Eubie Blake

Blues and Rags (1917-1921)

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This record was the first volume of two which reproduced some of Eubie Blake's earliest piano rolls on a vintage 1910 Steinway player piano with Blake-approved tempos. As typical for piano rolls, some of them were doctored (i.e., had extra notes added) by the issuing company in order to give them a "fuller" sound -- as if you needed that with a pianist the caliber of Eubie Blake. Highlights include the earliest known performance of Blake's first composition, "Charleston Rag," plus a rare piano duet with Milton Suskind on "Goodnight Angeline." The remaining tracks are predominantly covers of tunes by Perry Bradford and Broadway composers like Creamer & Layton and Irving Berlin. While Eubie clearly had strong chops as a young ragtime player, he was as good or better in his nineties. This historical release is worth seeking.