Ben Garrison

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The earliest of two famed American songwriters named Ben Garrison, this one created and arranged material in oldtime, gospel and ragtime styles. This is not the same Ben Garrison who set up microphones…
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The earliest of two famed American songwriters named Ben Garrison, this one created and arranged material in oldtime, gospel and ragtime styles. This is not the same Ben Garrison who set up microphones for Toni Braxton in the '90s--in fact, a kind of impenetrable cultural divide seperates the styles of later Garrison such as rap and hip-hop with the earlier Garrison's arrangements

of negro spirituals such as "Little David Play On Your Harp", "Go Down Moses", "Give Me That Old Time Religion" and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen".

In the '30s, Garrison was frequently involved in doing whatever was necessary to prepare material such as this for publication in song folio collections. He was thus involved with many pioneer enterprising figures in music publishing and songwriting including Andy Razaf and Spencer Williams. One of Garrison's most famous co-writing ventures was with Harrison Smith on the nostalgic "My Little Dixie Home". His name also comes up, or doesn't come up depending on circumstance, in connection with jazz genius Jelly Roll Morton.

A web of intrigue and corruption surrounds the publishing and recording rights of Morton material; in some cases, co-writers were added to instrumental performances in order to hack up and divert royalties. If Garrison's name appears in connection with Morton sides such as "Fickle Fay Creep", it may be because he provided a set of cornball lyrics that were only used on the song folio.