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100 years ago: Temptation Rag, Fred Van Eps

Listening: Temptation Rag (mp3) performed by Fred Van Eps and Albert Benzler in 1909, graciously provided by the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project, found on the Facebook page for the Cylinder Preservation and Digitization Project.

To put it in historical context, ragtime was getting long in the tooth but wasn’t over the hill yet. Pop was morphing into a rowdier, hotter, and blacker form. Lynchings were at their height. Blackface minstrelsy was still common but was a style for older people. Blacks were abandoning the banjo en masse; the saxophone was hip; brass military bands were becoming New Orleans -style second lines. The reigning white banjo virtuoso Vess Ossman was declining and Fred Van Eps was taking his place.

2 replies on “100 years ago: Temptation Rag, Fred Van Eps”

Just ventured into the world of 4 string plectrum banjo and loving it. Not much call for teachers of players of this banjo over in Perth Western Australia, but who cares I am having a good time.

Any teaching aids or help you can offer would be of great help.

George Martin

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