RED HOT RAGTIME, VOL 1, JOHNNY MADDOX
by David Reffkin, Director, The American Ragtime Ensemble; Producer/Host, "The Ragtime Machine" (KUSF, San Francisco)
The name Johnny Maddox is about as close as there is to a brand name in the revival of ragtime music of the 1950s and '60s. This CD reissue is the first in a series that includes some of the great recordings of Maddox's LPs, with a healthy sampling of the staples of ragtime music, both from the original era and the later years of pop music in the ragtime genre. The first track is the now famous "Crazy Otto Medley", and it's the logical choice to lead off the series. Formed from a number of composers, it is the perfect mood setter for what's to come.
Along the way we get to hear once again such Maddox classics as his rendition of "San Antonio Rose", "Yes Sir! That's My Baby", and "Beer Barrel Polka." The classic rag of Scott Joplin, "The Entertainer", and contemporaneous "Red Wing" of Kerry Mills hark back to earlier times. As always with Johnny's play lists, there is a nice mixture of the unexpected but perfectly appropriate, such as "Music! Music! Music!" and the light classic entry "The Glow Worm", by the German composer of cakewalks and ragtime, Paul Lincke.
Maddox's light-hearted approach and even glimpses of humor are spread throughout his music. Try the famous musical fable, "Frankie and Johnny" (no relation!) that includes at the end a couple of the best piano-played gun shots I've heard. Johnny Maddox is really at the top in this music, the result of vast knowledge, research, enthusiasm and, of course, terrific musicianship.