lyrics | MetroLyrics

Born in New Orleans on or around July 23rd 1908 and from colourful parentage, his mother was part Cherokee part African American and his father was from the Belgian Congo. He had all the credentials for a bluesman ingrained into his life from an early age.

He was an orphan by the time he was eight year old and sent to a home for delinquent boys on the grounds that he was a ‘dangerous and suspicious character’.

He did, however, go on to serve his country through military service as a cook in World War II and was held as a POW by the Japanese for two years before returning to the USA.

Now, according to the Miriam Webster online dictionary boogie woogie is: ‘a percussive style of playing blues on the piano characterized by a steady rhythmic ground bass of eighth notes in quadruple time and a series of improvised melodic variations’ and this certainly comes through if you listen to ‘Nasty Boogie’ on this YouTube video.


And, according to a Wikipedia article that I was perusing, there are characteristics of the boogie woogie style in Beethoven’s 32nd piano sonata which was written in the 1820’s. I think you require more musicology than I to recognise any similarities. What do you think? Claudia Arrau plays it here - check out his link - https://goo.gl/3tJ8NW

Back to the song and as to the meaning of this song – well, that depends on your imagination but here are another few lines to give to a flavour.

Well, my grandma was to old to go
She listened in on the radio
Her feet got happy
And she pulled up her dress
The first thing she hollered
'That boogie's a mess! '

Ending his days in 1992, Mr. Dupree had a prolific musical output and provides a rich seam of enjoyment to be mined by lovers of the blues and boogie woogie.

Go forth and enjoy da Blues!!
Lucky Bill

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