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Roosevelt Sykes Vol. 3 (1931-1933)

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Album Review

Document's Complete Recorded Works, Vol. 3 (1932-1933) continues its chronological overview of Roosevelt Sykes' early recordings. As on the previous volume, Sykes reworks his "44 Blues," hits a few highlights ("Sail on Black Sue," "Highway 61 Blues"), tries his hand at a double entendre or two, and invites a few guests. (Actually, most of the tracks are features for outside vocalists, including Emerson Houston, Clarence Emerson, "Stump" Johnson, and Carl Rafferty.) Also in common with most Document collections, the lengthy running time, chronological sequencing, and fair audio quality are enough to make it a bit off-putting for most listeners.


Born: January 31, 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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