Something Doing

Ragtime Happenings in the Southland

JUNE, 2000


Rose Leaf Ragtime Club May Meeting (5/28/2000)

Reported by Bill Mitchell

Gary Rametta opened the proceedings at the Pasadena IHOP with "Something Doing," the Joplin-Hayden collaboration that gives this newsletter its name.

By request, Bill Mitchell played "Queen of Love" by Charles Hunter. "Scott Joplin's New Rag" (1912) was next, and the set was completed by "Porto Rico," by Ford Dabney.

Gary turned in a commendable performance of "Fig Leaf Rag," one of Joplin's greatest, but also one of his most difficult.

The piano team of McClellan and Roan (Old George and Lee) came up with a rarity, "Under a Mellow Arabian Moon." They found this on a CD of the Paragon Ragtime Orchestra. George worked out a piano arrangement for duet performance.

Helen Reese on accordion joined George and Lee for spirited renditions of "Alabama Jubilee," "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover," and "Any Time."

San Diego's Bob Pinsker played a rare one, "Monkey Hunch," which he transcribed from a James P. Johnson piano roll. Bob then played something in a romantic vein, "Autumn Idyll." The composer, Fred Hoeptner, was present to take a bow.

Making his first appearance at the IHOP was Les Soper, who used to attend the Maple Leaf Club meetings and was a performer at the Fresno Ragtime Festivals. Les opened with a Glenn Jenks composition, "The Wrong Rag," dedicated to the late David Wright. He followed up with the ever-popular "Canadian Capers" of 1915. Composition credits are given to Chandler, White, and Cohen, but according to ragtime historians the tune was stolen from Sid Le Protti, a Barbary Coast pianist mentioned in They All Played Ragtime. Les rounded out his set with "Junk Man Rag," by Luckey Roberts, one of the early Harlem stride whizzes.

Ruby Fradkin played a set that included "Swipesy," "Smiles," "On the Good Ship Lollypop" (a song sung by Shirley Temple when she was about Ruby's age), and "Playmates." Interestingly, "Playmates" was a popular song of 1940, but actually was lifted note-for-note from one of the sections of "Iola," a 1906 intermezzo by Charles L. Johnson.

Judy Senior, accompanied on piano by Bob Pinsker, sang a couple of 1920s numbers: "A Good Man Is Hard to Find," and "He May Be Your Man, but He Comes to See Me Sometimes."

Gary Rametta played the James Scott classic, "Grace and Beauty," one of those rags--like "Maple Leaf"--that never grow old.

Bill Mitchell returned with Jelly Roll Morton's "Grandpa's Spells," Chris Smith's "Ballin' the Jack," and, with apologies to Errol Garner and May Aufderheide, "Musty Rag." He was accompanied on these by Les Soper on washboard. Les has taken up this domestic instrument recently, and his playing is thimbly great. (Groan, please.)

After removing his thimbles, Les took over on piano with "12th Street Rag."

Stan Long trotted out a couple of Joplin's most popular rags, "Maple Leaf" and "The Entertainer." He concluded with one of his own compositions, "My Ditty," with a nod to Disney's "Small World."

Stan joined Ruby Fradkin for duets on "Baby Face," and "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah."

Ruby continued with solos of "Turkey in the straw" and "Tom Dooley."

Fred Hoeptner opened his set with "Opalescence," by Hal Isbitz and followed with James Scott's "Efficiency Rag." He concluded with one of his own pieces, "Dalliance, a Ragtime Frolic."

Continuing her exploration of Argentinean tangos, Yuck Shimazaki played "Veiled Creole" (veiled Creole woman), by Domingo Peres.

Tom Hanforth, a member of the Los Angeles Organ Society and a teacher of organ, gave us a piano rendition of Souza's "Stars and Stripes Forever."

George McClellan concluded the meeting by playing and singing "Prohibition Blues," and "Is It True What They Say about Dixie?"

The Language of Music

by Susan Erb

Music is the language of the heart
Which flows through love songs
Of the tenderness kind
For the lovers who love
And the lovers who part.
Heartache and heartbreak are a part
Of music close to the heart.

In the search for love
Music leads the way
Through lyrics sung
To the ballads as they play
The heartstrings sing
As the music plays.
Music the language of the heart
Arouses feelings
Exhausts the range of emotion
From exaltation to deepest sorrow
Let the music play --
And live along the way.
Music can speak words we cannot say

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