Today is the birthday of Roosevelt Sykes (1906-1983) a.k.a The Honeydripper. An Arkanasas native, he learned to play barrelhouse piano in the work camps along the Mississippi River, which is where he developed the raunchiness (both lyrical and musical) of his boogie-woogie style. “44 Blues” was recorded for Okeh in 1929, the launch of his recording career, although his fame became more widespread after he moved to Chicago and signed with Decca in 1934. He flourished there for 20 years until the electric blues became the dominant trend, then moved to New Orleans. Interest in his work began to re-awaken during the blues revival of the 60s and he made several more recordings after that
For more on show business history, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold.
And don’t miss my new book Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, just released by Bear Manor Media, also available from amazon.com etc etc etc