Champion Jack Dupree Birth name William Thomas Dupree

William Thomas "Champion Jack" Dupree (July 23, 1909 or July 4, 1910 – January 21, 1992) was an American blues and boogie-woogie pianist and singer. His nickname was derived from his early career as a boxer.

Dupree was a New Orleans blues and boogie-woogie pianist, a barrelhouse "professor". His father was from the Belgian Congo and his mother was part African American and Cherokee. His birth date has been given as July 4, July 10, and July 23, 1908, 1909 or 1910; Researchers Bob Eagle and Eric LeBlanc give July 4, 1910.

He was orphaned at the age of eight and was sent to the Colored Waifs Home in New Orleans, an institution for orphaned or delinquent boys. This was about the same time, Louis Armstrong was also sent there as a child, after being arrested as a "dangerous and suspicious character”. Dupree taught himself to play the piano there and later apprenticed with Tuts Washington and Willie Hall, whom he called his father and from whom he learned "Junker's Blues". He was also a "spy boy" for the Yellow Pocahontas tribe of the Mardi Gras Indians. He soon began playing in barrel houses and other drinking establishments.

He began a life of travelling, living in Chicago, where he worked with Georgia Tom, and in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he met Scrapper Blackwell and Leroy Carr. He also worked as a cook. In Detroit, after Joe Louis encouraged him to become a boxer, he fought 107 bouts, 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 the age of 30 and joined a circle of recording artists, including Big Bill Broonzy and Tampa Red, who introduced him to the record producer Lester Melrose. Many of Dupree's songs were later credited to Melrose as composer, and Melrose claimed publishing rights to them.

Dupree's career was interrupted by military service in World War II. He was a cook in the United States Navy and was held by the Japanese for two years as a prisoner of war. Following Franklin D. Roosevelt's death in office, Dupree composed the "F.D.R. Blues."

After the war, his biggest commercial success was "Walkin' the Blues", which he recorded as a duet with Teddy McRae. Dupree moved to Europe in 1960, settling first in Switzerland and then Denmark (in the anarchist-occupied Freetown Christiania in Copenhagen),  England, Sweden and, finally, Germany. On June 17, 1971, he played at the Montreux Jazz Festival, in the Casino Kursaal, with King Curtis, backed by Cornell Dupree on guitar, Jerry Jemmott on bass and Oliver Jackson on drums. The recording of the concert was released in 1973 as the album King Curtis & Champion Jack Dupree: Blues at Montreux on the Atlantic label.

During the 1970s and 1980s he lived in Halifax, England, after marrying a Halifax native, Shirley Ann Harrison. He continued to record in Europe with the Kenn Lending Band, Louisiana Red and Axel Zwingenberger and made many live appearances. He also worked again as a cook, specializing in New Orleans cuisine. He returned to the United States from time to time and performed at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival.

He divorced Shirley in 1976 and moved to Copenhagen, where he lived in the Freetown Christiania. This period of his life was the subject of the 1975 film Barrelhouse Blues - Feelings and Situations which included several filmed performances, including one where Dupree plays drum set. He later moved to Zurich and finally settled in Hanover, Germany. He died of cancer on January 21, 1992, in Hanover.

Dupree's playing was almost all straight blues and boogie-woogie. He was not a sophisticated musician or singer, but he had a wry and clever way with words: "Mama, move your false teeth, papa wanna scratch your gums." He sometimes sang as if he had a cleft palate and even recorded under the name Harelip Jack Dupree. This was an artistic conceit, as he had clear articulation, particularly for a blues singer. He would occasionally indulge in a vocalize style of sung word play (similar to Slim Gaillard's "Vout"), as in his "Mr. Dupree Blues", included on the album The Complete Blue Horizon Sessions.

Many of his songs were about jail, drinking and drug addiction, although he himself was a light drinker and did not use other drugs. His "Junker's Blues" was transmuted by Fats Domino into "The Fat Man", Domino's first hit record. Some of Dupree's songs had gloomy topics, but he also sang about cheerful subjects, as in "Dupree Shake Dance": "Come on, mama, on your hands and knees, do that shake dance as you please". He was a noted narrator and transformed many of his stories into songs, such as "Big Leg Emma's", a rhymed tale of a police raid on a barrelhouse.

On his best-known album, Blues from the Gutter, released by Atlantic Records in 1958, he was accompanied on guitar by Larry Dale, whose playing on that record inspired Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones.

In later years Dupree recorded with John Mayall, Mick Taylor, Eric Clapton and The Band.

Since his death, Dupree has undergone a revival of interest on the British vintage dance scene. His recording of “Shakin’ Mother for You” now features on the play list of most DJ’s on the UK Lindy Hop scene and it has become the de facto standard track for the ‘Cardiff Stroll’.

 

Kenn Lending (Kenn Lending Band) is a Danish singer, guitarist, composer and producer, (born Feb. 8. 1955)with an extraordinary history. His devotion to music goes back to his early childhood whereas African-American music, of any style, has attracted him since he was a baby.

He started learning guitar when he was seven, playing songs of Bob Dylan, Donovan and other folk artists of the time. But it was the “American Folk Blues Festival” in 1968, which made up his mind about his future life. On the stage were Big Joe Williams, Jimmy Reed, John Lee Hooker, T-Bone Walker and Eddie Taylors Chicago Blues Band. Right away he made a blues band with some schoolmates, and was determined to learn to play the real blues.

Up through the seventies he was working in several reputable Danish groups. Such as the Salsa Rock group “Himmelexpressen” and the Soul and Reggae group “Survivors”. But forming his own Blues Band in 1980 fulfilled the dream, which he had, since he saw T Bone Walker live on the stage in 1968.

Already a year before Kenn Lending formed his band, he started his well-known partnership with the legendary American barrelhouse piano-player and blues singer Champion Jack Dupree, who lived in Hannover, Germany since 1975. This partnership, through the years turned into a close friendship, lasted until “The Champ” passed away in January 1992.

The Duo did over 1000 concerts together in 35 states and countries, including a seven week tour in USA and Canada in 1991. They also appear together on at least 19 different albums. Three of the albums were recorded in Champion Jack Dupree’s hometown of  New Orleans, for Rounder Records in 1990 and 1991. One of these CD’s “Forever and Ever”, received the WC Handy Award for the best traditional album in 1991.

When an old blues man like Champion Jack Dupree, choose to work and travel with a young musician, it’s not only for the friendship and the assistance it gives. It’s also because it’s time to pass the heritage to the next generation. That exactly what The Champ did to Kenn, over the years they spend together. Because of this fact, Kenn has received a lot of respect and encouragement from other Afro-American blues artist, such as BB King, Junior Wells, John Lee Hooker and Willie Dixon, over the years. Many blues artists also started using Kenn for concerts and recordings. Artists like Memphis Slim, Luther Allison, Bobby Rush, Louisiana Red, Aron Burton, Lillian Boutté, Bobby Rush and many others, frequently used Kenn Lending and his Blues Band as backing on concerts and recordings. In 1991 he also recorded with the legendary American rock band “The Band” in their studio “Big Pink”. Along with Champion Jack Dupree he is present their 1996 album “High On The Hog”.

Even though Kenn knows his “down home blues”, and respect the heritage he got from Jack Dupree, Kenn Lending Blues Band is known to have a very personal sound. This is evident on their entire 11 album’s, from the first LP “Live” in 1981 – to “Kenn Lending In Concert” in 2017. With all the songs by Kenn Lending, he takes the audience on a trip “from roots to fruits with the blues”. In the music you will find elements from his lifelong love and experience with African-American music. These lyrics are highly personal statements and the high performance of the individual musicians makes all the album’s milestones in the 40 year career in 2020 of the Kenn Lending Blues Band extra ordinary.

Louisiana Red

Iverson Minter aka Louisiana Red (March 23, 1932 – February 25, 2012), known as Louisiana Red, was an American blues guitarist, harmonica player, and singer, who recorded more than 50 albums. He was best known for his song Sweet Blood Call.

Born in Bessemer, Alabama, Minter lost his parents early in life; his mother died of pneumonia shortly after his birth, and his father was lynched by the Ku Klux Klan in 1937.  He was brought up by a series of relatives in various towns and cities. Red recorded for Chess in 1949, before joining the Army. He was trained as a parachutist with the 82nd Airborne and was sent to Korea in 1951. The 82nd Airborne was not deployed as a complete unit in Korea, but soldiers from this unit were dispatched as Rangers in the 2nd, 3rd and 7th Infantry Divisions. Minter said he was assigned to the 3rd Infantry Division.

After leaving the Army, he played with John Lee Hooker in Detroit for two years in the late 1950s. He recorded for Checker Records in 1952, billed as Rocky Fuller.

His first album, Lowdown Back Porch Blues, was recorded in New York with Tommy Tucker and released in 1963. His second album, Seventh Son, was released later the same year. Louisiana Red released the single "I'm Too Poor to Die" for the Glover label in 1964. It peaked at number 117 on the Billboard Hot 100 and number 30 on the Cashbox chart. (Billboard did not publish an R&B chart in 1964.)

He maintained a busy recording and performing schedule through the 1960s and 1970s, working in sessions for Chess, Checker, Atlas, Glover, Roulette, L&R and Tomato, amongst others. In 1983 he won a W. C. Handy Award for Best Traditional Blues Male Artist.  He lived in Hanover, Germany, from 1981.

He appeared in the films Rockpalast (1976), Comeback (1982), Ballhaus Barmbek (1988), Red and Blues (2005) and Family Meeting (2008).

In 1994, Louisiana Red fused the blues with the urban Greek music of the bouzouki player Stelios Vamvakaris, on the album Blues Meets Rembetika. He continued to tour, including regular returns to the United States, until his death in 2012. In 2011, Louisiana Red released the album Memphis Mojo, to broad public acclaim. He died in Germany in 2012 when his thyroid imbalance brought on a stroke.