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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.
Detailed discography.

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"). Continued...

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Roosevelt Sykes Vol 3 1931 - 1933

Roosevelt Sykes vocal, piano

With contributions by;
James “Stump” Johnson, vocal.
Mathew McLure, vocal.
(Artie) Mosby, violin
Eithel Smith, vocal.
Isabel Sykes, vocal.
Clarence Harris, vocal.
Frank Pluitt, vocal.
Carl Rafferty, vocal.
Napoleon Fletcher, vocal.

Genres; Piano Blues, Male Vocal Blues, Female Vocal Blues. “Pre-war Blues”.

Informative Booklet Notes by Chris Smith.
Includes detailed discography.

From this CDs booklet notes:
Roosevelt Sykes' stature as a blues singing pianist of the first order is sometimes undermined by the length of his career and the sheer volume of his recorded output. It's the usual case of familiarity breeding, if not exactly contempt, complacent acceptance.

Listening to the first six volumes of Document's seven volume set of Sykes' pre-war recordings it is easy to recognize the basis of this longevity; quite simply put he was bloody good! His piano style was 'two-handed', virile and variable. He could pound with best of 'em, roll out the forty fours and then supply an accompaniment both delicate and apt enough to enhance (sometimes salvage) any vocal performance. His own vocals lacked the introverted, autobiographical overtones of Carr and his approach to a lyric tended to be much more objective. Nevertheless he had a warm, easily understood voice and knew when to holler and when to reason. It sometimes seems that all the worthwhile blues lyrics that seemed so new in the fifties and sixties, from Jimmy Cotton's "Cotton Crop Blues" to Ray Charles' "Night Time Is The Right Time", had already spent some time in Sykes' mouth, usually competing for space with a huge cigar! Continued...

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Roosevelt Sykes Vol 4 1934 - 1936

Roosevelt Sykes, vocal, piano.

With contributions by;
Johnnie Strauss, vocal.
Arthur McKay, vocal.
Dorothy Baker, vocal.
Kokomo Arnold, slide guitar.

Genres: Blues Piano, Pre-war Blues, Country Blues Bottleneck-slide Guitar.

From this CD’s booklet notes.
The fourth volume in Document's Complete Recorded Works covers Roosevelt Sykes' career from late 1934 to mid-1936, a period during which he introduced his signature tune "Honeydripper," along with Soft and Mellow (Stella Blues),  the bawdy gem Dirty Mother for You, and a few songs with vocalists Johnnie Strauss and Arthur McKay.

In August 1934, the 28 year old Roosevelt Sykes assembled a roster that seems like most of the available blues talent in St. Louis, and took them to Chicago to record for Decca. Including himself, there were no fewer than five piano players in the bunch - Lee Green, Barrelhouse Buck McFarland, Peetie Wheatstraw and Henry Brown. It seems certain that the first two titles cut by the ripsaw voiced female singer Johnnie Strauss were accompanied by Brown, but the complex right hand and unexpected endings identify Sykes on Radio Broadcasting Blues and Old Market Street Blues. After the success of this venture, it's odd that Sykes didn't record for Decca again for 18 months; when he did, however, it was the start of an association that lasted for five years, and marked the end of his label hopping ways. Decca billed him by the nickname Edith Johnson had bestowed seven years earlier - The Honey Dripper. Continued...

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Roosevelt Sykes Vol 5 1937 - 1939
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!

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Roosevelt Sykes Vol 6 1939 - 1941

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Roosevelt Sykes Vol 7 1941 - 1944
This CD begins with the balance of a notably high quality session held in February 1941 (also see DOCD-5121). Sykes' next session marked the end of his association with Decca, which had lasted from 1934 to 1941. It features some vintage piano from Sykes, with a typically elaborate right hand, and swinging drumming, thought to be by Sidney Catlett. All eight titles from Sykes' Columbia debut session were issued, on Okeh, Conqueror and Columbia itself. The only two released titles from his next two sessions, held before commercial recording came to a temporary halt in July 1942, are present along with three unissued sides are from the latter of the two sessions are also presented here. Once recording resumed, Roosevelt Sykes was naturally among the first to find his way back to the studios, making a four title session for Bluebird late in 1944. The quintessentially mid 40s set retains a compelling excitement, due in no small part to the obvious enjoyment of all concerned, but perhaps most of all to Roosevelt Sykes' unmistakable blend of infectious enthusiasm and impressive piano technique. He'd been a recording star for 15 years by this date, but there was still a lot of mileage in him.

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Too Late Too Late Vol 7 1927 - 1955

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Jazz & Blues Piano Vol 2 1924 - 1947

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Roosevelt Sykes Live At Webster College St Louis 1974
DOCD-5688 Roosevelt Sykes Live At Webster College St Louis 1974 Roosevelt Sykes; vocal, piano. Genre; Blues. Sub-Genres; Blues piano, Boogie-Woogie piano, St. Louis blues, Chicago blues. Informative booklet notes by Gillian Atkinson. Detailed discography. Extracts abridged from this CD's booklet notes: Document are pleased to re-issue on CD the original Document album DLP 526, Roosevelt Sykes “Live” at Webster College, St Louis (1st Feb 1974) which was released as a Document vinyl LP, limited edition in 1988. Continued...

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God Don`t Like It - Document Shortcuts Vol 1 Blues Sampler
Maybe you already know something about Document, maybe (to use a music biz term) you are just “scratching the surface”. Either way, here is a clip, a snippet, an appetizer made up from tracks found within the catalogue. You don’t have to be a collector, worrying about matrix numbers or what colour socks such and such an artist was wearing during his 1953 recording of his big hit “I’m Really Happy Blues”, to appreciate the Shortcuts albums. This music was never recorded to be analysed, it was just for people to dig it, savour it, perhaps to hear it’s message, more than likely dance to it.

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