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Josh Rifkin, Dave Van Ronk, and others

GUEST,Uncle Fred 22 Nov 11 - 09:28 PM
treewind 23 Nov 11 - 02:02 PM
Will Fly 23 Nov 11 - 02:29 PM
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Subject: Josh Rifkin, Dave Van Ronk, and others
From: GUEST,Uncle Fred
Date: 22 Nov 11 - 09:28 PM

I read Jac Holzman's "Follow the Music" several times. Between Jac and Josh they did some astounding things in the music world. I came to a thought that brain won't turn loose from. If you read the Wikipedia piece on "Ragtime", they give due credit to the fact that the Scott Joplin rags by Josh had enormous influence. But, before this project came into being, there were finger-pickers of steel string acoustic guitars who were dying to dig into ragtime- Dave Van Ronk probably spent weeks in the woodshed figuring out Maple Leaf Rag. Then there was the St. Louis Tickle. The pure truth is, there were guys that bought the sheet music of Joplin Rags and went looking for piano sight readers so they could HEAR what the piece sounded like so they could play Scott Joplin on their guitar. I don't know Joshua Rifkin, if I did I'd ask him. Was there not somebody who said, "Josh, play me this here rag so I can hear what it's sposta sound like." In other words, I think it was instigated by Van Ronk and other finger-pickers.

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Subject: RE: Josh Rifkin, Dave Van Ronk, and others
From: treewind
Date: 23 Nov 11 - 02:02 PM

When I was a student in about 1972 a friend of mine decided he was going to get heavily into ragtime as it was a form of music that was ripe for revival. Infected with his enthusiasm, I tried to learn Maple leaf Rag and a few others from recordings made from pianola rolls... Only months later all those Joshua Rifkin recordings came out, and shortly after that, and I would guess not by chance, The New York Library printed all of Scott Joplin's works in a big book (all except one piece for which they had a copyright problem, I believe) I still have my copy of that book.
Don't forget that the movie The Sting also came out around then, and featured Joplin's The Entertainer as theme music.

Yeah, you're right - it could well be that somebody like Van Ronk said something to Rifkin that dropped the hint there might be a market for those recordings.

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Subject: RE: Josh Rifkin, Dave Van Ronk, and others
From: Will Fly
Date: 23 Nov 11 - 02:29 PM

As far as I'm concerned, the real pioneers of ragtime guitar - inspired and urged on by Van Ronk were Dave Laibman and his cousin Eric Schoenberg. Their "New Ragtime Guitar" album of 1971 was, for me, a seminal album. Laibman dipped out of the spotlight to pursue an academic career for many years, while Schoenberg set up as a guitar maker.

I heard an amateur recording of Laibman - made when he was an exchange student at Oxford (UK) - where he was playing "Orange Blossom Special" with alternating bass at breakneck speed. Astounding. And I believe it was a certain Mr. Greg Stephens of Boat Band fame and Mudcat who played that recording to me in his flat in Lancaster...

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