FEATURED ARTIST / S
DOCD-5120 Roosevelt Sykes Vol. 5 (29th April to 13th 1939)
Features Roosevelt Sykes (The Honeydripper), vocal, piano.
Art McCkay, vocal.
Genre; Blues Piano.
Booklet notes by Chris Smith
Full discographical notes.
Not long turned 30 in 1937, Roosevelt Sykes was by now well established with Decca, recording regularly and composing a string of popular and influential songs: “Night Time Is The Right Time”, for instance, was recorded by numerous artists over the years, from Big Bill Broonzy to Creedence Clearwater Revival, and Sykes himself wrote a second version in 1938 to capitalize on the original’s success. “Mistake in Life” (which also generated a follow up - see DOCD-5121) survived through to the 50s, when it was recorded by artists as diverse as Big Maybelle, Willie Nix and “Pinebluff Pete”. In the same decade, “Monte Carlo Blues” was remembered by Stormy Herman (Colbert) of the Dixie Blues Boys and elements from Sykes’ recordings crop up in sometimes surprising places, as when Little Willie Foster incorporated lines from two songs on this CD into “Crying The Blues”.
Sykes was a master of double entendre and it seems evident that Decca encouraged him to explore this talent, as can be heard on “Bread Pan (Just My Size)”, “Hard Lead Pencil” and “Ice Cream Freezer”, which wasn’t issued at the time, probably because of its implied reference to miscegenation (“Some like vanilla and strawberry, but black walnut is all I crave”).
Ingenious and witty though his double meanings could be, there was more to Sykes than this; occasionally, if seldom very successfully, his admiration for Fats Wailer emerged, as on “Love Lease Blues” and when he wasn’t being the boisterous, self confident man about town, he could come up with startling, bitter commentaries on the pains of love.
Many of his songs were far from tranquil, whether they were outrageously bawdy or sadly reflective. This CD presents a cross-section of both kinds, cut in a little under two years.