Let’s Explore The Blues – Roosevelt Sykes


Forty Four Blues - Roosevelt Sykes, Blue light...

Forty Four Blues - Roosevelt Sykes, Blue lights bare Christmas tree Seattle Washington USA 1453 (Photo credit: Wonderlane)

Roosevelt Sykes, The Honeydripper, was born in Arkansas in 1906.  He began playing serious piano at age 15, ending up in St.Louis where he played with  Jimmy Oden. He spent the time prior to St Louis playing up and down the Mississippi , playing anywhere that would let him.  In 1929, he was discovered by Okeh records, which sent him to New York City to record.  It was here he recorded his most significant song “44 Blues”.  This is a version done by Philip Lafontaine,  Perfect in every way possible.

44 Blues

His career moved quickly from this point.  He began recording for multiple labels under different names ( ‘Easy Papa Johnson’, ‘Dobby Bragg’ and ‘Willie Kelly’) .  In 1934, he and Jimmy Oden moved to Chicago,  He continued with various labels, eventually recording with the Honeydrippers.  The song below is his classic “Night Time is the Right Time”

Night Time is the Right Time

This tune has been covered by many artists, like Ray Charles, The Sonics and the Rolling Stones.  This version though, is my favourite, done by CCR.

His legacy is considerable.  Aside from the songs noted above, he is also responsible for other classics.  Here is one by the late great Etta James.

Driving Wheel  Etta James

As a last note, here are two more by the man himself.  The first is unusual in the he is playing guitar, when he is known as piano guy.  The second is Roosevelt at home on his piano

Guitar Blues

Tall Heavy Mama

He recorded well into the 1960’s after moving to New Orléans in the 50’s.  He died in 1983.

About John

I enjoy travel, sports, music and anything else that jumps up at me for the moment, which is why I blog. There will be lots of music and travel posts and a smattering of sports and humour. I enjoy promoting Canada and am unabashedly a proud Canuck.

Posted on February 6, 2012, in Artists, Blues, History, Music and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Timeless, classic jump blues.
    He made the world a better place.

  2. That’s the thing with the Blues. You’ve either got it or you ain’t. There ain’t no fakin’.
    Mr Sykes has got it.

    • So true. Not much room for trickery. Lay down the song and go with the flow. My favourite part of the genre is their ability to go on the fly. No song sounds the same twice and the covers are so different, yet the same.

  3. Such a talented blues musician. “Guitar Blues” is awesome – Did not hear of it prior to today. Thanks John

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