Monday, May 7, 2012

Dupree's Diamond Blues - Grateful Dead Song Review

Dupree's Diamond Blues is a really original song that personifies the Aomoxoa album where it fits right in with songs like Doin' That Rag and Cosmic Charlie.

Dupree's has a bouncy ragtime feel and an almost carnival sound - I think to organ greatly contributes to that. The great Robert Hunter lyrics seemingly harken back to the turn of the century and tell the story of Dupree who kills a jeweler to get a diamond for the woman he is obsessed with.  Dupree is blinded by the love for the "sweet jelly" this woman gives him, which I think is an old fashioned sexual reference.  It's possible this is a retelling of a classic piece of American folklore (much like Stagger Lee).

Dupree's is a true "one of a kind" song that sounds like nothing else that I know of, so I really appreciate it for that matter.  It's a novelty to hear on tapes  - playe sparingly but throughout a lot of the Dead's career. The took a break from the song from 1970 through 77 and continued to play it through the 80's stopping with one performance of the song in 1990.  The final performance was at the legendary "Berkeley Benefit" (which is a must have for  any Grateful Dead tape collector).  You can hear that exact final rendition on the youtube link at the bottom of this entry.

Dupree's is also notable because it is the namesake for Duprees Diamond News which was a Grateful Dead themed fan publication that was published from 1987 through 1998.

Dupree's is a classic to most Deadheads, but it is not a personal favorite, it just doesn't grab me with any hook or catchy melody and the story is simple.

Dupree's Diamond Blues Song Rating on a Scale of 1-10: 7.5
Disclaimer: This is part of my blog that reviews all things Grateful Dead for fun. Music is a beautiful thing because it is so personal and subjective, so keep in mind that this is one man's opinion (and be sure to read my blog manifesto to understand a little more about where I'm coming from).

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