FEATURED ARTIST / S
|Bessie Mae Smith (St Louis Bessie)|
Roosevelt Sykes Vol 2 1930 – 1931
Roosevelt Sykes, vocal, piano.
With contributions by;
St Louis Bessie (Bessie Mea Smith), vocal.
Henry Townsend, guitar.
Genres: Country Blues, Blues Piano.
Informative booklet notes by Chris Smith.
Part of the most ambitious series of Roosevelt Sykes reissues ever undertaken, Document's Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 2 (1930-1931) features 24 tracks of prime blues piano, everything Sykes recorded during the year-long period between June of 1930 and June of 1931. Though there aren't as many classic tracks here as on other volumes, there are highlights: a remake of one of his more famous sides, this time called "Kelly's 44 Blues," and a couple of risqué titles ("Nasty but It's Clean," "Big Time Woman").
From Arkansas and St. Louis, Sykes came up barrelhousing in the lumber camps. His career took him to Chicago and New Orleans, with his joyful boogie woogie style evolving accordingly. A crucial rural-to-urban transition figure who stayed active into the '60s, he's unjustly overlooked today. He played with precision, right down to the jazzy fills, even though he sounded abandoned; his timing and melodic sense were impeccable, and he squeezed the most out of a limited voice. Sykes made standards out of "44 Blues" (his rough-hewn debut single), "Driving Wheel," Sweet Home Chicago" and "The Honeydripper" (his 1945 cover of Joe Liggins, not the song of the same name he'd cut in 1936). He was also known for unabashed raunchy like "Dirty Mother for You." And in 1933, he accompanied the unheralded Carl Rafferty on "Mr. Carl's Blues," apparently the first song containing the immortal line, "I do believe I'll dust my broom.