Stevie DuPree & The Delta Flyers
DR. DUPREE'S LOVE SHOP
Spread the news! Helping provide the big engine powering the current blues revival are the extraordinary Delta Flyers led by lead singer and songwriter Stevie DuPree. Formed in Texas as an acoustic duo in 2007, the incendiary Dupree, with music pungent as mesquite barbecue, built a loyal fan base and critical acclaim. Dr. Dupree’s Love Shop with new wingman, guitarist Travis Stephenson, is his sensational breakthrough release.
12 original tunes spotlight Dupree backed by Quentin “Q” Calva (bass), Steve Bundrick (drums), Mark “Kaz” Kazanoff (production, tenor sax, harmonica, background vocals, percussion), Mark Connolly (keyboards), the Texas Horns (Kazanoff, John Mills, Al Gomez) along with guest turns by Derek O’Brien (guitar), Marcia Ball (piano) and vocalists Alice Stewart and Lisa Tingle. “Broke Up” is the most hook-laden, rocking blues since Creedence, with the good doctor dispensing advice to the lovelorn as O’Brien slithers on his slider. A spicy N’Awlins vibe goes down like popcorn shrimp on “First Dance” containing the butt-shaking piano of Ball and DuPree boasting, “You’ve been treating me like I was a total square, but you never knew a backdoor love affair” before delivering the capper, “Well, this ain’t my first dance, and you had your last chance.” The sweaty R&B title track, greased by funk and dripping soul, features the steamy Stewart and Tingle extolling DuPree’s amorous skills while Kazanoff honks lustily. Nasty country blues drives the raunchy descent-into-debauchery tale in “St. Paul’s Bottoms” with DuPree’s menacing growl matching the gritty boogie, Stephenson’s guitar whining in ecstasy and Kazanoff breathing heavy on his harp.
“My Angel of Mercy” exudes pathos over an ominous slow drag about a Storyville “angel” who shows a grateful DuPree the love he only imagines, his voice yearning in despair while Stephenson solos in sympathy. A strutting funk groove kicks “Soulbilly Music” as DuPree gives his prescription for beating the “blues” predicated on the feel good music of the title. With the unleashed, “baying” slide of Stephenson, the thumping shuffle of Calva and Bundrick and Dupree’s “wagging” lyrics on “Ain’t Gonna Be Your Dog,” a modern day classic runs like a hound. The organ-powered swinging shuffle of “It’s My Life” finds DuPree boldly stating in baseball terms, “They may be pitching me high and tight, but it’s my life and I’m alright.”
The gospel-hued ballad “Witness Tree” exposes DuPree’s vulnerability as he declares his undiminished love for the woman who stuck with him through “fire and rain” while Connolly accompanies sensitively on piano. The second line beat of Bundrick and the Sonny Boy-inspired harp of Kazanoff underpins the loose-limbed rhythms of “That Ol’ Mule” with DuPree using the rural metaphor, “That ol’ mule’s got feelings, too…he don’t wanna hear no sass…he might bite you… in the worst of places!” Featuring gorgeous harmony guitars and an explosive solo from Stephenson, the relentlessly rolling rhythms of “Lucky Seven” complement, “It’s like rollin’ lucky seven the hard way, well I guess I’m lucky but I just can’t say.”
Closing with a classic Motown riff, “A Hard Act to Follow” contains winking, risqué lyrics like, “The next I heard from Claudette she was off to Mozambique, on a fancy private jet, for an audience with a sheik. By the time that I arrived, I found her banging on his door, but the sheik he wasn’t comin’ out, he couldn’t take no more” and a soaring solo from Stephenson.
Uplifting while deeply emotional, Stevie DuPree and his crew are a “hard act to follow.” Hop on board their soulful blues train and make a stop at the “love shop” for a dose of good loving and good rocking.
Dave Rubin, KBA recipient in Journalism