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They All Played Ragtime - The True Story of an American Music Format Kindle
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The book, itself, is of major importance to our understanding of ragtime history. It was published in 1950 and its story has, in many respects, been supplanted by more recent research and writings. But it was an inspiration for ragtime fans from 1950 on, and remains an irreplaceable source for information about many of the original ragtimers interviewed by Blesh and Janis. Our knowledge of ragtime, its culture, and the history of that time, would be greatly lessened without this book.
Ragtime: A Musical and Cultural History
King of Ragtime: Scott Joplin and His Era
Originally published in 1950, the book does contain certain factual errors uncovered by later research, and there is at times more of a personal point of view flavor that subsequent histories try to avoid. These slight defects are more than compensated by the fact that Blesh and Janis were actually able to interview many people who lived through the Ragtime era (e.g., Scott Joplin's widow), inlcuding some notable practitioners of the style (e.g., Eubie Blake, among others). In the course of collecting material for the book, Blesh and Janis also re-discovered ragtime great Joe Lamb, alive and well, and persuaded him to start writing rags again, which he had given up years before. Lamb is frequently cited as one of the "big three" of ragtime, the others being Scott Joplin and James Scott.
No other history of ragtime published since has brought the same level of direct, first person perspective to the era, making this a book that every serious lover of ragtime should own.
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