Thursday, May 12, 2011

TDOS Obituaries: Cornell Dupree

Sad morning for soul. Just found out the incomparable Cornell Dupree passed away a few days ago due to emphysema complications. This man is, and always will be, one of my desert island, top 5 favorites. It wouldn't matter if every single guitar player on Earth vanished, as long as his recordings were still around. Honestly. He is an absolute GOD. He is responsible for some odd 2,500 recordings, including "Respect", "Rainy Night in Georgia", "Soul Serenade" and even Mimi's "Emotions."

He is featured on Aretha's fantastic Aretha Live at Fillmore West and my personal favorite, Donny Hathaway's LIVE, (second half only). His solo on "Voices Inside (Everything Is Everything)" is literally magical. Even before he starts playing, Donny introduces him and says "from Fort Worth, Texas, by way of New York, or vice a versa, vice a versa, Cornell Dupree" and just the way he says it let's you know shit is about to get really real. And fast.

Dupree began playing guitar at 14, after he saw Johnny "Guitar" Watson perform, and not long after he was recruited by King Curtis to play with his band, the Kingpins. He found himself a regular staple at Atlantic Records and he began his life long career as one of the most sought out session players in the game. A choice Jerry Wexler quote, from his obit in the Washington Post:

“Time and again what we would get into was a hellacious mess as the three guitarists got in each other’s way,” said Wexler. “And so when Mr. Dupree, the pride of Fort Worth, came to our rescue, it was bye-bye to multiple guitarists because — miraculously, it seemed to me — one man playing rhythm and lead at the same time took the place of three.”


R.I.P. Cornell.