"Can you play something to make me feel happy?"

That's the question asked by some anonymous European fan in the audience to Champion Jack Dupree at the beginning of this video.

Dupree (a former boxer) promises something to "knock him out."

An utterly charming video -- especially for people who like the barrelhouse piano style, of which Dupree was a master.

It's amazing to find something like this on YouTube, as I've been a fan of Dupree since high school when I heard "Blues From the Gutter." (I have the original LP, and I'll be damned if it isn't available on CD at Amazon. According to one modern reviewer, it's "proof that you can sing about things other than women that get you down too, like addictions, having bad blood, bumps on your face and tuberculosis.")

By any standard, the man led a fascinating and colorful (if sad) life, which included being orphaned as an infant by Ku Klux Klan arson and imprisoned for two years in a Japanese POW camp. He moved to Europe to escape racial prejudice in 1959, eventually dying in Germany in 1992.

"When you open up a piano, you see freedom. Nobody can play the white keys and don't play the black keys. You got to mix all these keys together to make harmony. And that's what the whole world needs: Harmony."

-- Wiki quotation.

MORE: Whoever provided the YouTube link to the video stated that "I do not have any details re the Venue," but I'm wondering whether the second guitarist in the background might be Eric Clapton, who was known to have played with Dupree. It's blurry, but the guy kind of looks like Clapton.

posted by Eric on 06.12.07 at 06:46 PM


EC in 1968

Not EC in the above video. But thanks for it!

Darleen   ·  June 13, 2007 2:13 AM

Thanks Darleen!

Eric Scheie   ·  June 13, 2007 8:16 AM

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