Something Doing

Ragtime Happenings in the Southland

MARCH, 2000


Rose Leaf Ragtime Club February Meeting (2/27/2000)

Reported by Bill Mitchell

Our MC, Gary Rametta, opened the proceedings with a trio of Scott Joplin pieces: "Sunflower Slow Drag," "Gladiolus Rag," and "Peacherine Rag." (The first of these was a collaboration with Scott Hayden, his pupil, who probably deserves most of the credit.)

San Diego's Bob Pinsker was on an Artie Matthews kick. He played "Pastime Rag #2," "Weary Blues," and "Pastime Rag #5." It is an oddity that #5 (1918) was published before #4 (1920). Matthews included the admonition "Do not fake" on the sheet music to his rags, but Pinsker didn't take that too seriously, and his embellishments were interesting and appropriate. (Paul Lingle and Wally Rose didn't mind a little faking in the Pastimes either.)

Bill Mitchell played a set of bird rags. "The Meadow Lark" (1916) was a lyrical gem by Thomas Pitt, a Barbary Coast (S.F.) pianist. "Ragtime Oriole" is one of James Scott's finest. "Bird Brain Rag" (1964) was a product of Joseph F. Lamb's later years.

The piano duo of George McClellan and Lee Roan gave us some amusing novelties from the 1920s: "Yes, We Have No Bananas," "Hard Hearted Hannah (the Vamp of Savannah)," and "Take Your Girlie to the Movies," which was one of Eddie Cantor's eye-rolling specialties as I recall.

Our youngest performer, nine-year-old Ruby Fradkin, played her neat versions of "Tell Me Why?" "Baby Face," "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah!" and "Hang Down Your Head Tom Dooly."

Nancy Kleier, the self-designated "The little old rag lady from Pasadena," anticipated St. Patrick's day with three Hibernian selections. Euday "12th St. Rag" Bowman wrote "Tipperary Blues" and "Shamrock Rag." Both are vintage of 1916. Galen Wilkes is the composer of "Leprechaun Rag"(1981).

Ron Ross played two of his own compositions, "Digital Rag" and "Retro Rag."

Jack Christopher chose three oldies but goodies: "A Shanty in Old Shantytown," "Five Foot Two," and "After You've Gone."

Stan Long played something called "The Ditty," followed by the ever-popular (at least with Rose Leaf members) "Swipesy Cakewalk" by Marshall and Joplin. He concluded with a Tom Lehrer protest song, "Wild West Is Where I Want to Be."

George McClellan played and sang "When the Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves for Alabam," and followed up with a witty parody on this song: "How It Really Was."

Bob Pinsker returned to do another Matthews number, "Pastime Rag #3." He concluded with "Jimmy's Blues," by Jimmy Blythe, a Chicago pianist of the 1920s. (Perhaps Bob will complete the Pastimes at the next meeting by playing #1 and #4).

Bill Mitchell played "Wintergarden Rag" (Ohlman) and "Chicago Breakdown" (Morton).

Jim Lentz performed a Joplin non-rag number that we don't often hear: "Combination March." He concluded his set with two Joplin-Hayden compositions, "Felicity Rag" and "Something Doing."

"Autumn Idyll" and "Dalliance" were two lyrical rags played by their composer, Fred Hoeptner. He then played Adaline Shepherd's 1906 hit, "Pickles and Peppers.

Ruby Fradkin returned to play "The Saints," "On the Good Ship Lollypop," "Playmates," and "Alouetta."

The meeting was closed with Gary Rametta and Nancy Kleier duetting on "Grace and Beauty" and "Maple Leaf Rag."

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