Title: Frog Legs: Ragtime Era Favorites
Release Date: 2008
License: CC0 / Public Domain
Label: Kazoom Zoom
This is a fun review to write. In fact, it’s twice the fun because I get to talk about both this netlabel, and the music in this release.
First, Kazoom Zoom was a real find for me. Well, it would be a real find for me if I had kids. I don’t, but I think most people who are parents will be interested in this label. It’s a netlabel specifically for Creative Commons / Public Domain music for kids. But, since it’s inception, they seem to have diversified a bit into other areas, like activities for kids, and videos, etc. Which is really cool to have all the these materials available for children, and have them available under Creative Commons licenses.
Now, this music release is targeted for children, but it isn’t specifically children’s material. Ragtime music originated back in the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. It is mostly associated with saloons and the red-light districts of New Orleans and St. Louis. (If you see a bit of irony here, it’s not lost on me either.) It became popular due to its use of syncopation which gave it a ragged rhythmic feel. And, let’s face it, there was more than a bit of virtuosity that many of the performers brought to the style that made it even more attractive.
The folks at Kazoom Zoom have managed to collect recordings from old cylinder and 78 rpm records, player piano roll recordings, and even had an artist digitally realize one of the pieces for them. All of the major Ragtime artists are here: Scott Joplin, Percy Wenrich, Gilbert and Friedland, just to name a few.
And it is a fun recording. I’ve meant to compile a good set of Ragtime music for a while, and this recording is a good starting place. It definitely fulfills my immediate desire to have some ragtime music in my collection, and it’s even better knowing that it has been packaged under a Creative Commons (CC0) license.
While this release has actually been available for a few years now (since 2008), I think it is a worthy and fine addition to any collection that seeks to have a good, diverse range of music available. It’s doubly attractive in that you don’t have to go digging through archives to find the songs, although for some that might be a better approach if you want a more expansive collection of Ragtime music.
[Note: The Internet Archive web page lists the license as CC BY-NC-SA, despite my original listing as CC0. Since all these recordings are pre-1920, I’m sticking with the CC0 / Public Domain entry above.]