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Friday, August 24, 2007

A coarse approximation

We got this from Mr. F. C. Ware the other day. I think it's best to let Mr. Ware describe it himself:

Cartoonist and Walt and Skeezix co-editor Chris Ware fakes his way through a wretchedly "low-fi" home recording of the 1923 Skeezix song in a coarse approximation of what the average American pianist might've been able to make of this completely forgotten composition 75 years ago. He does not honor the repeats, nor does anyone sing the lyrics; however, a complete pdf of the sheet music may be downloaded here.

Partially penned by popular ragtime composer Egbert Van Alstyne (who also wrote the well-known "In the Shade of the Old Apple Tree" as well as sharing dubious co-credit with Afro-American composer and performer Tony Jackson for the jazz (ne⁄ ragtime) standard "Pretty Baby".) This song was apparently never phonographically recorded, at least until now. The circumstances surrounding King's association with the composers are uncertain, but King clearly drew the cover artwork. (It should also be noted that Jerome Remick was one of the most respectable publishers of popular songs of his day.) Other tunes based on cartoon characters were not uncommon, including "Bringing Up Father in Society" (1918), King's friend and colleague Sidney Smith's "Oh! Min" (1918) and the "Andy Gump Fox Trot" (1923) and, of course, the still-sung "Barney Google" (1923).

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