It is a pity that the music on this two-LP set has not yet been reissued in RCA's Jazz Tribune series for it contains are some of the finest recordings of the pre-jazz era. The 38 selections feature such top early artists and bands as banjoist Vess Ossman, John Philip Sousa, Arthur Pryor, the Victor Dance Orchestra, banjoist Fred Van Eps, pianist Felix Arndt (playing his "Desecration Rag"), James Reese Europe, Conway's Band (on the classic "Hungarian Rag"), the Six Brown Brothers (a saxophone sextet in 1916), and Eubie Blake, concluding with a version of "Maple Leaf Rag" from 1930. A definitive survey into the ragtime era on records, among the selections are "Trombone Sneeze," "Saint Louis Rag," "Dill Pickles," "At a Georgia Camp Meeting," "Alexander's Ragtime Band," "The Ragtime Drummer" (a drum feature in 1912!), and "Too Much Mustard." A gem.
AllMusic Review by Scott Yanow