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May 20, 2024

Betty and Dupree

By Frederick Foote

Betty & Dupree

(Based on the folk song of the same name. *)

You heard the story, know the song, but most folk got it wrong. I'm gonna give you the four-one-one on Betty and Dupree.

Stout Black Betty tell Too Thin to Win Dupree, "Oh, a sparkling thing would decorate my finger just fine."

"Betty, you talkin' out your mind. Dip your finger in this red wine, suck up this fat white line and be mine."

Betty lick the wine from her finger and cocaine from her lip and say, "Dupree, baby, come with me and com with me all night long."

Betty teach Dupree the Kuma Sutra and then some.

Dupree say, "Damn woman, you made me bust my nuts from dusk to dawn. Ain't never been no woman that can hold a candle to you."

Betty smile, hands on her hips, "Dupree, you ever see a diamond sparkle in the candlelight? Delights the eye soothes the soul."

Dupree say, "You done gave me the rock and you done gave me the roll. I do anything to satisfy your soul and keep keepin' on in your sweet love hole."

Dupree whistle and grin while he stroll downtown with a razor in his shoe, his forty-five tucked in his belt, his sawed-off shotgun under his coat.

Goes to the jewelry man and say, "Show me a diamond that's so fine it blind a woman to my nappy hair, short temper, cross-eyes, and bad breath."

The jewelry man look Dupree up and down and say, "I do you better than that. Look here, look here. This here the gem of gems. It will make her think you dance like James Brown, sound as sweet as Aaron Neville and Sam Cook, fight like Mohammed Ali, and Mike Tyson and look like Denzel and Belafonte and fuck like the cock of the walk, with an eighteen inch Johnson."

Dupree look and look again at the stone flashin,' winkin,' and blinkin,' at him. "Jesus Christ. Shoes and rice. Roll the dice. I got to have it. Got to have it. How much jewelry, man?"

The jewelry man motions Dupree closer and closer still and whisper in Dupree's ear.

Dupree shout, "What the fuck? That's a king's ransom, man! Bill Gates ain't got that kind of green. Why you fuckin' with me like that?"

Jewelry man smile and point at the gem of gems. "This is aspirational. The diamond that you work your whole life for. Die for. We gonna start you with a Ford of diamonds and work your way up to the Bugatti. That way, you'll appreciate it so much more."

"Fuck, more. I'll take the Bugatti off your hands this very instance."

As quick as his flashin' ornaments the jewelry man reach under the counter for his forty-four, but Dupree done shot him four times with his forty-five before the dying man can touch his gat.

Dupree see the blood, hear the death rattle, smell the gun smoke, and it don't slow his reach for the gem of gems. He fly straight away to Betty diamond in his hand.

"Betty, sweet black Betty, light the candle, start the night. I got your heart's delight."

Betty, blinded by tears, and racked by fears as she see the diamond in Dupree's hand.

"Dupree! Dupree, you damn fool what have you gone and done. You here with a hot diamond and a still smokin' gun."

Dupree kiss Betty hard, hold her tight, his fingers deep in her pussy, whisper in her ear, "I got to leave. I got to go. I gave you my love. I give you my life."

Dupree don't get across the county line.

The sheriff shackle and bind Dupree head to toe.

In jail, with no bail, and full of woe, Betty bring Dupree his mail.

Betty cry and moan, "Dupree, Dupree a tiny stone, a wee sparkle, a shiny speck would have suited me to a tee."

Dupree hold her hand and say, "The look in your eyes when you saw that stone is my lifetime prize. Don't cry for me, but don't forget me too soon."

Dupree tell the judge. "I'm a first-time offender, your honor."

The judge tell Dupree, "Yes, and you won't be a second-time offender. I guarantee you that."

On the gallows, Dupree tell the hangman, "I don't want no hood. I want to see that old sun sparkling like the gem of gems."

The hangman say, "Where you goin,' it be dark forever. Get used to it."

Hooded and bound Dupree twist his life away with the diamond shine in Betty's eyes on his mind.

In ashes, sackcloth, and black, barefoot Betty follows the hack to the burying ground.

She don't shed a tear or sing a note. But in the handful of dirt, she tossed on Dupree's box is the gem of gems.

Betty says a silent prayer as she leaves there, "Good-bye, good-bye, Dupree. So long, so long. I got you on my mind as long as diamonds last and the sun shines."

And that is the good-as-gold, gospel, word for word true story of Betty and Dupree.

* Brownie McGhee, Betty and Dupree

Josh White, Jr., Betty & Dupree (2014 Vancouver folk festival)

Article © Frederick Foote. All rights reserved.
Published on 2019-11-18
Image(s) are public domain.
1 Reader Comments
10:53:12 AM
Like a blues song... a story from a blues song... I heard Sonny and Terry live a couple of times. I like the roll and the poetic rhythm of the story.
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