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|Birth name||Charles Luckeyth Roberts|
August 7, 1887|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||February 5, 1968
New York City
|Genres||Jazz, ragtime, blues|
Luckey Roberts was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and was playing piano and acting professionally with traveling Negro minstrel shows in his childhood. He settled in New York City about 1910 and became one of the leading pianists in Harlem, and started publishing some of his original rags.
Robert's reach on the keyboard was unusually large (he could reach a fourteenth), leading to a rumor that he had the webbing between his fingers surgically cut, which those who knew him and saw him play live denounce as false; Roberts simply had naturally large hands with wide finger spread.
In the 1920s, Roberts teamed up with lyricist Alex C. Rogers and co-wrote three Broadway musicals, Go-Go (1923), Sharlee (1923) and My Magnolia (1926), the later which starred Adelaide Hall, a major black revue star.
Luckey Roberts noted compositions include "Junk Man Rag", "Moonlight Cocktail", "Pork and Beans", and "Railroad Blues". "Moonlight Cocktail" was recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra, and was the best selling record in the United States for ten weeks in 1942.
An astute businessman, Roberts became a millionaire twice through real estate dealings. He died in New York City.
- Jasen, David A.; Gene Jones (2002). Black Bottom Stomp: Eight Masters of Ragtime and Early Jazz. Routledge. pp. 51–66. ISBN 0-415-93641-1.
- Scivales Riccardo (ed.), Harlem Stride Piano Solos, Katonah, New York, Ekay Music, 1990.