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Champion Jack builds on successful homecoming

Forever and Ever
Forever and Ever
By Champion Jack Dupree

Rounder Records: 1991

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This review first appeared in the Spring 1992 edition of Blues Revue Quarterly magazine (now Blues Revue).

This is the second domestic album by Champion Jack Dupree since his triumphant return to his native United States after 36 years in self-imposed exile. ("Back Home in New Orleans" was released by Rounder in 1990.) The years away have not diminished the Crescent City native's feel for his hometown's musical roots, and his age (he was 81 when this was recorded) has only barely touched his technical prowess.

There may be no living pianist outside Allen Toussaint or Ellis Marsalis as firmly enmeshed in New Orleans' grand tradition as Dupree, and that fact alone would make any album worthwhile. But his overriding sense of artistic vision, his unerring musical judgement, and his perfectionist nature make "Forever and Ever" much more than just a collection of songs.

Dupree is backed here by a tight blues/jazz combo that crackles throughout. Of special note are visitors John Mooney on guitar for three tracks and Bo Dollis (of the Mardi Gras parade band the Wild Magnolias) for a vocal on "Yella Pocahontas."

Even if he made Hamburg his permanent home, Champion Jack Dupree was always an American cultural treasure and this album only added to his already impressive achievements.