The Electric Rag Band

Cover of ...finest ingredients

[31 august 2002]

Some great names from the past: Lonnie Johnson, Arthur (Blind) Blake, Casey Bill Weldon, Pink Anderson, Blind Boy Fuller, Kokomo Arnold and Blind Willie McTell.
These names represent the pre-war blues period in the twenties and thirties. Dancing and listening to the Ragtime was a favorite pastime at that time.
The Electric Rag Band from Tulsa, Oklahoma (USA) tries to recreate the music and the atmosphere from these gay years. Recreate, not copy. They use electric instruments and drums. So, although the band plays rootsmusic, the music does not sound dated.

The Electric Rag Band released three CD's on their own label:
ERB 1000 The Electric Rag Band - 1996
ERB 1001 Too Tight - 1998
ERB 1002 ...Finest Ingredients - 2001

It's hard to put the band's music in one category. You could call it American Folk Music, and maybe that covers it all.
The band was introduced to me as a bluesband, but in Europe the music from the latest CD will probably draw more attention in the Country & Western field.
Three tracks: “Down at Danny's”, “Trash” and “New York City Blues” however are fine bluesrecordings. The last one is a sophisticated, laidback instrumental which I like very much.
On the first CD there's a similar instrumental: “Bull Frog Moan”.

The music from the Electric Rag Band is based on music from the twenties and thirties, but on all three CD's there are strong influences from artists like Merle Travis, Chet Atkins and Hank Williams.
The band used to be a trio (Pat Cook - guitar and vocals, Johnny Walker - Drums, Shane Stewart - Bass) but on 5 tracks they added Karen Naifeh on violin, which makes the music more Country & Western oriented.

Electric Rag Band

The first two CD's contain excellent sounding Western-Swing tracks like “Guitar Swing”, “Laughing Rag” (inst), “Go Ahead Buddy”, “Twelves” and “Big Boat”.
The guitar sounds like a steelguitar, but is probably slideguitar. The solid instrumental side of these tracks reminds me of the sixties recordings from the great steelguitarist Cecil Campbell.
The guitar-intro in “Walkin' My Troubles Away” could have been played by Chuck Berry in the Chess studio's in the 1950's!
Yes, they are a versatile band. And they would love to tour outside Oklahoma and even outside the USA.