Eubie Blake

Golden Reunion in Ragtime

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The obscure Golden Reunion in Ragtime release was intended to promote ragtime, but the cornball packaging and lack of information about its contents on the record jacket may cause ragtime collectors to overlook it. Recorded in 1962 for the Stereoddities label, which was primarily known for its comedy releases by nightclub performer Woody Woodbury, the featured artists are the indomitable Eubie Blake, plus Joe Jordan and Charles Thompson. Unfortunately, the host and interviewer is a woefully inferior pianist named Ragtime Bob Darch, whose awkward introductions (particularly his condescending comment "Come on, boys" to three veteran performers who were each around 80 years old at the time) overshadow his knowledge of the history of the genre. Neither is his one effort to play of much interest. In spite of the traffic jam when all three pianists are heard simultaneously, the music is still a lot of fun. Even better are the solo features, particularly Blake's rendition of his "Memories of You" and Jordan's moving "Until." Jordan sings and plays solo piano in the fun-filled "Old Black Crow," with Blake and Thompson adding their vocals. Some of the tracks were reissued on a Eubie Blake LP entitled That's Ragtime! in 1984, though the deteriorated condition of the tapes used make the original record preferable.