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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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Sputnik Baby: Roosevelt Sykes [1957]

One of the best Cold War blues records ever released, this punchy, electric track diverges with most other political blues songs of the era in that it shows a bit of patriotic solidarity with the Eisenhower administration. In the tune's opening lecture to the Soviet premier ("Listen Mr. Khrushchev, I heard a lot of talk, satellite missiles and Eisenhower's fault") the song's narrator, on behalf of America, lets Khrushchev know that he's got a "satellite baby" that can "make more speed than Sputnik no. 2." The narrator also ridicules the Soviet spacecraft's "hound dog crew" which refers to Laika, the first canine cosmonaut launched into full earth orbit on November 3, 1957.

Theodore Roosevelt Sykes was born in Arkansas in 1906 and spent the early years of his life wandering the country. Sykes' barrelhouse style of blues was shaped by a fellow itinerant musician, Lee Green, with whom he traveled before deciding to stay put and do his performing in St. Louis, Missouri. It was in St. Louis that Sykes was discovered by promoter Jesse Johnson for whom he cut the 1929 hit 44 Blues. It was this success that enabled Sykes to move on to Chicago, Illinois and New York where he recorded, on various labels, approximately 200 songs before World War II. These tracks include Dirty Mother Fuyer, Night Time Is The Right Time and Honeydripper. Sykes was also the house pianist for Decca where he accompanied such artists as St. Louis Jimmy, Walter Davis and Lonnie Johnson.

Sykes knew how to evolve with the times and he was reportedly the first blues pianist to surround himself with a big band, The Honeydrippers. In 1945, Sykes returned to Chicago to record for such labels as Bluebird and Bullet. In 1952 he moved to New Orleans, Louisiana where he recorded primarily for Imperial. In the '60s Sykes participated in the blues revival and toured in the U.S. and Europe and also continued recording. One of his last recordings was Feel Like Blowing My Horn for Delmark. Sykes died in New Orleans in 1983.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Sputnik Baby: Roosevelt Sykes [1957]

Listen Mr. Khrushchev, I heard a lot of talk
Satellite and missiles and Eisenhower's fault
But now you better listen to what I got to say
The thing I'm gonna tell you, man, it'll make your hair turn gray

I got a satellite baby with a red hot style that's new
Yea, I got a satellite baby that can rock it all night through
She can make more speed than Sputnik no. 2

Now you talk about the Sputnik and your hound dog crew
I got a rocket, baby, faster than the Asiatic flu

I got a satellite baby with a red hot style that's new
She can make more speed than Sputnik no. 2

Yes, I got a hot rocket baby, can leave you any time
Yes, I got a hot rocket baby will leave you flyin' blind
When she gets in gear you'll think it's the end of time

Now you talk about the Sputnik and your hound dog crew
I got a rocket, baby, faster than the Asiatic flu
I got a satellite, baby, with a style that's new
She can make more speed than Sputnik no. 2

Spoken: Somewhere way out in space

Roosevelt Sykes [1957]
Sputnik Baby
(Pickard-Buckalew)
House Of Sound 1006

CATEGORY: SONGS: SPACE RACE[ 1 | COMMENTS | May 10, 06 | 4:09 am ]

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RELATED TITLES:
Satellite
Satellite Baby
Satellite No. 2
Sputnik (Satellite Girl)
Sputnik II
Sputniks and Mutniks




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