Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Cornell Dupree - RIP
Just heard that Cornell Dupree passed a couple of days ago. This man was one of my earliest guitar heroes. That lick he lays down in King Curtis' Memphis Soul Stew is a classic funky, soulful statement - I listened to that tune over and over, just to hear that Cornell Dupree guitar break. "Four level tablespoons of boilin' Memphis guitar" is how King Curtis introduces Cornell's contribution to the tune. Wonderful.
Cornell played with everyone from Aretha Franklin to Paul Simon. His work was on over 2,500 tunes. He was a formidable guitar monster, but humble. He didn't over-play or grandstand. He was the ultimate session guitarist. Some of his licks are deeply imprinted in the national musical consciousness, but most folks never heard his name. Listen to his work on "Rainy Night in Georgia." Fantastic stuff.
Cornell was totally cool but not flashy. He was deeply talented and tasteful, but he was a committed sideman. His mission was to make the best music possible and he didn't care if he got little credit. He was in the public ear, but not the public eye.
Gonna miss that guy. Here is a MP3 of Memphis Soul Stew from YouTube. This is from the King Curtis "Live from Fillmore West" that I wore out when I was in high school. Enjoy it, and reflect on guitar greatness and the importance of sidemen.