Indie Magazine 
Issue No 36


Charly LP release
Original BYG Records LP release

I first saw Champion Jack Dupree when I was fifteen, when I sat on the floor all night at the old Studio 51 Club in Great Newport Street to listen to a man who'd only just arrived in this country and was to make Europe his home.

This session was recorded in 1969 and is reviewed here because the young harmonica player present on some of the tracks is "Plough" regular John O'Leary and NOT Victor Brox as stated on the sleeve notes.  Ray Warleigh (sax), Aynsley Dunbar (drums), John Moorsehead (guitar), Alexander Dmchowski (bass), and Nick Evans (trombone) are the musicians, with Victor Brox playing organ and pocket trumpet.

As soon as I put this CD on I was overcome with emotion, not quite tears dripping on the floor, but close; I'd forgotten just what a singer this man was, and the way his music reminds me so much of Jelly Roll Morton and New Orleans jazz, James Booker and Otis Spann - and I wonder where this stuff has gone now.  Anyway, back to you get humour, storytelling, great sadness, and a depth of experience across vast time and distance and a direct line from the blues and jazz past.

You Rascal You - A ridiculous shouting and 'arguing' muckabout with the band leading us into this rollicking, wildly gleeful old New Orleans standard - "I'll be glad when you're dead you rascal you"."

No Tomorrow - Tear jerking, rippling opening to a desperately sad story - a James Booker feel - always disturbing.  It is wonderful stuff, but not to listen to on your own when you're tired , drunk, about to have your house repossessed and your entire family has just left you and you've spilt some chilli sauce on your best shirt.  Yes, John O'Leary gets to come in here on harp with Champion Jack talking to him.

The Japanese Special - This mad, fast swirling English jazz & Rock & Blues effort that is very much of it's time.  John plays bits of harp in among the mayhem but where is Jack?  I rather liked it actually.

Hard Feeling - John O'Leary to the fore on this slow blues.  I've got to question him closely about what sort of stuff he was using back then - it's twenty nine years ago!

Blues From 1921 - This is a slice of history all right, Jack talking about playing in New Orleans with Buddy Bolden in 1921 - "Take a tip from an old man, the blues will never die". 

Don't Mistreat Your Woman - More harp from John on this very slow laid back blues.  It's a pity that pianos have slowly all but vanished from contemporary live blues...Pete Boulter