Guitar Great Cornell Dupree, Who Made Everyone Sound Better, Has Died at 69
Moments ago, an old Friend of Unfair Park sent along this obituary that appeared on Variety's website last night: Guitar great Cornell Dupree died at his Fort Worth home Sunday at the age of 69. For those unfamiliar with the name, you're certainly well-versed in his estimable body of work -- which encompasses some 2,500 pop, soul and R&B cuts, among them King Curtis and the Kingpins' immortal "Memphis Soul Stew," to which Dupree added "four level tablespoons of boilin' Memphis guitar."
Which is but the tip of the tip of the funky iceberg: As Josh Alan Friedman wrote for us in his February 1997 Dupree tell-all, there were other familiar tunes among his discography -- Brook Benton's "Rainy Night In Georgia," Aretha's "Respect," and King Curtis' "Soul Serenade" to name but the most famous. But Dupree, who was one of the nicest and most modest men you'd ever hope to encounter, thought of himself as but a footnote in the rock-and-roll-and history books. Wrote Josh:
Dupree seems casual and far removed from his history: Each record was just a matter of doing his day job, punching a clock. His house in North Richland Hills, north of Fort Worth, could be that of any ordinary manufacturer or civil service official. There's nothing to indicate that this is home sweet home for the man whose guitar graces a Yellow Pages of popular song by Aretha Franklin; King Curtis; Sam Cooke; Otis Redding; Ringo; Miles; Joe Cocker; Carly and Paul Simon; B.B., Freddie, and Ben E. King; and Big Mamas Thornton, Streisand, and Midler.
"Not many people read the backs of albums, they don't know who the hell it is," Dupree says with a shrug.
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