Scott Joplin

Scott Joplin: The All-Time Ragtimer

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Buyers should beware of the Czech Republic collection Scott Joplin: The All-Time Ragtimer for three reasons. First, this double-disc from Primo has no credits whatsoever of performers or producers, so the lack of provenance should make one question where these recordings originated. Second, the awful sound of the recordings varies widely, from tinny and grating to booming and echoic; the keyboards' tones range from the flat, metallic clatter of what are presumably player pianos, to old, scratchy gramophone recordings of what seem like out-of-tune uprights. Third, tracks do not consistently match the listing, and not everything is by Joplin; for example, the second track of disc 1 is not The Easy Winners, but a dreadful transfer of James P. Johnson's Mule Walk Stomp. One could probably find several other defects with this 2008 collection, but there is no need to go on flogging this cheap product. Suffice it to say there are several excellent collections available elsewhere, from The Complete Rags of Scott Joplin by William Albright on MusicMasters to Guido Nielsen's Scott Joplin: The Complete Rags, Marches, Waltzes and Songs on Basta, or even Richard Zimmermann's The Complete Works of Scott Joplin, an excellent and affordable alternative on LaserLight.

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