This shot of Roosevelt Sykes solemly enjoying a good cigar gives little clue to his on-stage personality. He had a rompin', stompin' piano style, a big powerful voice, and a boisterous stage manner. His rolling, thumping boogies were legendary, and his rowdy shouting blues would set you up for the soft ballad blues. For years he was Decca Records double entendre specialist (every label had one) and his material could be brazenly pornographic, but his great good humor sold it all. He was influential in blues piano history partly because he made hundreds of records from the twenties right up til he died in 1983. His biggest song was "Night Time Is The Right Time," and though there's not much left in the Ray Charles version or the Creedence Clearwater version of Roosevelt's 1929 original, it's just one clue to his many blues contributions.

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