CD Review: Adam Swanson – Revival Ragtime – by Bob Everhart for Country Music News International Magazine & Radio Show


Revival Ragtime

– Friday Night Stomp – Gold Bar Rag – One For The Road – Show-Me Rag –
Deep In The Ozarks – Brun Campbell Express – Little Wabash Special –
Luscious Slices – Marzipan – Flypaper Rag – Ragapples – Tango Fredette –
A Novice Novelty – The Strater Shuffle – Sutter Creek Crawl –
Balderdash – Blue Sahara – Over The Top – Elephant Tracks

This is one
of the most interesting and rewarding ‘ragtime’ albums I’ve ever
listened to.  Adam Swanson is on to a good thing, especially the
gathering together of ‘contemporary’ ragtime artists, and doing their
original compositions.  This of course eliminates the father of it all,
Scott Joplin, still, Adam goes to 20’s ragtimer Joseph Lamb to open this
interesting ‘concert’ approach CD.  Maybe playing ‘The Entertainer” so
many times Adam might be starting to dislike the song, however he has
taken the listener on a whole new approach to ragtime music.  He closes
this classic album with another super composer, Tom Bier, self
admittedly wondering how ragtime piano music would have developed had
‘jazz’ interfered with the evolution of the genre.  Good
question.  I want to stress the many great ragtime composers Adam
Swanson has paid tribute to on this wonderful CD.  Max March, Joseph
Lamb, Trebor Tichenor, Johnny Maddox, Kylan deGhetaldi, Ian Whitcomb,
Tom Brier, Bob Milne, Tom Shea, Bill Edwards, and none other than the
great Iowa ragtimer, Marty Mincer, who is a co-composer of ‘Ragapples’
with Bill Edwards. This ‘kind’ of music automatically takes the listener
back into time, steamboats, old time taverns, opera houses, sometimes
even a house of ill repute.  But that’s where the music was so popular,
and managed to make it possible for the players of it, to survive.  I
enjoyed listening to “Deep In The Ozarks” which I would have thought
would have been a little more Scott Joplinish, because that is the State
of Missouri where he was from, and yes it cleverly sneaks in at the
main lines of the song.  I really enjoyed “Brun Campbell Express” which
definitely has a little Joplin in the ‘creation’ process which is
cleverly located in between a rather strange chording structure. 
Totally enjoyable.  Adams own compositions are also very nicely
created.  on “A Novice Novelty” he stays on the high keys, keeping them
tinkling and twinkling throughout.  However his second contribution
composition “The Strater Shuffle” keeps his left hand on the ‘standard’
Joplin ‘style,’ but his right hand lead lines are absorbent and easy to
listen to. This is a nicely done ‘heritage’ style of musical
presentation, completely well done, completely easy to listen to,
completely a very high standard for any pianist to aspire to.  Nice job
Adam, five stars.  Off this amazing piece of musical thrill goes to the
Rural Roots Music Commission for their appraisal.  Yes Adam, ragtime was
also popular in rural America, even Iowa, and still is. RECORD REVIEW BY BOB EVERHART, President, National Traditional Country Music Association for Country Music News International

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