ROOSEVELT SYKES.
1906 - 1983.


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Roosevelt Sykes.Roosevelt Sykes is born on 31 January 1906 near West Helena, Arkansas. The family moved to St. Louis in 1909, but after four years he moves back to Arkansas to live with his grandmother.

In 1918 he begins learning to play the piano and by 1921 he's a regular performer in the barrelhouses of Arkansas and Missouri.

Having hitched up with the pianist Lee Green in 1925, Sykes travels back and forth between New Orleans and St. Louis, living the life of a hobo.

Sykes settles in St. Louis in 1928, where he plays the clubs in the sleazy Deep Morgan area. The following year he make his first recordings, for the OKeh record label in New York.

Sykes becomes one of the first to record for the American arm of the Decca record label.

In 1936 he uses the nickname 'The Honey Dripper' on his recordings. It will stick with him for the rest of his life. He plays several dates at venues across the USA with St. Louis Jimmy Oden in 1939, and in 1941 he returns to the OKeh label.

After recording regularly for the Bluebird and Victor labels throughout the 1940's, but with few resultant sales, Sykes becomes resident pianist at the Opera House club New Orleans in 1954.

He records two albums' worth of material for the Bluesville record label in 1960, and he is part of the American Folk Blues Festival that tours Europe in 1965 and a year later he records the solo set Gold Mine in Denmark.

In 1970 he records The Honeydripper's Duke's Mixture in Paris.

Roosevelt Sykes dies in New Orleans on 11 July 1983.


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