Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Champion Jack's One Last Time

Recorded right after his Forever and Ever album, and a little more than half a year before his death in January 1992, One Last Time (Bullseye Blues), provides a fitting final studio recording by the New Orleans pianist and vocalist. According to producer Ron Levy, this was a session Dupree wanted to do, as he told Levy after completing Forever and Ever, he didn’t know if he’d be back. Dupree was joined here by Kenn Landing, his regular guitarist of the time, and several Crescent City musicians including Earl Turbington, Jr., on alto saxophone, and Walter Payton on bass.

This opens with Bad Blood which he previously recorded for the classic Blues From the Gutter album that was on Atlantic, and if this version doesn’t match the earlier recording, it is more than a credible performance with Turbington’s bluesy horn and Landing’s stinging guitar sounding very nice. He plays tribute to some past blues masters including Roosevelt Sykes on She’s Jail Bait, and Louis Jordan on Somebody Done Changed the Lock on the Door, and Early in the Morning. While credited to Dupree, Give Me Flowers When I’m Livin’, where he asks to give him his rewards while he can enjoy them, goes back to Peetie Wheatstraw. Ironically, I believe it was one of Wheatstraw’s last recordings as well.

With his fine backing section, Dupree lays down his barrelhouse piano, and sings authoritatively with his relaxed, grainy voice that really could deliver a lyric and tell a story. His performances here belie his age. While I do not concur with annotator Bob Porter’s view that this is the best of Dupree’s three Bullseye Blues albums (I prefer Forever and Ever), it is a very good listen. With Columbia/Legacy’s release of his Okeh recordings, Atlantic’s Blues From the Gutter, and imports of his recordings for King, and various New York labels, there is no shortage of superb Jack Dupree.

This review appeared in the October 1993 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 185) and I believe One Last Time is still available as is Blues From The Gutter (which is available as part of reissue with another Dupree album),  while the Sony/Legacy New Orleans Barrelhouse Boogie is available used.  All of Dupree's 3 Bullseye Blues albums along with Blues From The Gutter and other recordings (not the Sony) are available as downloads.  JSP has issued a 4CD box of his earliest recordings which I hope to discuss at some future time.  

I likely received a review copy from Rounder Records at the time this review originally ran.

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