Roosevelt Sykes

The Honeydripper [Fabulous]

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Singing pianist Roosevelt Sykes made hundreds of recordings during a career that spanned more than 50 years. Anyone seeking an easily digestible sampling from his first 15 years on the scene may want to grab a copy of The Honeydripper, a parcel of 18 tracks dating from 1929-1944 that appeared on the Fabulous label in 2001. While Document's ten-volume chronology provides the most thorough and evolutionary overview of Sykes' output prior to 1960, the Fabulous Honeydripper stands on its own as a useful introduction to this archetypal blues artist. Sykes is heard with guitarists Kokomo Arnold, Ted Summitt, and Harry Johnson, as well as drummers Sidney Catlett and Armand Jump Jackson. One of this collection's most intriguing features is a rare instance of Sykes performing a jazz standard in the form of Fats Waller's "Honeysuckle Rose", which was recorded one year to the day after Waller's sudden death at the age of 39. In Sykes' hands, "Honeysuckle" becomes a lively, romantic blues, and anyone who knows and loves either artist will want to be sure and experience this performance more than once.

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