The Real Guitar Hero
Chicago Blues Records
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
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
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
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