RIP Mr. Dupree
May 9, 2012 7:16 AM   Subscribe

He's responsible for the deliciously relaxed and understated guitar work you remember from Rainy Night in Georgia and the driving chukka chukka whipsnap that propelled Aretha Franklin's Rock Steady, as well as her version of Spanish Harlem. And he's lent his masterful musical sense to many, many other tunes from artists as diverse as Ringo Starr, Archie Shepp, Joe Cocker, Miles Davis and Paul Simon. Guitarist Cornell Dupree has died at age 68. Primarily a studio musician, Dupree was more often heard than seen, but you can catch some glimpses of his Southern-fried six-string artistry on this live version of King Curtis' Memphis Soul Stew.
posted by flapjax at midnite (23 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

posted by Thorzdad at 7:18 AM on May 9, 2012

posted by Rykey at 7:19 AM on May 9, 2012


Incredibly sweet player.
posted by tspae at 7:22 AM on May 9, 2012

Well damn, that's too young. One of my very favorite players.

The celestial band is getting tighter by the day.

posted by spitbull at 7:25 AM on May 9, 2012

I'm confused; he died in 2011. Wonderful guitarist, though. 2,500 sessions!
posted by Fnarf at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2012

posted by El Brendano at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2012

Dupree was, of course, a key member of the King Curtis band. Here's a post I made on King Curtis (includes a little nod to Dupree) back in 2008. With any luck, some of the links are still live.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:26 AM on May 9, 2012

I'm confused; he died in 2011

I'm a year late getting the news. Won't be the first time.

Incredibly embarrassing, actually. Hope y'all enjoy the post on its musical merits, anyway, if not its immediate newsworthiness.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:30 AM on May 9, 2012

Yeah, much too young. Didn't know his name, did know his music.
posted by MartinWisse at 7:41 AM on May 9, 2012

This is sad news but he left us some incredibly sweet music to remember him by. Thanks for the post.
posted by rocket88 at 7:49 AM on May 9, 2012

I can't find any mention of it on Wikipedia or elsewhere on the Internet, but I remember reading in Rolling Stone that David Byrne listed Rock Steady as a major influence on Once in a Lifetime. So Dupree should not only get props for his session, but for being a rhythmic influence of one of the best songs of the 1980s.

posted by jonp72 at 7:55 AM on May 9, 2012

Looking through his résumé, he covered a wide net in who he played guitar for. The list also includes Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Ian Hunter, Jobriath, John Mayall, the Average White Band, Dusty Springfield, Barbra Streisand, Jackie Wilson, Andy Gibb, the Fritz the Cat soundtrack, Mariah Carey...
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 7:57 AM on May 9, 2012

posted by Dean358 at 9:00 AM on May 9, 2012

posted by Lynsey at 9:06 AM on May 9, 2012

posted by Smart Dalek at 9:20 AM on May 9, 2012

I saw him a few times at a saturday afternoon gig in the Village with Gordon Edwards' Encyclopedia of Soul. (I can't recall the name of the club.) Those were mind-expanding shows.
posted by Jode at 9:23 AM on May 9, 2012

His work on Donnie Hathaway's live album is awesome. He plays on the second side that was recorded in NYC. My personal favorite is Voices Inside (Everything is Everything) if that jam doesn't get you going, I just don't know what would.

Wish I could find a good link, but the interwebs are failing me.
posted by dorkydancer at 10:44 AM on May 9, 2012

Ugh. I know it's Donny....
posted by dorkydancer at 10:45 AM on May 9, 2012

posted by ahimsakid at 11:41 AM on May 9, 2012

He had a little sign he'd hang on his music stand in the studio that read: "The Hitmaker" in the late 60s or early 70s.
posted by carping demon at 11:44 AM on May 9, 2012

Some live picking with Stuff.
posted by bonefish at 1:35 PM on May 9, 2012

This made my day. I love me some Memphis soul.
posted by clvrmnky at 11:17 AM on May 10, 2012

Well, it made my day in that "sorrowful happy sort of sad" way, given the subject of the OP.
posted by clvrmnky at 11:18 AM on May 10, 2012

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