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Roosevelt Sykes - biography

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Roosevelt Sykes - biography Also known as: The Blues Man, Dobby Brag, The Honeydripper, Easy Papa Johnson " Roosevelt Sykes is one of the most important urban bluesmen of all time." - Bob Koester, Delmark Album DL - 607 " [In the 40s]he recorded important transitional records that bridged the gay between Southern rural blues and the modern, electric Chicago blues style." - Don Heckman, BMI: The Many Worlds of Music" 1969, p.26 Roosevelt Sykes was born on 31 January 1906, Elmar, Arkansas, USA and died on 17 July 1983, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. His father was a musician and all his brothers (Johny, Willie, Walter) Sykes learned piano (self-taught) at the age of 12 and frequently played the organ in the local church. Ran away from home in order to work. By the early 20s was playing in local barrelhouses. He moved to St. Louis in 1928, worked in Jazzland Club, and his first recordings for OKeh Records and Victor Records were made from 1929-31. During the 30s, Sykes recorded for Decca Records and acted as a talent scout for the label. ...read more.


In 1976 appeared in "The Devil's Music - A History of the Blues", BBC-1-TV, England. As a result of his popularity with new audiences (Europe), much of his pre-1945 work was reissued in the 70s and 80s. Influenced by: "Red Eye" Jessie Bell, "Pork Chop" Lee Green Influence upon: Detroit Jr., Fats Domino, Pinetop Perkins, Smiley Lewis, etc. Instruments: guitar, organ, piano. Songs: "Ice Cream Freezer", "A Woman Is A Demand", "Ace Boogie", "All Days Are Good Days", "Big Time Woman", "Coming Home", "Hangover", etc. "St. James Infirmary" - lyrics Performer: Roosevelt Sykes Composer: Roosevelt Sykes 1. Down about ol' Joe's bardroom, On the corner of the square, Knot drinks were served as usual, And a nice little crowd were there. 2. On my lef' stood Little Joe Mc Kiney, His eyeth were blood-shot'n'n'red He saiz, "I've got a story to tell you", And these were the words he sai'. 3. I just past by Sain James Ifi(r)mary, Saw my baby there, Stretched on a long hwhite table, So sweet, but so cold, so bad. 4. He sai'n "I want sixteen cold-blood horses, Hitch to a rubber-tired hai' Carryin' seven sweet girls to the grave-yard, But'z only six of them comi' ba(d). ...read more.


:47 End of first verse followed by a fill-in :49 The second chorus begins with the same structure as the first one 1:19 Third chorus starts, same structure, the mood of the singing becomes more intense 1:51 The fourth chorus - the same pattern, more and more shouts as the narrator approaches his demise; the last line has a lyrical fill-in 2:23 The fifth chorus - the same pattern, accents on the different words, some are sung more gently, mainly in the latter part of the chorus. 2:50 The sixth chorus follows the already taken pattern even the shouts in the first part of the chorus and the quieting in the latter one line is like in the fifth chorus 3:18 The same pattern, but with more and more intense singing approaching the final verse; like in the fourth chorus, there is a lyrical fill-in 3:48 The final chorus stars; both the piano and the vocals' playing escalates; unlike all other verses, here there are only three lines; the text here is not of words but some melodic sounds (almost the same), repeated in various ways, which makes them sound different (the same tones of the piano, running simultaneously with it) 4:05 The outro of the piece starts, resembling the intro 4:20 End ...read more.

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