Honeydripper (1946); Jonathan Green's "The Hawk" (1930s)

George Thompson george.thompson at NYU.EDU
Thu Feb 10 21:33:31 UTC 2005

The nickname of Roosevelt Sykes (b. 1906) was the Honeydripper.  The
entries in the New Grove Dict. of Amer. Music and the The encyclopedia
of popular music, compiled & edited by Colin Larkin, 3rd ed, 1998 don't
indicate when he took the name, but there's a pretty good chance that
it would be before the mid-40s.

My impression is that the nickname "The Hawk" was exclusive to Coleman
Hawkins.  I don't associate any nickname with Erskine -- his press
agent called him something like the 20th C. Gabriel.  Coleman Hawkins
was a pretty big star by the end of the 1920s and jazz hounds would
have known who "The Hawk" was by then.  His connection with the winter
wind in Chicago isn't clear to me.  I have a very vague recollection of
a 1940s? recording of a poem by Langston Hughes? to the accompaniment
of some noted jazz musicians which alludes to "the hawk" (as in wind).


George A. Thompson
Author of A Documentary History of "The African Theatre", Northwestern
Univ. Pr., 1998, but nothing much lately.

----- Original Message -----
From: Bapopik at AOL.COM
Date: Thursday, February 10, 2005 12:40 pm
Subject: Honeydripper (1946); Jonathan Green's "The Hawk" (1930s)

> HDAS? A cartoon in DOWN BEAT, 14 January 1946, pg. 10, col. 3, has
> someone shouting "Honeydripper!" to an orchestra.
> JONATHAN GREEN'S "THE HAWK"--The Cassell Dictionary of Slang has
> "1930s+" for "hawk" and "Hawkins." This would rule out Coleman
> Hawkins and Erskine Hawkins, as I've said. Cites?

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