Ladies' Night at Old Town Music Hall

By Eric Marchese

Jeannie Ingram and Shirley Case teamed up at Old Town Music Hall on Sept. 19, 2004 to offer an enjoyable evening of ragtime selections, standards and instrumental versions of songs. It was Jeannie's ninth time on the bill at the venue and Shirley's first official appearance, and their similar styles and talents make them a viable team.

The pair opened the program with a smooth, four-handed arrangement (by John Arpin) of "Gladiolus." Jeannie gave sensitive renderings of "Cole Smoak" and "Roberto Clemente," with fine improvisations, a spirited "Dusty," a medley of "Cuddle Up a Little Closer" and "Darktown Strutter's Ball" and, as a tribute to a special friend from Riverside, "New York, New York."

With Jeannie at the piano, Shirley and her husband Storm serenaded one another on "Old Bones" in recognition of their recent 50-year wedding anniversary. Shirley then delivered a solo set beginning with an adept, virtuoso performance of "Eubie's Classical Rag," her signature tune and the one on which she got her start in ragtime. Next: a funky, jazzy reading of Terry Waldo's "Proctology," and four selections off Shirley's new CD: "Heliotrope Bouquet," "Marigold," "Red Peppers" and "Sweet Pickles."

The duo closed Act One with a richly nostalgic duet on "April in Paris," then invited Bill Field to the Mighty Wurlitzer for "Let Me Call You Sweetheart." Bill soloed on "It's a Small World," "sort of a demo for the organ and its many resources" and, in tribute to Eubie Blake and his two appearances at OTMH some 30 years ago, "Memories of You."

Shirley opened Act Two with more servings off her "Ragtime Feast" CD: "Frog Legs," "Pork and Beans," "Ragtime Nightingale," "Too Much Raspberry" and the memorably lively "Chicken Chowder," improvising well and adding difficult embellishments to the already tough "Nightingale." Jeannie and Shirley offered Percy Granger's four-handed version of Gershwin's "I Got Plenty o' Nuttin'," from "Porgy and Bess," and Shirley assisted Jeannie on "Beautiful Ohio," as a dedication to Jeannie's special friend Chuck, born and raised in the Buckeye state.

Jeannie offered the first birdcall rag, Scott's "Ragtime Oriole," and the lively, lyrical "Rattler Rag," an obscure piece of Texas ragtime that composer Susie Wells self-published in Henrietta, Tex., late in 1912. The 1932 song "Lullaby of the Leaves" was richly lyrical, and Jeannie showed a nice dramatic flair with Gershwin and Donaldson's pre-Novelty "Rialto Ripples." The ladies wrapped things up with their "Easy Winners" duet, and Mr. Field helped them bring it home with the trio's versions of "Mom, He's Making Eyes at Me," "Cruising down the River," "Baby Face" and "For Me and My Gal." Thanks to these two talented ladies and their wonderful host, this evening was full of charm, grace, and plenty of outstanding

More Jeanne Ingram and Shirley Case at OTMH:

2006 Concert
2005 Concert

John T. Carney's Original Rags for Download

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