Blues Bytes


January 2023

David "Chainsaw" Dupont
The Real Guitar Hero
Chicago Blues Records

Clarence Dupont

I had only heard of David “Chainsaw” Dupont prior to his death on September 9, 2022, from kidney disease. I heard good things from his peers on Facebook after his passing but wondered why I’d never heard any of his recordings, or even knew about them.

Dupont was born in 1956 in the small community of Swan Lake, Mississippi, located about halfway between Greenwood and Clarksdale. He was orphaned at 14 and moved to Chicago with a cousin, where he started playing guitar. His guitar playing owed a lot to both Buddy Guy and Albert King, but he added his own personal touches that made him stand out.

Over the years, Dupont released several CDs, three of which comprised a trilogy of sorts representing cities associated with the blues (New Orleans, Memphis, and Chicago). While those albums were critically acclaimed, Dupont was unable to tour behind them due to his health issues. He also released a pair of live albums, one of which I was able to track down recently,

The Real Guitar Hero (Chicago Blues Records) was recorded at Hothouse in Chicago back in January of 2007. The 11-track set included nine songs written by Dupont, four co-written with his manager Steve Pasek, and two excellent covers.

Like many musicians his age, Dupont grew up listening to music other than blues --- Motown, Sly Stone, James Brown, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughan, etc --- and that music made up a portion of his own musical palette.

The opening track, a tasty version of James Brown’s “Cold Sweat,” a jam which allows the guitarist to channel a little bit of Brown, a little bit of Albert King, and a taste of Jimi Hendrix as he takes time to introduce his band members (Patrick “Sonny” Dugan – guitar/keys, Chris “Lil Papa” Robertson – drums, John “Jungle Dog” Baker – drums, Brennan Connors – sax, Julian Harris – trumpet).

“Shotgun House” is a deep and heavy funky blues that gives Dupont and the rhythm section an opportunity to stretch out, and “Saccharine” is an interesting and unique look at the frustrations involved in relationships. “N.O.” is a funky, jazz-flavored tribute to the Crescent City. “Blues O Matic” is a cool tune, mixing rock-edged guitar work, B3, and punchy horns.

Even better is a reworking of the Motown classic, “I’ll Be Doggone.” Dupont transforms this one from the smooth Marvin Gaye original into a gritty Albert King-styled blues, with the band extending it to a 12-plus minute funk-infused jam (“…..make it so funky you can smell it,” he implores the band).

“Heaven Eyes” is a smoldering slow blues, with Dupont doing a fine job at slowly building the intensity of the track with his fretwork. “Sweet As A Queen Bee’s Honeycomb” is an energetic blues rocker in the SRV mode, and both “King Of My Heart” and “Five Foot Two (Mambo)” sizzle as well. The set closes with a dynamite instrumental jam, “Funky Foot,” a truly collaborative effort as all the band members get a little time in the spotlight.

After hearing The Real Guitar Hero, I’m saddened not only that I didn’t get to hear David “Chainsaw” Dupont while he was still active, but also that he wasn’t able to fully capitalize on his talents. He was a monster guitarist, a fine songwriter, and singer. He has a real rapport with his audience on this set, and his band, The Blues Warriors, were a well-oiled machine themselves.

If you’re a fan of modern blues, and you must be if you’re reading this, you owe it to yourself to check out this artist. I know I plan to dig deeper myself.

--- Graham Clarke



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