Roosevelt Sykes (1906-1983)
The Original Honeydripper
Roosevelt Sykes (January 31, 1906 in Elmar, Arkansas – July 17, 1983 in New
Orleans, Louisiana) was an American blues musician also known as
"Honeydripper". He was a successful and prolific cigar-chomping
blues piano player who influenced blues piano playing with his rollicking
thundering boogie. Sykes grew up near Helena, Arkansas but at age 15, began
playing piano with a barrelhouse style of blues at various places until
ending up in the St. Louis, Missouri area where he met St. Louis Jimmy Oden.
He started recording in the 1920s, signing with multiple labels and recording
under various names including
"Easy Papa Johnson",
"Dobby Bragg", and
After he and Oden moved to Chicago he found his first period of great fame
when he signed with Decca Records in 1935. In 1943, he signed to Bluebird
Records and recorded with "The Honeydrippers". Sykes, like bluesmen
of his time, travelled around playing to all-male audiences in sawmill,
turpentine and levee camps along the Mississippi River, and gathering a
repertoire of raw, sexually explicit material. In 1929 he was spotted by a
talent scout and sent to New York City to record for Okeh Records. His first
release was '44' Blues which became a blues classic and his trademark.
He settled in Chicago and began to display an increasing urbanity in his
lyric-writing, using an 8-bar blues pop gospel structure instead of the
traditional 12-bar blues. However, despite the growing urbanity of his outlook,
he could not compete in the post-World War II music scene, though he did
continue to record for small labels until he stopped recording in the 1950s .
When he returned to recording in the 1960s it was to label like Bluesville
Records, Storyville Records and Folkways Records, labels that were documenting
the quickly passing blues history. Roosevelt Sykes left Chicago in 1954 for
New Orleans as electric blues took over the Chicago blues clubs. He lived out
his final years in New Orleans until he died on July 17, 1983. Roosevelt
Sykes had a long career spanning the pre-war and postwar eras. His pounding
piano boogies and risqué lyrics characterize his contributions to the blues.
He was responsible for influential blues songs such as 44 Blues,
Driving Wheel, and Night Time Is the Right Time. He was inducted
into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1999.
(quoted from wikipedia.org)
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Visit also these related Sites:
Roosevelt Sykes Tribute Pages
Roosevelt Sykes tribute page at myspace.com.
Biographical Information on Roosevelt Sykes
Roosevelt Sykes biography at wikipedia.org.
Roosevelt Sykes biography and photos at philbrodieband.com.
Roosevelt Sykes biography at blindpigrecords.com.
Roosevelt Sykes biography at aaregistry.com.
Roosevelt Sykes biography at musicianguide.com.
Various Articles on Roosevelt Sykes
Article at blues.co.nz.
Roosevelt Sykes Lyrics
Devil's Island Gin Blues - Roosevelt Sykes lyric at actionext.com.
Driving Wheel - Roosevelt Sykes lyric at geocities.com.
Roosevelt Sykes Audio Files
Roosevelt Sykes - Devil's Island Gin Blues. MP3 file, runtime 03:00.
Roosevelt Sykes - Roosevelt Blues. MP3 file, runtime 02:47.
Roosevelt Sykes Videos
Roosevelt Sykes - Sweet Home Chicago. Runtime 03:38.
Roosevelt Sykes playing Guitar (1972). Runtime 02:14.
Roosevelt Sykes - I Got A Girl (1966). Runtime 05:08.
BLUES PLAYLIST: ROOSEVELT SYKES, PART 1. Runtime 09:54.
BLUES PLAYLIST: ROOSEVELT SYKES, PART 2. Runtime 09:56.
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