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BLUES & GOSPEL
Sunnyland Slim -> Roosevelt Sykes

SUNNYLAND SLIM
SUPER CHIKAN
THE SWAN SILVERTONES
THE SWANEE QUINTET
SISTER SHIRLEY SYDNOR
ROOSEVELT SYKES

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM WITH BIG TIME SARAH Arcola 1006 Long Tall Daddy ● CD $15.98
17 tracks, 52 minutes, highly recommended
Recorded nearly thirty years ago (May of 1976) in Seattle, Washington, blues piano's elder statesman (who was 70 at the time) laid down a terrific set of solo blues including many highlights. Earlier gems like Going Back To Memphis and The Devil Is A Busy Man get solid readings and he tears through Dust My Broom/ Prison Bound Blues/ The Dirty Dozens/ Roll And Tumble Blues with gusto. Big Time Sarah, Slim's 23-year old girlfriend at the time, appears on Long Tall Daddy and Got To See My Baby, and between songs, Sunnyland discusses some of the songs and their origins. A truly worthwhile disc with lengthy and detailed liner notes by Bill Berry. (CR)

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM Classics 5171 The Chronological Sunnyland Slim, 1952-1955 ● CD $14.98
20 tracks, 56 mins, highly recommended
Complementing Classics 5013 and 5035 this is another fabulous collection of sides by this superb and important Chicago blues singer and piano player. These tracks were recorded for five different labels and includes sides not originally issued as well as a never before issued Vee-Jay session February 1954 with Snooky Pryor/ hca and Eddie Taylor or Floyd Jones/ guitar. Pryor, Taylor and Jones appear on several other sessions and other backup performers include Ernest Cotton/ts, Big Crawford/ bass, J.T. Brown/ ts, J.B. Lenoir/ gtr, Robert Jr. Lockwood/ gtr and others. Two tracks - the surrealistic Livin' In The White House and Please Don't feature the magnificent vocals of Johnny Shines. Wonderful and indispensable Chicago blues. (FS)
SUNNYLAND SLIM: Bassology/ Bassology/ Be Mine Alone/ Be My Baby/ City Of New Orleans/ Devil Is A Busy Man/ Four Day Bounce/ Going Back To Memphis/ I Done You Wrong/ Living In The White House/ Please Don't/ Sad And Lonesome/ Shake It Baby/ Shake It Baby/ That Woman (you Have Heard Of A Woman)/ Trouble Of My Own/ When I Was Young/ Woman Trouble/ Worried About My Baby/ Worried About My Baby

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM Delmark 655 House Rent Party ● CD $11.98
This fine Chicago blues label has begun reissuing records from the legendary Apollo label, and House Rent Party is a definite winner. On this session, recorded one summer night in 1949 with Willie Mabon, Sam Casimir, Andrew Harris and St. Louis Jimmy, Slim's achievements are inescapable, especially on the nine of these 15 cuts that are previously unissued. Slim's keyboard playing swings; his voice pounces on each song and then enjoys a friendly wrestle. Inside jokes are prevalent (he sticks Yankee Doodle into Boogie Man), but this is a record of serious historical importance to blues fans. The guitarist on I'm In Love/ That's All Right is Jimmy Rogers at the beginning of his career, soon to be a crucial ingredient in Muddy Waters' brilliant bands. Recommended, with top-notch sound. JG)
SUNNYLAND SLIM: Bad Times (alternate)/ Bad Times (cost Of Living)/ Boogie Man/ Brown Skin Woman/ Chicago Woman/ Hard Time (when Mother's Gone)/ I'm In Love/ I'm Just A Lonesome Man/ I'm Just A Lonesome Man (alternate)/ It Keeps Rainin'/ Nervous Breakdown/ Old Age Has Got Me/ Sad Old Sunday (alternate)/ Sad Old Sunday (mother's Day)/ That's All Right

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM Delmark 735 Smile On My face ● CD $11.98
13 tracks (including one alternate take) recorded for Ralph Bass in 1977 with Lacy Gibson, Lee Jackson. Willie Black and Fred Below.

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM Earwig 4915 Be Careful How You Vote ● CD $15.98
Fine collection of sides by this veteran singer and piano player originally recorded in late 70s/ early 80s and issued on Slim's own Airway label. In addition to Slim's own fine singing and piano playing he is joined by musicians like Hubert Sumlin, Robert Stroger, Eddie Taylor, Sam Buchardt, Magic Slim and others. (FS)

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM Earwig 4942 She Got A Thing Goin' On ● CD $15.98
Reissue of sides originally produced and released by Slim himself in the 80s on his own Airway label. Sidemen includes Eddie Taylor, Byther Smith, Hubert Sumlin & Bob Stroger.

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM BLUES BAND Evidence 26053 Decoration Day ● CD $12.98
15 tracks, 70 mins, very good
CD reissue of L+R 42.015 with 6 bonus tracks. The original 9 tunes are all Sunnyland originals done with an all-star band including Hubert Sumlin (g), Carey Bell (harp) & Odie Payne (d) Includes the title track + the Sun is Going Down/ Patience Like Jobe, all recorded in 1980. There's a couple bonus tracks of the band joined by Eddie Taylor playing in Germany, & 3 with a quartet with Lurie Bell on guitar (One Room Country Shack/ Tin Pan Alley). (GM)

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM Evidence 26066 Sunnyland Train ● CD $12.98
17 tracks, 58 min., highly recommended
What a wonderful idea it was to record Sunnyland Slim accompanying himself on piano. He was 75 years old, at the height of his powers, and with 35 years of recording behind him, he chose to record his favorities by pianist Curtis Jones (Tin Pan Alley), Roosevelt Sykes (Unlucky One), Pinetop Smith (Pinetop's Boogie Woogie) and Walter Davis (Sad And Lonesome). The recording quality is excellent, and those of us who have his other solo piano sets on Black & Blue, Sonet, Storyville Records know what to expect : great piano blues by one of the fathers of postwar Chicago blues. This is a reissue of his 1983 Red Beans album plus 5 unissued tracks. (EL)

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM BLUES BAND Evidence 26067 Chicago Jump ● CD $12.98
1985 recordings with Steve Freund/gtr, Sam Burckhardt/ tenor sax, Bob Stroger/ bass, Robert Covington/ dms.

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM & HIS PALS JSP JSPCD 7783 The Classic Sides, 1947-1953 ● CD $28.98
Four CD set with 104 tracks featuring classic Chicago blues by the great singer & piano player Sunnyland Slim and some of the many people he worked with. There are 54 tracks under Slim's own name which is most, but not all, of his recordings made between 1947 and 1955 and range from his first sides as a Doctor Clayton imitator to urban blues with small combos with horns to down home sides with just harmonica and guitar. He is accompanied by musicians like Blind John Davis, Lonnie Johnson, Leroy Foster, Alex Atkins, Robert Lockwood (who provides some truly dazzling guitar accompaniments), Snooky Pryor, Big Crawford, J.T. Brown, Eddie Taylor, Louis Myers and others. The rest of the set features Slim in an accompanying role in sessions by Floyd Jones, Little Walter, The Fat man, Johnny Shines, Robert Lockwood, Leroy Foster, J.B. lenoir, Jimmy Rogers and St. Louis Jimmy. The cuts by Slim are on the three Classics CDs of him (5013, 5035, 5171) which includes his Aristocrat sides (not included here) and most of the other tracks have been reissued elsewhere though I believe the 10 St. Louis Jimmy tracks are new to CD.
THE FAT MAN: Glad I Don't Worry No More/ You've Got To Stop This Mess/ LEROY FOSTER: Blues Is Killin' Me/ Late Hours At Midnight/ Louella/ Pet Rabbit/ FLOYD JONES: Ain't Times Hard/ Any Old Lonesome Day/ Big World/ Dark Road/ Floyd's Blues/ Schooldays On My Mind/ J.B. LENORE: How Can I Leave/ How Much More/ I Have Married/ I Want My Baby/ I'll Die Tryin'/ Let's Roll/ Louise/ People Are Meddlin' In Our Affairs/ Slow Down Woman/ The Mojo/ The Mountain/ Wanna Play A Little While/ ROBERT LOCKWOOD: Dust My Broom/ Dust My Broom/ Glory For Man/ I'm Gonna Dig Myself A Hole/ My Daily Wish/ Pearly B/ JIMMY ROGERS: I'm In Love/ Ludella/ That's All Right/ JOHNNY SHINES: Living In The White House/ Please Don't/ ST. LOUIS JIMMY: Chicago Woman Blues/ Hard Work Boogie/ I Sit Up All Night/ I'm Not Satisfied/ Mother's Day/ Nervous Breakdown/ Old Age Has Got Me/ Shame On You Baby/ State Street Blues/ Trying To Change My Ways/ Your Evil Ways/ SUNNYLAND SLIM: (Low Down) Sunnyland Train/ 5 Foot 4 Gal/ Across The Hall Blues/ Ain't Nothing But A Child/ Back To Korea Blues/ Bad Times (Cost Of Living)/ Bassology/ Bassology/ Be Mine Alone/ Be My Baby/ Blue Baby/ Broke And Hungry/ Brown Skin Woman/ Brown Skin Woman/ Brown Skinned Woman/ City Of New Orleans/ Devil Is A Busy Man/ Down Home Child/ Every Time I Get To Drinking/ Farewell Little Girl/ Four Day Bounce/ Gin Drinkin' Baby/ Hard Time (When Mother's Gone)/ Hard Times/ Hit The Road Again/ I Done You Wrong/ I Done You Wrong/ I Want My Baby/ Illinois Central/ It's All Over Now/ I'm Just A Lonesome Man/ I've Done You Wrong/ Jivin' Boogie/ Keep Your Hands Out Of My Money/ Leaving Your Town (No Name Blues)/ Mary Lee/ Mud Kicking Woman/ My Heavy Load/ Nappy Head Woman/ No Whiskey Blues/ Orphan Boy Blues/ Roll, Tumble And Slip (I Cried)/ Sad And Lonesome/ School Days/ Shake It Baby/ Shake It Baby/ Sunnyland Special/ Sweet Lucy Blues/ That Woman/ Train Time (4 O'Clock Blues)/ Troubles Of My Own/ Walking With The Blues/ When I Was Young/ When I Was Young (Shake It Baby)/ Woman Trouble (Overnite)/ Worried About My Baby/ Worried About My Baby

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM Sonet 986 925-7 The Sonet Blues Story ● CD $13.98
10 tracks, 39 tracks, recommended
Sunnyland Slim was one of those legends who was almost incapable of making a bad record with his energetic vocals and soulful piano work and this album is no exception. Slim was equally comfortable with a band or solo and this set finds him solo on a selection of fine songs - nothing too original - but all performed in Slim's usual forthright manner. Slim was a bluesman, pure and simple, with no artifice and that's about all you really need to know. One criticism about this album is the over use of echo on his voice - without it I would rate it highly recommended. (FS)

 
SUNNYLAND SLIM Southland SCD 37 The Blues Wailed In Berkeley ● CD $13.98
12 tracks, 49 mins, recommended
The great Chicago blues piano player recorded at the home of Ray Skjelbred in Berkeley, California in 1976. Slim is in fine form on these previously unissued solo cuts doing some of his trademark songs like The Devil Is A Busy Man/ She Got A Thing Going Goin' On and Every Time I get To Drinking along with songs made famous by Sonny Boy Williamson, Mercy Dee and others and a couple of splendid instrumentals. No surprises just top notch singing and playing from one of the true giants. (FS)

 
SUPER CHIKAN Rooster Blues 2634 Blues Come Home To Roost ● CD $15.98 $10.98
14 tracks, recommended
Guess it's appropriate that the man who can make his guitar cluck like a chicken is on Rooster Blues! James Johnson also plays bass, harp, piano & drives a truck, bringing you REAL blues like "My house is 80 years old & the front porch is falling down" & "I've got a '71 Chevy & the dealer wants to take it away", from Down In The Delta. All tunes are Chikan originals, many of them fine shuffles, but he does rock'n'roll on one cut, in Rockin' (That 'Caine) & Roll in' (Mary Jane) - "you better chill out with your psychopathic lies" & "better pack your sack/ I believe your mama wants you back/ I ain't got no money for no damned crack." Also Camel Toe, Super Chikan Strut, Well Gone Dry, Mr. Love Juice. The CD booklet tells his story in cartoon form (GM)

 
SUPER CHIKAN Rooster Blues 2645 Shoot That Thang ● CD $15.98 $11.98
11 tracks, recommended
Super Chikan has got to be one of my faves of the current bluesmen. Recorded in that blues capital, Salinas, Kansas(!) by Jim O'Neal of Living Blues, this set has Chikan in a trio setting with just bass & drums (The Fighting Cocks) with some nice funky blues with his trademark Chikan guitar solos. Titles include Mennonite Blues/ Staingy Wid It, the "Born Under A Bad Sign" influenced Don't Mess With The Blues/ Bus-Train-Rain and others. As an added bonus, the liner notes are a comic strip bio of Chikan by American Splendor duo Harvey Pekar & Gary Dumm (GM)

 
THE SWAN SILVERTONES Charly SNAPCD 188 Move Up ● CD $13.98
28 tracks, 78 mins, essential
A beautiful collection of tracks recorded for Vee-Jay by this superb group, covering the period from their first Vee-Jay session in 1956 through their last in 1964. Their Vee-Jay recordings features leads by the magnificent high ethereal tenor (and sometimes falsetto) Claude Jeter or the powerful baritone of Paul Owens, Dewey Young or Louis Johnson. Jeter and his sweet falsetto have had more than a little influence on countless soul acts, Al Green and The Temptations among them. It is difficult to overstate his importance to both soul and gospel. The material ranged from the classic harmony quartet style of Sinner Man to the more intense style that influenced soul music. This set features one magnificent performance after another ending with their utterly sublime rendition of The Lord's Prayer - if this doesn't send a chill down your spine you might want to see a chriropracter! (FS)
THE SWAN SILVERTONES: A Lady Called Mother/ At The Cross/ Bible Days/ Breathe On Me/ Come To Jesus/ Going On With Jesus/ Great Day In December/ He Saved My Soul/ I Thank You Lord/ I'll Be Satisfied/ Jesus Is Alright With Me/ Jesus Remembers/ Leave Your Burden There/ Love Lifted Me/ Move Somewhere/ Move Up/ Nobody But You/ Oh Mary, Don't You Weep/ Savior Pass Me Not, Parts 1 & 2/ Singin' In My Soul/ Sinking Sand/ Sinner Man/ The Lord Is Coming/ The Lords Prayer/ Trouble In My Way/ When Jesus Comes/ Why I Love Him So/ Without A Mother

 
THE SWAN SILVERTONES Collectables 6111 The Very Best Of ● CD $11.98
11 tracks
THE SWAN SILVERTONES: Do You Believe/ Family Prayer/ Go on Ahead/ I Dreamed I Was in Heaven/ I Gave My Heart to The Lord/ I Promised The Lord/ Marching on in/ Miracle/ Sinner Man/ The World/ Walk With Jesus/ You Ought to Preach The Holy Ghost

 
THE SWAN SILVERTONES Frank Music 5521 Great Camp Meeting ● CD $11.98 $7.98
Reissue of 1968 Hob album - though lacking the magic of their earlier sides for King, Specialty and Vee-Jay this is still a fine selection of hard gospel. As far as I can tell Claude Jeter is not on most of these tracks in spite of what the notes say but the leads by tenor Carl Davis and baritones Louis Johnson and Paul Owens is fine. Includes No Secret/ Oh, When I get Home/ It's Good To Be Saved/ This Little Light Of Mine/ Little Wooden Church, etc.

 
THE SWAN SILVERTONES Specialty 7202 Love Lifted Me/ My Rock ● CD $15.98
The Swan Silvertones, a.k.a. Four Harmony Kings of Coalwood, West Virginia, are today (alongside a handful of other legendary quartets) considered "gospel royalty". Formed in 1938 by Rev. Claude Jeter, the group first recorded as The Swans (Bakery) Silvertone Singers in 1946 for Syd Nathan's Queen Records. In 1952 they signed a 4-year contract with Art Rupe's Specialty label and put out a feast of gospel delights usually fronted by Jeter's soaring tenor and swing-lead hard-singing tenor voice of Solomon Womack. Womack often competed for "hardest chops" with the group's other fire-breathing veteran lead - Rev. Robert Crenshaw, who was later replaced by the great Dewey Young who went on to sing in The Sensational Nightingales and Flying 'Clouds. Hard gospel singing and soaring falsetto acrobatics. First reissued as Specialty albums 2122 and 2148, with improved sound here. Indispensible collection. OLN
THE SWAN SILVERTONES: After Awhile/ Glory To His Name/ He Won't Deny Me/ Heavenly Light Shine On Me/ How I Got Over/ I Cried/ I'm A-Rollin'/ I'm Coming Home/ Jesus Changed This Heart Of Mine/ Jesus Is A Friend/ Keep My Heart/ Let's Go/ Love Lifted Me/ Man In Jerusalem/ Milky White Way/ Motherless Child/ My Rock/ Oh, How I Love Jesus/ Prayer In My Mouth/ Since Jesus Came Into My Heart/ The Day Will Surely Come/ This Little Light Of Mine/ Trouble In My Way/ What Do You Know About Jesus?

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Blues Documents BDCD 6048 Complete Chronological Recordings Vol. 8 - 1945-47 ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 73 mins, highly recommended
Continuing on from Document 5122 this disc shows that Roosevelt was just as adept as a rhythm & blues performer in the mid 40s as he was a rural blues in the 20s. His vocals were more agressive and his piano playing was less subtle but his lyrical and instrumental inventiveness were as strong as ever. Most of the material is Sykes originals though he does a nice cover of Cecil Gant's I Wonder and Joe Liggins' Honeydripper making a point that Sykes himself was the original user of that name. He was accompanied on these sidemen by top Chicago musicians like J.T. Brown, Willie Lacey, Johnny Walker, Johnny Morton, "Jump" Jackson and others. Delightful music from beginning to end with only the occasional worn 78 to detract from the joy. (FS)
ROOSEVELT SYKES: Anytime Is The Right Time/ BVD Blues/ Bobby Sox Blues/ Bop De Bip/ Date Bait/ Don't Push Me Around /Little Sam/ Flames Of Jive/ Her Little Machine/ High Price Blues/ I Wonder/ I'm Her Honeydripper/ Kilroy's In Town/ Living In A Different World/ Mama, Mama/ Peeping Tom/ Sneakin' And Dodgin'/ Sunny Road/ Tender Hearted Woman/ That's My Gal/ The Honeydripper/ This Tavern Boogie/ Tonight/ Walkin' And Drinkin'

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Blues Documents BDCD 6049 Complete Chronological Recordings Vol. 9 - 1947-51 ● CD $15.98
24 tracks, 68 mins, highly recommended
Another fine collection of sides from this long lived and prolific performer in a variety of settings from piano and drums to a small band with saxes and trumpet. As always Sykes's vocals are sly and insinuating and his lyrics are imaginative and often witty. His piano playing is as solid as ever though not always as much to the fore as in earlier days. Accompanying musicians includes Oett "Sax" Malard, Bill Casimir, Ransom Knowling, Willie Lacey, "Jump" Jackson, J.T. Brown and others. In addition to the recordings under his own name this disc also features him accompanying the excellent Grace and John Brim on their recordings made for the obscure Random label in 1951. Sound is generally excellent and there are informative notes by the ever reliable Chris Smith. (FS)
GRACE BRIM: Going Down The Line/ Leaving Daddy Blues/ JOHN BRIM: Dark Clouds/ Lonesome Man Blues/ ROOSEVELT SYKES: Blues 'n' Boogie/ Boogie Honky Tonk/ Booze Blues/ Candy Man Blues/ Drivin' Wheel/ Green Onion Top/ He's Just A Gravy Train/ High As A Georgia Pine/ I Know How You Feel/ Mailbox Blues/ My Baby Is Gone/ Rock It/ Southern Blues/ Stop Her Poppa/ Time Wasted On You/ Until The Cows Come Home/ West Helena Blues/ Why Should I Cry/ Wintertime Blues/ Wonderin' Blues

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Blues Documents BDCD 6050 Complete Chronological Recordings Vol. 10 - 1951-57 ● CD $15.98
25 tracks, 68 min., recommended
Before being rediscovered in 1960 (and recording his very first album for Bluesville Records), singer/ songwriter/ pianist Roosevelt Sykes recorded very little in the 1950s. This CD gathers most of those recordings - 15 for the United Label (recorded in Chicago), 6 for the Imperial Label (recorded in New Orleans) and 2 for the House Of Sound Label (recorded in Memphis). As a bonus, two 1947/48 tracks which he recorded as Joe "Boogie" Evans, that were left off v. 9 (Document 5234), round out the CD. Originally produced by the black Mississippi-born Lewis Conrad Simpkins, the United recordings feature 8 jump blues with saxophonists Robert Henry Crowder and Oett M. Mallard, and 4 sides with violinist Remo "Ray" Biondi. All 15 tracks feature two of Chicago's finest - drummers Armand "Jump" Jackson and Fred Below. The Imperial tracks feature the regular members of Cosimo Matassa's house band (ie., Lee Allen, Frank Fields, Earl Palmer). The unusual House Of Sound single is a remake of his 1945 Date Bait, retitled She's Jail Bait, which was was still politically correct when he re-recorded it in 1960. The flip side, Sputnick (also recorded in 1960 as Satellite Baby), is quite remarkable in that the guitar solo (said to be by Joe Willie Wilkins) is very rockabilly-ish. By the way, Sputnick 2, was a man-made satellite & has the distinction of being launched (Nov 3/1957) on the same day Jerry Lee Lewis' Great Balls Of Fire was released! A coincidence you say! Other highlights include Walkin' This Boogie ('52), Come Back Baby ('53) and You Can't Be Lucky All The Time (with Lee Allen on tenor sax), and Hush Oh Hush (an updated version of his 1st recording 44 Blues done ala Howlin' Wolf style!). (EL)

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Blues Factory 47015 King Of The Barrelhouse ● CD $10.98
21 tracks, 60 mins, recommended
Excellent collection of sides from this brilliant singer and piano player featuring music from two different eras. The first track is the first recording of his theme song The Honey Dripper from 1936 where his vocal and piano are accompanied by the distinctive slide guitar of Kokomo Arnold. The next 16 tracks are from a 1977 session for Blue Labor which was reissued some years ago on Tomato. Sykes is in top form with powerful and expressive vocals and wonderful rolling piano work - several cuts feature guitarists Johnny Shines and Louisiana Red who also contribute a couple of vocals. Includes superb performances of Mistake In Life/ Stop Stoppin' Me/ Some Right, Some Wrong and others. The disc ends with four sides from the late 30s and early 40s with Sykes accompanied by a drummer on witty tracks like Journey From The Germs and Let the Black have His Way and another of his most well known songs 44 Blues. Sound is excellent and there are decent notes which only refer to the 1977 recordings. (FS)

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Delmark 607 Hard Driving Blues ● CD $15.98
with 3 previously unissued tracks. 1962/63 recordings with Homesick James/ bass guitar on some cuts.

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Delmark 616 Gold Mine ● CD $11.98
Originally released under the title In Europe, this album of 1966 Sykes solos features three worthwhile reworkings of songs he recorded at his first outing in 1929 - Boot That Thing/ Henry Ford Blues/ 44 Blues. Those numbers, together with 9 newer originals, form a clear reminder of Sykes' key role in the development of modern blues piano. And to make matters better, Roosevelt is in fine voice as Big Ben/ Springfield Blues/ True Thing/ Sugar Cup/ The Last Laugh/ You Understand/ Whole Lot Of Children and others will testify. 38 minutes of good stuff. (JC)
ROOSEVELT SYKES: 44 Forty-four Blues/ Big Ben/ Boot That Thing/ Gold Mine/ Henry Ford Blues/ I'm A Dangerous Man/ Springfield Blues/ Sugar Cup./ The Last Laugh/ True Thing/ Whole Lot Of Children/ You Understand

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Delmark 632 Feel Like Blowing My Horn ● CD $11.98
1973 sides with small band including `Sax' Mallard/ts & cl, King Kolax/tpt, Robert Lockwood/ gtr, Dave Myers/bass and Fred Below/ drums. Four tracks previously unissued.

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Delmark 642 Raining In My Heart ● CD $15.98
A great collection of urban blues recorded by Sykes with various sidemen for Chicago's United label between 1951 and 1953. Accompanying Sykes piano and expressive vocals are sidemen like Robert "Sax" Crowder/ ts, "Sax" Mallard/as, John "Schoolboy" Porter/ guitar, J.T. Brown/ts, "Big" Crawford/ bass and others. 7 of the tracks feature some very effective blues violin by Remo Biondi. 20 tracks, of which only 10 were originally issued on 78s and several tracks not on the LP reissue of some years ago.

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Delmark 773 Chicago Boogie ● CD $15.98
17 tracks, 48 minutes, essential
This one's a gem from the beginning to the final notes - nine of the seventeen tracks (recorded for Regal in 1950 & '51) are previously unissued and none of the tracks have appeared on a legitimate CD release before now. Seven titles find Sykes backed only by Jump Jackson's rhythmic drumming (Drivin' Wheel/ West Helena Blues/ Rock It/Mail Box Blues/ Blues N' Boogie/ Wintertime Blues/ Rock It) while another four (Wonderin' Blues/ Chicago Boogie/ Security Blues/ Green Onion Top) are fleshed out with J.T. Brown's honking sax and Ransom Knowling's bass, and another four (Monkey Face Blues/ Soon Forgotten/ Complete This Order/ My Resolution) find St. Louis Jimmy Oden providing the vocals. Sound is stellar throughout and Sykes is in top form plowing through up-tempo boogie, stride, and lowdown blues at the piano and serving up his usual booming voice. (CR)

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Diablo 854 Sings The Blues ● CD $15.98 $9.98
10 tracks, 26 mins, recommended
Short but fine set featuring the brilliant and ever reliable singer and piano player. The set was recorded in Chicago in 1962 with an excellent group including "Sax" Mallard on sax, Lee Jackson /guitar, Willie Dixon/ bass and Jump Jackson/ drums and was originally issued on a hard to find Crown LP. A good mix of material is featured including slow blues, rockers and ballads. Singing and playing is fine throughout with some exceptional guitar work from Jackson on Your Will Is Mine. (FS)

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Document DOCD 5116 Complete Chronological Recordings, Vol. 1 - 1929-30 ● CD $15.98 $11.98
Roosevelt Sykes ranks as one of the greatest blues piano players of all time and his recorded legacy is truly impressive. He remained a consistently worthwhile artist from his earliest recordings in 1929 to his last recordings made in the late 70s. This is the first of seven volumes documenting his pre war recordings and is consistently fine from beginning to end. It starts with his June 1929 recordings of "44" Blues, a blues piano classic and ends with a June 1930 recording featuring Sykes accompanying singer Ben Turner with Oliver Cobb on cornet. The emphasis here is on slow and mid tempo blues with mournful expressive vocals by Sykes and lovely thoughtful and imaginative piano accompaniments. Lest you think he is only comfortable with slow and mid tempo items his variation on Pinetop's Boogie Woogie called Boot That Thing shows he is capable of piano pyrotechnics when neccessary. Some tracks feature guitar accompaniments by Oscar Carter or Henry Townsend. With a few exceptions sound quality is excellent and there are good notes by Chris Smith. (FS)
MAE BELLE MILLER: Beale And Main Blues/ Long Tall Man Blues/ Trouble Everywhere Blues/ Working Man On The Seas/ ROOSEVELT SYKES: '44' Blues/ All My Money Gone Blues/ Black River Blues/ Boot That Thing/ Bury That Thing/ Fire Detective Blues/ Henry Ford Blues/ Home Of Your Own Blues/ I'm Tired Of Being Mistreated/ Little Sow Blues/ Lost All I Had Blues/ Poor Boy Blues/ Roosevelt's Blues/ Single Tree Blues/ Skeet And Garret/ Ten And Four Blues/ The Way I Feel Blues/ BEE TURNER: Jivin' Jelly Roll Blues/ Rough Treatin' Daddy

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Document DOCD 5117 Complete Chronological Recordings, Vol. 2 - 1930-31 ● CD $15.98 $11.98
24 tracks, 72 mins, recommended
The second volume of this brilliant singer and piano player features 24 tracks recorded between June 1930 and June 1931. Sykes was busy hopping from label to label recording under the name of Willie Kelly for Victor, Dobby Bragg for Paramount and Easy Papa Johnson for Melotone. As prolific as he was his music was consistently outstanding with great singing, varied and imaginative piano work and interesting and meaningful lyrics. Two tracks feature his accompaniments to the relatively undistinguished singer St. Louis Bessie. The sound here is mostly excellent and their are brief, informative notes, by Chris Smith. Piano blues at its finest. (FS)
ROOSEVELT SYKES: 3-6 And 9 Listen/ 32-20 Blues Listen/ As True As I've Been To You/ Big Time Woman/ Conjur Man Blues/ Cotton Seed Blues/ Don't Put The Lights Out/ Don't Squeeze Me Too Tight/ Drinkin' Woman Blues/ Give Me Your Change Listen/ Hard Luck Man Blues/ He Treats Me Like A Dog/ I Love You More And More Listen/ Kelly's 44 Blues Listen/ Kelly's Special/ Meat Cutter Blues/ Nasty But It's Clean/ No Good Woman Blues/ No Settled Mind Blues/ Papa Sweetback Blues/ Side Door Blues/ Thanksgivin' Blues/ We Can Sell That Thing/ You So Dumb

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Document DOCD 5118 Complete Chronological Recordings, Vol. 3 - 1931-33 ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 71 mins, recommended
The third volume features 23 tracks recorded between September 1931 and December 1933 and often features Sykes in an accompanying role. In addition to his role as a performer, he also acted as a talent scout and many of the artists here are, no doubt, performers he brought to the studio. Sykes, himself, only sings on eight of the songs here and these are, by far, the most superior performances here. Of the other vocalists here the best are James "Stump" Johnson, Matthew McLure, Eithel Smith and Isabel Sykes (possibly his sister). Even when relegated to accompanying role Sykes' playing is so outstanding that the sometimes drab vocals can be overloked. (FS)
NAPOLEON FLETCHER: She Showed It All/ CLARENCE HARRIS: Lonesome Clock Blues/ Try My Whiskey Blues/ EMERSON HOUSTON: Hard Luck Blues/ Strange Man Blues/ 'STUMP' JOHNSON: Barrel Of Whiskey Blues/ Sail On Black Sue/ MATTHEW MCCLURE: Prisoners' Blues/ MOSBY AND SYKES: Mosby Stomp/ FRANK PLUITT: Found A Note On My Door/ CARL RAFFERTY: Dresser With The Drawers/ Mr. Carl's Blues/ EITHEL SMITH: Jelly Roll Mill/ ISABEL SYKES: Don't Rush Yourself/ In Here With Your Heavy Stuff/ ROOSEVELT SYKES: Big Legs Ida Blues/ Devil's Island Gin Blues/ Highway 61 Blues/ I Done You Wrong/ Mr. Sykes Blues/ New 44 Blues/ Sad And Lonely Day/ Working Dollar Blues

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Document DOCD 5119 Complete Chronological Recordings, Vol. 4 - 1934-36 ● CD $15.98
22 tracks, 68 mins, recommended
This volume features 7 tracks from August 1934, 14 from February 1936 and one from May 1936. 5 of the '34 tracks feature him providing accompaniments to Johnnie Strauss (a female singer), Arthur McKay and Dorothy Baker. The two tracks under his own name are exceptional and his D.B.A. Blue is alone worth the price of this disc. A couple of the tracks from 1936 feature guitar accompaniment by Kokomo Arnold, who provides some great slide, on the delightfully obscene Jet Black Snake and Sykes's theme song The Honeydripper. These sessions also yielded Roosevelt's first recording of Driving Wheel which has subsequently become a blues standard. Great music, good sound and good notes by Chris Smith . (FS)
DOROTHY BAKER: Steady Grinding Blues/ ARTHUR MCKAY: Central Limited Blues/ Heavy Stuff Blues/ JOHNNIE STRAUSS: Old Market Street Blues/ Radio Broadcasting Blues/ ROOSEVELT SYKES: Barrel House Man/ D-B-A Blues No. 2/ D.B.A. Blues/ Dirty Mother For You (60503-A)/ Dirty Mother For You (60503-D)/ Dirty Mother For You (90738)/ Driving Wheel Blues/ Ethel Mae Blues/ Jet Black Snake/ Second Floor Blues/ She Left Me Cold In Hand/ Sister Kelly Blues/ Soft And Mellow/ Sugar Hill Blues/ Take Off Box/ The Cannon Ball/ The Honey Dripper

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Document DOCD 5120 Complete Chronological Recordings Vol. 5 - 1937-39 ● CD $15.98
ART MCKAY: She Squeezed My Lemon/ Somebody's Been Ridin' My Black Gal/ ROOSEVELT SYKES: Bitter Cup Blues/ Bread Pan/ Down On My Knees/ Drunken Gambler/ Hard Lead Pencil/ Have You Seen Ida B/ Hospital, Heaven Or Hell/ Ice Cream Freezer/ Journey From The Germs/ Let Me Hang My Stockings In Your Christmas Tree/ Little And Low/ Love Lease Blues/ Mistake In Life/ Monte Carlo Blues/ My Baby's Playground/ Night Gown Blues/ Night Time Is The Right Time/ Night Time Is The Right Time, No. 2/ Sad Yas Yas Yas/ She's Long Gone/ The Dog In A Man/ The Train Is Coming/ You Can't Fix It Back

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Document DOCD 5121 Complete Chronological Recordings Vol. 6 - 1939-41 ● CD $15.98 $15.98
The sixth volume by this great artist features 25 tracks with Sykes accompanied by legendary drummer Sid Catlett. Throughout Sykes's vocals are powerful and expressive, his piano work endlessly inventive and Catlett's playing discreet and propulsive. As always, Sykes's lyrics are interesting and imaginative and his use of word play in Concentration Blues is a real delight.
ROOSEVELT SYKES: 44 Blues/ 47th Street Jive/ Concentration Blues/ Doin' The Sally Long/ Eight Ball Blues/ Essie Mae Blues (take A)/ Essie Mae Blues (take B)/ Get Your Row Out/ I've Made A Change/ Knock Me Out/ Love Will Wear You Down/ New Mistake In Life We Will Never Make The Grade/ New Style Blues/ Papa Low/ Pistol Shootin' Blues/ Right Now/ She's Got What It Takes/ She's In My Blood/ Shoe Shiner's Moan/ Take It With A Smile/ Under Eyed Woman/ Unlucky 13 Blues/ Ups And Downs Blues/ Yellow Yam Blues

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Document DOCD 5122 Complete Chronological Recordings Vol. 7 - 1941-44 ● CD $15.98
23 tracks, 67 mins, recommended
Another fine selection from this talented performer who, in spite of being prolific, was consistently fine and rarely relied on familiar cliches. His singing was powerful and energetic, his material varied and imaginative and his piano playing was consistently a joy. This disc features 19 tracks recorded between February 1941 and April 1942 when the Petrillo band stopped recording activities. The last four tracks are from a post ban session in December 1944. Many of the cuts feature him accompanied by the brilliant drummer Sid Catlett. Other accompanying musicians include bass player Alfred Elkins and on a couple of sessions a guitriast who uses some rather heavy tremelo effects. Roosevelt's 1944 recordings show a strong influence of Fats Waller and have some jazzy guitar from Ted Summitt. A number of the tracks here are from worn 78s but the sound is generally good. Informative notes by Chris Smith. (FS)
ROOSEVELT SYKES: 15c a Day/ Are You Unhappy?/ Honeysuckle Rose/ I Wonder/ Jivin' the Jive/ Just Hanging Around/ K.M.A. Blues/ Keep Your Hands off Her/ Let the Black Have His Way/ Love Has Something to Say/ Low as a Toad/ Mellow Queen/ My Supply Woman Blues/ Pay Day Blues/ Prison Gate Blues/ Roll on Blues/ Skin and Bones Blues/ Sugar Babe Blues/ Sykes Advice Blues/ Third Degree Blues/ Training Camp Blues/ Trouble and Whiskey/ You Can't Do That Do Me

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Maison De Blues 982 249 The Honeydripper's Duke's Mixture ● CD $15.98
17 tracks, 49 mins, recommended
From his first recording for Okeh in 1929 up to his death in 1984 there was rarely a year that Roosevelt Sykes was out of the studio but in spite of his considerable output his music was rarely less than excellent. This relaxed selection was recorded in Paris in 1970 and the first ten tracks were originally on the French Blue Star label and finds Roosevelt in fine form. A nice mix of blues/jazz standards (Going Down Slow/ St. James Infirmary/ Honeysuckle Rose, etc), a couple of deliciously raunchy songs (Ice Cream Freezer/ Dirty Mother For You), a duet with Memphis Slim on Lost My Boogie and even a couple of tracks with Roosevelt accompanying himself on acoustic guitar! There are seven bonus tracks included here that were recorded at the tail end of the session when some friends and booze showed up and is a little more ragged than the first ten tracks but is still fine with Roosevelt doing a couple of Fats Waller songs, Slim Gaillard's Flat Foot Floogie. Superb sound and affectionate notes by original producer Philippe Rault plus original notes by Mike Rowe. (FS)

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Original Blues Classics OBCCD 557 The Honeydripper ● CD $11.98
9 tracks, 35 min., essential
This is a real forgotten classic, originally Bluesville 1014. Sykes, who began his career on Okeh in the late 20's, was a pre-war piano professor who scored big with The Honeydripper. This early 60's session perfectly bridges the gap between classic piano blues and the R&B era, with no-nonsense accompaniment by tenor sax star King Curtis and a solid organ, bass and drums trio. Sykes and Co. lead off with the unrestrained blues shouter Miss Ida B., and roar through Jailbait/ Satellite Baby/ Pocketful Of Money. Roosevelt takes a couple solo numbers, contributes hard-edged vocals and anchors every cut, leaving plenty of room for the most stripped-down and satisfying King Curtis solos on wax. 9 cuts - a real winner! (MB)

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Smithsonian Folkways 40051 Blues By Roosevelt Sykes - The Honeydripper ● CD $15.98
Reissue of 1961 album. This reissue was remastered from original master tapes using the new HDC 24-bit mastering process.

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Southland 2 Dirty Mother For You ● CD $13.98
1971 session recorded at the Jazz City Studios in New Orleans. Sykes is in good form on this set of solo performances with a high proportion of risque songs - Ice Cream Freezer/ It Hurts So Good/ E.Z. Cherry/ Dresser Drawers/ Poodle Dog and, of course, the title song.

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Wolf WBJ 004 Rock It - The Postwar Years, Vol. 1 1945-1954 ● CD $11.98
We reviewed volume 2 a while ago, but this is one you should definitely not miss. Sykes was one of the greatest and most important singers & piano players in blues history. Starting off steeped in the traditions of the rural deep South, he effortlessly made the transition to an urban stylist. Most of the recordings here were made in Chicago with small groups which included musicians like "Sax" Mallard, Leonard Caston, Bill Casimr, Ransom Knowling, J.T. Brown, "Jump" Jackson and others. One session from 1954 was recorded in New Orleans with members of the Dave Bartholomew band. The material was varied including driving boogies (Rock It/ Driving Wheel/ Candy Man Blues), slow blues (Wintertime Blues/My Baby's Gone), pop flavored songs (Living In A Different World) and Walleresque jive (Green Onion Top) and all of it is good. Sound is excellent and there are brief informative notes by Daniel Gugolz and discographical information. (FS)

 
ROOSEVELT SYKES Wolf WBJ 005 The Postwar Years Vol. 2- "West Helena Blues" ● CD $11.98
CD reissue of Wolf WBJ 005 with two fine additional sides from 1947 - 18 in all. Roosevelt Sykes ranks as one of the greatest blues piano players of all time and his recorded legacy is impressive. He remained a consistently worthwhile artist from his earliest recordings in 1929 to his last recordings made in the late 70s. The selection of tracks here focusses on recordings made between 1945 and '57, mostly with small groups including sidemen like J.T. Brown/ts, "Chick" Sanders/ dms, "Sax" Mallard/alt, Sam Casimir/gtr, Leonard Caston/ gtr, Ransom Knowling/sbs, "Big" Crawford/ sbs and others. In addition to recordings under his own name this set includes two accompaniments to St Lous Jimmy. The material here is consistently fine and, in spite of a fair number of Sykes reissues available this is a recommended reissue. Good sound brief and discographical information but they left off thenotes by Daniel Gugolz that were on the LP. (FS)

 

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