The harelip (sometimes hare lip) label.
When an internet site said it featured lyrics for a song by jazz great Jack Dupree called, “Harelip Blues,” I had my doubts. Doubts about whether he, or anyone else as the site claimed, ever sang such a song. The reason is that many teens, and certainly most adults, know that “harelip” is perceived as a derogatory term for a cleft lip. It’s not that cleft-affected kids and grownups don’t like being associated with cute bunnies and rabbits or don’t know that such animals have splits or slits in the middle of their lips as opposed to the sides. It’s that the better medical and clinical terms like “cleft lip” have been well known and remembered for decades now. That leaves the term “harelip” associated with days distant when people couldn’t get their clefts repaired and were seen as stigmatized by the devil.
Jack Dupree and “Harelip Blues?”
I went to the website where Champion Jack Dupree allegedly sang “Harelip Blues” and listened to the lyrics. My hearing isn’t the best, but darn if I couldn’t hear the word “harelip” anywhere in the song.
Suspicious, I figured the song was an urban legand, just like the many legends and myths that thrive and multiply on the internet. That’s why Snopes serves such a useful function. It’s the Go To site to see if something circulating on the net is true or false. It bills itself as “the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation.”
I used the Snopes search box to see whether “Harelip Blues” was legit or not. Snopes replied: Sorry, no matches were found containing “Song called ‘Harelip Blues.'”
I then sent the following query to Snopes: A primary website and many others say that various singers have sung “Harelip blues.” None of the sites provide the lyrics to the song even though they promise to do so. The lyrics, if they exist, may be offensive to people born with cleft lips and palates, such as myself. Are the claims true or false?
I’ll let you know what Snopes reports. Meanwhile, listen to Jackson Dupree’s song. . . and let me know if I missed something.
Have you heard about a Q&A session on Yahoo titled, “Dating a Harelip Guy?” I will sleuth that out on my next blog.