Keith Sykes

Keith Sykes

The first album. Recorded fall of 1969 in New York City at Vanguard Record’s Studio and released early 1970.

Soon to be recognized as one of the leading folk artists–Billboard


Keith Sykes

Vanguard VSD-6548

This is the first album by a boy from Memphis. His voice is throaty-interesting. There are elements of James Taylor, Country Joe and Arlo Guthrie to it-while it remains quite singular and self-distinctive. The music is is country and folk–really nice. There is infectious innocence to it, and the guitar and other instrumental work is pretty good.

But the essence of this record is in Sykes himself. All but one of the songs are his own. In one he calls himself the “Shakespeare of hitchhiking”; very much the half-mocking vision of a kid with an intriguing sense of himself. HIs Memphis accent is fascinating (he says “vag-o-bond,” which knocks me out) and his phrasing and low-key presence make the album both comforting and lasting.

“You Were Going Crazy” is the loveliest of almost-jilted-lover songs. He’s got a concept of love which is almost as fine as it is selfless:

“You were the kind of girl who would never leave me blue, unless it was handsome man and I could understand, and I’d                probably dig him too.”

This record has the spirit and happiness of the old folk days. “The mirror of the sky reflects a vagabond who’s not looking for a password to tomorrow.” There is a tendency to overstate Life Patterns, but it’s tendency that comes with first recognition. It’s nice to find work where the thought is evident.

Keith Sykes has made a loose, scrappy but peaceful debut. His voice is strange and stays with you. The songs are literary without loosing their spontaneity.



  1. A Very Short Time
  2. You Were Going Crazy
  3. Gypsy
  4. Anything Else
  5. Wind
  6. Ordinary Day
  7. Rich Wayfaring Stranger
  8. Edgar Was A Worm
  9. Sad Song
  10. Gifts
  11. Firefly