Something Doing

Ragtime Happenings in the Southland

JULY, 2000


Rose Leaf Ragtime Club June Meeting (6/25/2000)

Reported by Bill Mitchell

In spite of a hot, muggy day we had a fine turnout the last Sunday in June. (Ron Ross counted seventy-one noses.) As this report will show, we had a wide variety of musical presentations, with most of them falling under the umbrella of ragtime in its various manifestations.

Our emcee, Gary Rametta, got the music underway with Joplin's tuneful and march-like "Peacherine Rag," one of the composer's early efforts. Then, reflecting his interest in Jelly Roll Morton, Gary played Original Jelly Roll Blues," the first time this number has been played at the Rose Leaf Club if I am not mistaken.

Bill Mitchell was next up, with two of James Scott's lesser-played pieces, "Honeymoon Rag" and "The Ragtime Betty." "Creole Belles" by J. Bodewalt Lampe was sandwiched between them for contrast. To show how songwriters were not averse to "borrowing" from one another, Bill played Charles L. Johnson's "Iola," an "Indian intermezzo" of 1906. The second section of "Iola" was appropriated note-for-note in a 1940 popular song, "Playmates," which Ruby Fradkin has been favoring recently.

Allen Breiman, accompanied by Ron Ross on piano, sang a couple of songs associated with Al Jolson: "Rock-a-Bye Your Baby to a Dixie Melody" and "April Showers."

Ron Ross played two of his own compositions, "Good Thing Going," and "Digital Rag." (Is he going to come up with an "Analog Rag" one of these days? Stay tuned.)

Returning to Joplin, Gary Rametta played the majestic "Fig Leaf Rag," one of the more challenging items in the Joplin oeuvre. Gary did it justice, needless to say.

Making his first appearance at the club, fifteen-year-old Thomas Peters played the lovely "Bethena - a Concert Waltz," by Scott Joplin. Thomas has been studying piano for about three years, discovered Joplin six months ago, and has been on a Joplin kick ever since. His playing was flawless and sensitive. We hope he returns and plays some more of his favorite composer.

Les Soper, one of our new members, played one of his favorite Glenn Jenks compositions, "The Black Preacher," dedicated to Martin Luther King. Les then turned to Joe Lamb's "Ragtime Bobolink," and concluded with Chas. L. Johnson's "Dill Pickles" (1906), one of the most popular of all rags, up there with "Maple Leaf" and "Twelfth Street."

Nine-year-old Ruby Fradkin brought down the house with her "Swipesy." She also played a couple of strains of Joplin's "Cascades," which is a very difficult rag. In her set she included "Tell Me Why," and "Baby Face."

We have missed seeing Nancy Kleier at recent meetings, and were delighted to have her back in June to play a "Fourth of July" set. She opened with "Sky Rockets," by E. Philip Severin. She continued with "On Emancipation Day," by Will Marion Cook, and concluded with "Beneath the Starry Flag," by Hartman.

After a 15-minute break and the drawing for prizes, David Allen got the music going again by playing a ballad, "Autumn Leaves." Singing a cappella Janet Klein rendered a trio of humorous rarities: "The Picture Show," "Johnny and Mary," and "At the Moving Picture Ball."

A guest from Massachusetts, John Collin, played a fast, vigorous "Maple Leaf Rag." He had been studying piano for only a year, and sounded like a pro already. Remarkable!

It was good to have Ian Wallace back after a long absence. He played Lamb's "Bohemia," " Nola," and the beautiful David Thomas Roberts masterpiece, "Roberto Clemente." Ian is moving to the San Luis Obispo area, having recently retired. We will miss him, but maybe he can make it down for a meeting once in a while. We hope so, anyway.

Jim Lutz played a Joplin number we don't hear very often, "Combination March." He followed up with the Joplin/Hayden collaboration, "Something Doing."

At eighty-five, Tom Handforth was the senior pianist of the day. A teacher of piano and organ, and a former musician with the circus, he played one of those circus tunes we all recognize but have trouble attaching a title to. It was "Entry of the Gladiators." He also played "Flapperette," a classic of novelty piano by Jesse Greer.

Fred Hoeptner, recently back from Sedalia where he won first place in the composition competition this year, favored us by playing his prize-winning "Dalliance." He followed with Lamb's "American Beauty."

Stan Long played a trio of popular standards, "I'm Always Chasing Rainbows," "New York, New York," and Gershwin's greatest (editor's opinion) ballad, "Someone to Watch over Me." "Rainbows" is based on a classical piano composition by Chopin. (Etude? Nocturne?) Shifting to the ragtime mode, he played Joplin's "Pineapple Rag," He then leaped ahead a few decades to play "Swing Boogie."

Stan invited Ruby to join him in a duet on "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah."

Lee Roan and Bill Mitchell continued in the duet format, bringing the meeting to a close with "Stumbling," a Zez Confrey popular song of the early twenties, and "If You Knew Susie."

Types of Music

By Susan Erb

There is so much you can say about music--
So let's begin --
So many types of music exist
From classical to pop
From jazz to rock
From ballads to rag
From Latin to country
From Spanish to hymns --
From the minuet to the disco dance
From the tango to the ballroom waltz
From the polka to the fox trot
From the square dance to the Charleston.
So you can see
The variety
That music can impart.
Types of music are not limited
As music is an ongoing art.

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