David Thomas Roberts

An Album of Early Folk Rags

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Other than a 1978 recording that was mostly comprised of Jelly Roll Morton songs, this was pianist David Thomas Roberts' debut on records. Strangely enough, Roberts, a major ragtime composer, did not perform any of his own songs on this occasion, but he can be heard interpreting 13 long-forgotten rags by obscure composers from the 1901-1913 period. It had definitely been a long time since such numbers as "Teddy In the Jungle," "Missoura Mag's Chromatic Rag" (which has a B section comprised of just 14 2/3 bars), "Kalamity Kid" and "Queen of Love" had been performed, and it is doubtful if any of these had been recorded before, although some were taken from piano rolls. Roberts displays a sensitive yet cheerful approach, bringing out the beauty of these timeless but long-overlooked themes. This is one of three Stomp Off LPs that Roberts made during a two-year period; all are worth exploring by ragtime connoisseurs.