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December 16, 2012 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Ragtime blues - who else should I know?

I love pre-war American music and especially ragtime blues. Mississippi John Hurt's Okeh sessions record is among my favourite albums of any genre. I also really like Blind Blake and adore Elizabeth Cotten (who comes a few decades later). The only contemporary practitioner I know is Craig Ventresco, who's the business.

Who else should I know? Any decades applicable. Thanks.
posted by timshel to Media & Arts (6 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
Dave Van Ronk, Stefan Grossman, Arlow Guthrie, Happy & Artie Traum.
posted by Obscure Reference at 12:30 PM on December 16, 2012

Reverend Gary Davis, for sure. Try this for his early recordings and maybe this to start with his "rediscovered" period, although most anything he did in the 60s is going to be great.

Lots of other Piedmont blues artists fit, too - Pink Anderson, e.g. And this comp of early ragtime blues is probably guaranteed to please.

2nding Stefan Grossman as a must; his bio is amazing, including stints studying under Mississippi John Hurt and Gary Davis, and he has a lots of great records to his credit over the last 45 (!) or so years. He's deservedly famous as a longtime performer, teacher and popularizer of ragtime blues from the folks you already like.

You'll probably also enjoy Lonnie Johnson, who had a long and influential career; this collection of 1920s recordings is amazing.
posted by mediareport at 2:28 PM on December 16, 2012 [2 favorites]

Seems to me you want to hear more Piedmont Blues from the Carolinas, Georgia and parts of Alabama. Look up Pink Anderson's son, Little Pink is still out there, and worth a listen. Rev Gary Davis should be on your list, along with his protege Roy Book Binder.

Rory Block is a contemporary blues mistress well in line with what you're seeking.

If you can find any recordings of Gabriel Brown of Florida, he was a very good, lesser known piedmont-style bluesman.

On a whiter note, listen to Doc Watson and his son Merle. Some very good hill-style ragtime.

For completenesses sake I include the following list... from North Carolina look up Blind Boy Fuller and Etta Baker. From South Carolina see: Pink Anderson, Peg Leg Bates and Drink Small. From Georgia see Blind Willie McTell, Barbecue Bob Hicks and Buddy Moss. This should get you going down the rabbit hole of Piedmont Blues.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 5:43 PM on December 16, 2012 [1 favorite]

The starting point for modern ragtime guitar is Dave Laibman and Eric Schoenfeld

Dave Laibman also did Scott Joplin

Stefan Grossman’s guitar workshop has lots of material. He has instructional videos available.

You'll also want to check out Guy Van Duser who branches out into stride. You should listen to Stars and Stripes Forever, Guy's arrangement, performed by Chet Atkins.
posted by blob at 4:55 AM on December 17, 2012

Not ragtime exactly, but I highly recommend the compilation Rural Parlor Guitar -- some of my favorite music in the world.
posted by neroli at 10:24 AM on December 17, 2012

John Fahey doesn't exactly fit into the box of ragtime blues, but was heavily influenced by it. The Yellow Princess or Death Chants, Breakdowns, and Military Waltzes might be a good place to start.
posted by doctord at 11:08 AM on December 18, 2012

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