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Roosevelt Sykes

Also known as  The Honeydripper
Labels  Various
Genres  Blues, Boogie-woogie
Years active  1920s–1983
Record label  Gennett Records
Instruments  Piano
Role  Musician
Occupation(s)  Pianist, singer
Name  Roosevelt Sykes

Roosevelt Sykes Roosevelt Sykes The Music39s Over

Born  January 31, 1906 Elmar, Arkansas, United States (1906-01-31)
Died  July 17, 1983, New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
Albums  The Original Honeydripper, Double Barreled Boogie
Similar People  Memphis Slim, Little Brother Montgomery, Lonnie Johnson, Homesick James, Brownie McGhee

Driving wheel blues roosevelt sykes the honey dripper decca

Roosevelt Sykes (January 31, 1906 – July 17, 1983) was an American blues musician, also known as "The Honeydripper".


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Roosevelt Sykes Roosevelt Sykes Biography Albums amp Streaming Radio

Sykes was born in Elmar, Arkansas, and grew up near Helena. At age 15, went on the road playing piano in a barrelhouse style of blues. Like many bluesmen of his time, he travelled around playing to all-male audiences in sawmill, turpentine and levee camps along the Mississippi River, gathering a repertoire of raw, sexually explicit material. His wanderings eventually brought him to St. Louis, Missouri, where he met St. Louis Jimmy Oden, the writer of the blues standard "Goin' Down Slow".

Roosevelt Sykes Roosevelt Sykes The Honeydrippers Ball REMASTERED

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 standard and his signature song. He soon began recording for different labels under various names, including Easy Papa Johnson, Dobby Bragg, and Willie Kelly (for Victor Records from 1930 to 1933). During this period he befriended another blues musician, the singer Charlie "Specks" McFadden, and accompanied him on half of the McFadden's recordings. After he and Oden moved to Chicago, Sykes found his first period of fame when he signed a contract with Decca Records in 1934. In 1943, he signed with Bluebird Records and recorded with the Honeydrippers. Sykes and Oden continued their musical friendship into the 1960s.

Roosevelt Sykes Roosevelt Sykes Sweet Old Chicago YouTube

In Chicago, Sykes began to display an increasing urbanity in his songwriting, using an eight-bar blues pop gospel structure instead of the traditional twelve-bar blues. Despite the growing urbanity of his style, he gradually became less competitive in the post–World War II music scene. After his contract with RCA Victor expired, he recorded for smaller labels, such as United, until his opportunities ran out in the mid-1950s.

Roosevelt Sykes Roosevelt Sykes Gulfport Boogie YouTube

Sykes left Chicago in 1954 for New Orleans as electric blues was taking over the Chicago blues clubs. When he returned to recording in the 1960s, it was for labels such as Delmark, Bluesville, Storyville and Folkways, which were documenting the quickly passing blues history. He lived out his final years in New Orleans, where he died from a heart attack on July 17, 1983.


Roosevelt Sykes Roosevelt Sykes

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".

Roosevelt Sykes Hard Drivin Blues Roosevelt Sykes Songs Reviews Credits

He was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1999 and the Gennett Records Walk of Fame in 2011.

Selected discography

  • The Return of Roosevelt Sykes (Bluesville, 1960)
  • The Honeydripper (Bluesville, 1961)
  • Piano Blues (Folkways, 1966)
  • Blues Roots/Chicago: The 1930s (Folkways, 1967)
  • The Country Blues Piano Ace 1929–1932 (Yazoo, 1972)
  • Feel Like Blowing My Horn (Delmark, 1973)
  • Blues by Roosevelt "The Honeydripper" Sykes (Smithsonian Folkways, 1995)
  • References

    Roosevelt Sykes Wikipedia

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