WFMU Ichiban, Rock and Soul with Debbie D

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Champion Jack Dupree month: Happy Mardi Gras!

While Champion Jack Dupree was growing up in New Orleans, he was Spyboy for the Yellow Pocahontas tribe of Mardi Gras Indians.  This was in the 20s and early 30s, prior to his exodous from Nola to start his boxing career.

He talks about his experiences in the song "Yellow Pocahontas", originally from the pretty great When You Get the Feeling You Was Feeling LP.

According to the Elsewhere interview I've been quoting throughout the month, his time with the Yellow Pocahontas tribe affected him deeply.

"That's my mother's tribe. [Remember, Jack's parents were killed in a fire when he was one.] She was an American Indian and father was from Africa and I can't forget that. 

"In New Orleans there's Creole, Cherokee, Mohawk and the Yellow Pocahontas, which is the darkest race of Indians.  Each tribe has its own traditions and some of those Indians play good jazz or blues.

"Most of the musicians you get from New Orleans are the Black Indians."

Here's a later version of "Yellow Pocahontas", recorded after Jack returned to New Orleans, featuring famed Mardi Gras Indian/Wild Magnolia Bo Dallis.

I can't get the embed to work on that version, but you can check it out on youtube here.

Happy Mardi Gras, everyone! Stay pretty and don't bow down.