The last time that the name Roosevelt Sykes was mentioned in this space was to highlight his boogie-woogie piano performances in a country blues compilation entitled "Rural Blues', Volume 3. There I mentioned the following- "However, the `king of the hill' on this one is Roosevelt Sykes's piano work and vocals on "Hush Oh Hush" and "I'm Tired". Roosevelt Sykes is one of those guys you keep hearing about if you listen to enough blues. Now I know why. Needless to say you will be seeing a separate individual review of his work in this space later." And here it is.
In this documentary film you get to see Roosevelt in person with old soft hat on his head (I think that's what they call that kind of hat. Being a child of the hatless Kennedy times I am not up on the sartorial distinctions on this question.), cigar in his mouth, keeping time with his foot and stretching his fingers all across the keyboard just like you would think that the old time boogie woogie guys would do it if you had to describe what they were up to in words. The smoked-filled 1950's jazz club atmosphere of the film gives just the right feel to Sykes' work. Outstanding here is his version of "The Nighttime Is The Right Time".
I should note that the reason I got this film was to get a look at Roosevelt. As an added treat there is footage of Big Bill Broonzy doing a separate nightclub act in the same kind of atmosphere as that of the Sykes segment. And maybe just a little it more provocative with a hipster `dame' in the picture. Moreover, there are added segments of Big Bill wailing his acoustic guitar in practice that, I believe, came from one of Stefan Grossman's "Legends of The Country Blues" volumes. Nice.