Picture Rags – V/A (Transatlantic TRA SAM 26) (1972)

“If you believe that ragtime is just one more product of your grandmother’s out-of-tune, aspidistra-crowned piano, then you should really hear this record.” So says a rather defensive Fred Dellar on the back cover of this sweet Transatlantic instrumental guitar soli and duet compilation. No doubt he was preaching to the converted. Coming after the great folk music revival of the 50s and 60s, but just prior to the major Sting spearheaded Ragtime resurgence, Picture Rags occupies a curious place in the popular music continuum. “Slowly, but surely, Ragtime is closing the circle and becoming, once again, the music of the many,” concludes Dellar hopefully. “And this record is just another step in that direction.”

Well, yes and no. When I was 12 or so, I went to an amusing piano duet concert which featured some Ragtime. One of the pianists explained that Ragtime’s rhythm inflamed the loins of the early 20th century America with carnal urges–for those who felt the music base, the beat was “sin-copated”. The Ragtime of this record, however, is gentle, serious music performed by gentle, serious musicians for a selective audience of gentle, serious listeners, a far cry from the “wave of vulgar, filthy and suggestive music [that] inundated the land” of Scott Joplin’s time. And isn’t that what “the many” want, something vulgar, filthy and suggestive? Me, I like it both ways.

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Published in: on April 10, 2011 at 9:10 am  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Sorry but are there any links??

    • Sorry George, there’s the occasional Thrifty Vinyl/Exotic Pylon webcast and even rarer download, but no posted music. You can try these:

      It’s an excellent record well worth tracking down.


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