Betty And Dupree
Composer: Traditional

Betty And Dupree was performed by the Grateful Dead in 1966. A tape exists of Pigpen and Jorma Kaukonen performing the song in 1964. Phil Lesh & Friends played Betty And Dupree in January 2015.

A version of one of a group of closely related songs that are variously known as Betty and Dupree, Dupree Blues, Diamond Ring Blues and similar names. The song has also been used as a starting point for other songs; for example Robert Johnson's From Four Until Late uses the melody of Betty and Dupree.

The song is thought to be based on a real event, the robbery of a jewellery store in Atlanta in 1921 during which a policeman was killed. The robber was caught and executed in September 1922.

The Hunter/Garcia song Duprees Diamond Blues is a reworking of this theme.

Grateful Dead

info Rare Cuts and Oddities 1966, 2005


The lyrics used in Jorma and Pigpen version;

Oh, Betty told Dupree,
"I want a diamond ring"
Now Betty told Dupree,
"I want a diamond ring"
Dupree told Betty,
"Lord, I'll get you most anything"

Now he got himself a pistol,
it was a 44
Got himself a pistol,
it was a 44
Now to get that that diamond ring, oh,
He had to rob that jewellery store

Now police caught him,
carried him back to that county jail
Oh yea the police caught him,
carried him back to that county jail
And they said go call your sweetheart,
tell her to come and go your bail

Now Betty came to see him,
his face she could not see
Oh Betty came to see him
but his face she could not see
And she said, "Mr jailer
give him this note for me"

Oh, babe I came to see you
but I could not see your face
Now, babe I came to see you
but I could not see your face
Oh no I love you baby
just can't take your place

Other recordings

This list is not intended to be comprehensive. A more thorough listing, including recordings of songs with title variations, will be added when time allows.

As Betty And Dupree
no info By Request, Cookie and The Cupcakes, 1953
no info Brownie McGhee Blues, Brownie McGhee Blues, 1955
info King of the Stroll, Chuck Willis, 1958
no info Single, Chuck Willis, 1958
info Ballads, Blues & A Spiritual, Dave Van Ronk, 1959
no info Ballad and Folksinger, Vol. 3, Pink Anderson, 1961
no info The Many Moods Of Belafonte, Harry Belafonte, 1963
no info See What Tomorrow Brings, Peter Paul and Mary, 1965
info Gamblers Blues, Dave Van Ronk, 1965
info The Death Defying Judy Henske: The First Concert Album, Judy Henske, 1966
no info Muddy Brass and The Blues, Muddy Waters, 1967
info Black Mountain Blues, Dave Van Ronk, 1968
no info Atlanta Blues Legend, Buddy Moss, 196?
no info Josh White Stories, Vol. 1, Josh White, 196?
no info Sometimes I Believe She Loves Me, Barbara Dane and Lightning Hopkins, 196?
no info Chain Gang Blues, Sonny Terry, 1976
no info Rebel Rockabilly - The Roots of Rock, Volume 5, Various Artists (Billy Lee Riley), 1977
no info Sun Sounds Special, Billy Lee Riley, 1978
no info Cincinnati Stomp, Big Joe Duskin, 197?
no info Carolina Blues, Guitar Slim, 197?
no info Keep a Drivin', Chuck Willis, 1984
no info Red Hot Riley, Billy Lee Riley and the Little Green Men, 1985
no info All Time Greatest Hits Vol. 3, Harry Belafonte, 1989
no info Gambler's Lament, Blind Andy Jenkins, 198?
no info Classic Recordings 1956-1960, Billy Lee Riley, 1990
no info Folkway Years 1945-1959, Brownie McGhee, 1991
info The Folkways Years 1959-1961, Dave Van Ronk, 1991
info Atlantic Rhythm & Blues 1947-1974, Various Artists (Chuck Willis), 1991
no info At The Gate Of Horn, Bob Gibson, 1994
info Stroll On: The Chuck Willis Collection, Chuck Willis, 1994
no info The Older I Get, The Better I Was, Art Thieme, 1998
info Complete Sun Singles, Vol. 5, Various Artists (Billy Adams), 1998
no info The Asch Recordings, Vol. 2 - 1939 to 1945, Various Artists (Brownie McGhee), 19??
info Washington Square Memoirs: The Great Urban Folk Boom, 1950-1970, Various Artists (Bob Gibson and Bob Camp), 2001
info Classic Folk Music from Smithsonian Folkways, Various Artists (Brownie McGhee), 2004
info Classic African American Ballads from Smithsonian Folkways, Various Artists (Josh White), 2006

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