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Date:    Sat, 30 Dec 1995 13:55:58 GMT
From:    Ben Taylor (bptaylor@LAGUNA.DEMON.CO.UK)
Subject: Dupree

My comments in "[]"s.

     Well, DUPREE came in pimpin' tonight to the Thunderbird Cafe,
     Crystal wanted to talk to him, I had to look the other way.
     Well, I just can't rest without you[r, ] love, I need your company
     But you ain't a-gonna cross the line,
     I guess it must be up to me

     - Up To Me, "Biograph" (Blood on the Tracks outtake)


  Source: "The Viking Book of Folk Ballads" (as reproduced in the
  booklet accompanying "Folk Ballads of the English-Speaking World"
  by Paul Clayton)

Ballads of both white and Negro composition exist which tell the tale
of Frank Dupree, a white South Carolinian who robbed an Atlanta
jewelry [do Americans really spell jewellery like that?] store in 1921
and killed a policeman while making good his escape. Dupree was later
captured in Detroit, was tried and convicted, and hanged on September 1,

White versifications of the tale are tawdry expressions of morality,
while the superior Negro versions are highly dramatic examples of folk

The text used here with some slight textual changes is from Odum and
Johnson's Negro Workaday Songs, and is sung to its traditional blues

[The text is also as sung by Paul Clayton on "Folk Ballads of the
English-Speaking World" (1956 or 64?) (Folkways Records album
No. FA 2310)]

  Dupree was a bandit; he was so brave and bold,
  He stole a diamond ring for some of Betty's jelly roll.

  Betty told Dupree, "I want a diamond ring."
  Dupree told Betty, "I'll give you anything."

  "Michigan water taste like cherry wine,
  The reason I know: Betty drink it all the time.

  "I'm going away to the end of the railroad track.
  Nothing but sweet Betty can bring me back."

  Dupree told the lawyer, "Clear me if you can,
  For I have money to back me, as sure as I'm a man."

  The lawyer told Dupree, "You are a very brave man,
  But I think you'll go to jail and hang."

  Dupree told the judge, "I am not so brave and bold,
  But all I wanted was Betty's jelly roll."

  The judge told Dupree, "Jelly roll's gonna be your ruin."
  "No, no, judge, for that's what I've quit doin'."

  The judge told Dupree, "I believe you quit too late,
  Don't you know it's already been your fate."


Ben Taylor
Leeds, England

Date: Wed, 27 Aug 1997 15:40:40 -0700 I came across your web page today: nice Dylan stuff. just a little tidbit for you: there's a song by the Dead called Dupree's Diamond Blues that tells the very same story of Dupree robbing that jewelry store. ... anyway, keep up the great page and i'll be sure to visit often... ken adessa

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