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Roosevelt Sykes Vol. 2 (1930-1931)

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Album Review

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"). That's enough to make it of interest to completists and serious fans, though the long running time, chronological sequencing, and poor fidelity could make for difficult listening.

Biography

Born: 31 January 1906 in Elmar, AR

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '20s, '30s, '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

Next time someone voices the goofball opinion that blues is simply too depressing to embrace, sit 'em down and expose 'em to a heady dose of Roosevelt Sykes. If he doesn't change their minds, nothing will. There was absolutely nothing downbeat about this roly-poly, effervescent pianist (nicknamed "Honeydripper" for his youthful prowess around the girls), whose lengthy career spanned the pre-war and postwar eras with no interruption whatsoever. Sykes' romping boogies and hilariously risqué lyrics...
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