Renowned pianist-composer, ragtime pioneer, and raconteur Eubie Blake was 91 years old at the time of this Great American Music Hall. Eubie Blake: So one day I was playing my mother’d gone out to work, see and what she was Look now, the “Charleston Rag,” you take the “Charleston Rag.”. Preview, buy and download songs from the album Eubie Blake: That’s Ragtime! He wrote his first rag, “The Charleston Rag,” in , spent years playing with.
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An interview with a ragtime pioneer, taken from the CD Rom Who Built America, by Roy Rosenzweig and the American Social History Project Ragtime music, with its syncopated, polyrhythmic style, was born, according to cultural historian Robert Snyder, in the s in the black saloons and brothels of southern and midwestern cities like Baltimore and St.
But it also owed a great deal to march music, especially the sort of quasi-military march music most famously associated with John Philip Sousa. It was at the center of American popular music from the end of the nineteenth century until the s.
Ragtime, for most Americans, meant a tinkling piano; and no one played the ragtime piano any better or longer than Eubie Blake.
Blake, a musician, composer, and performer born in Baltimore inpublished his first rags in He met his lifelong friend and collaborator, Noble Sissle, the following year.
Eubie Blake – Charleston Rag
When she caught him playing a ragtime tune, she usually ordered him out the door with the stern warning: A transcript of this interview is included below.
She really made you stop.
Yes, wouldn’t let me play. Well, why did she. I mean why did she think it was. Because ragtime was blae. See it was out of the houses of ill repute, or bordellos, I guess that’s a better word, and it was low, low, low.
It was considered low music, see. It wasn’t, it wasn’t art, see. You think it was simply because it was blaake in this sporting district.
In the sporting district. Or because they thought there was something wrong with the music itself? No, not the music, because from whence it came.
I mean were you close enough to that that you could tell us about it? Now you see when I first start to play in these houses, see, it must have been around nineteen hundred. So you were about fifteen. I used to have to go across to the pool room.
A guy named Rab Walker, he ran the pool room. And I got a pair of long pants to put on, you see, because I can’t go in this house with short pants on, see. The pants come way up here, Max, way up here and roll up, and I go and play.
The woman paid me three dollars a week. But she never paid me nothing because I made tips. Boy, sometimes I’d make seven and eight, ten dollars, see? I’ve been lucky all my life: I’ve always made good money. So, I’d take the guys to the theater, to the burlesque theater. They’d go up chrleston the gallery, you know.
Sounds of Africa (Charleston Rag), Eubie Blake | Repertoire | Amherst Saxophone Quartet
If I’d take fifteen guys I’d spend. So the lady next door, Harp’s mother.
When they heard that I was playing, then my mother said, this woman. She says, “What time?
You’d sneak out of the house at night. Sneak out of the house and go get my long pants and put’em on, see. Then I’d come back and put’em back, see. Twenty-five cents I had to pay him. And my mother says, “Oh, it couldn’t have charlestkn him, that boy went to bed at nine o’clock. Go right out the alley and go across the street, get my long pants, put’em on, go up to Aggie Shelton’s to work.
Well, I worked up there for about three or four months. Then I went down on what they call the line: That was Annie Gilly’s and I played down there. That’s where the man come and got me to play for the. Can you remember when you were playing piano at Aggie Shelton’s, for instance?
I mean can you remember the style that you were playing then? I have never changed my style of playing in my life, see. Oh now, come on, because you’ve studied music ever since All right but, but when I play ragtime I have never changed my style. You know people say, “Today, you charlezton. You can’t tell because they all play alike. Whoever makes a big hit, then the guy follows that guy, see. I’ll play like him, see?
Eubie Blake: That’s Ragtime! (Extended Version) by Eubie Blake on iTunes
So they have no style, very few have a style of their own. Now I’ve been playing. Look now, the “Charleston Rag,” you take the “Charleston Rag. Ladies and Gentlemen, that’s Ragtime!