The Electric Rag Band
[31 august 2002]
ome great names from the past: Lonnie Johnson, Arthur
(Blind) Blake, Casey Bill Weldon, Pink Anderson, Blind Boy Fuller,
Kokomo Arnold and Blind Willie McTell.
names represent the pre-war blues period in the twenties and thirties.
Dancing and listening to the Ragtime was a favorite pastime at that
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.
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.
The first two CD's contain excellent sounding
Western-Swing tracks like “Guitar Swing”, “Laughing Rag” (inst),
“Go Ahead Buddy”, “Twelves” and “Big Boat”.
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
Yes, they are a versatile band. And they would
love to tour outside Oklahoma and even outside the USA.