Rag Time St Louis

“I wouldn’t want to forget Targee Street (St Louis) as it was then. I wouldn’t want to forget the high roller Stetson hats of the men or the diamonds

the girls wore in their ears.”  W C Handy

The home of Rag Time,Tom Turpin's Rosebud Saloon on Chestnut Street featured pianists like Scott Joplin, Arthur Marshall and Louis Chauvin.


The syncopated rhythm was taken up by fashionable white society

and disseminated through thousands of 'Rag Time' songs

from New York's newly established Tin Pan Alley.

Rag Time became the form for the offensively racist 'Coon' song craze which coincided with the growing segregation of southern Jim Crow laws.


'I Wonder Where My Easy Rider's Gone?'

By 1912 black vernacular had entered the mainstream through

African American songwriters such as Shelton Brooks and Chris Smith, followed on by Spencer Williams, Clarence Williams, Lucky Roberts,

Perry Bradford, Creamer & Layton and many others.

White folks learned how to be 'sweet daddie's' and 'kid men' and all about that Jelly Roll, Sweet Patootie and 'Jassing'.

The Memphis Blues

By 1910 musicians Frank Stokes, Gus Cannon, 'Furry' Lewis and a young Memphis Minnie were performing in Memphis. W. C. Handy published 'Memphis Blues' in 1912 and 'St Louis Blues' in 1914 - both enormous sheet music 'hits' and immediately recorded. Black artists like Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and Ida Cox toured the South 'shouting' the blues in circus and minstrel tent shows, paving the way for the blues craze of the mid 'teens' when blues were taken up by

white stars such as Al Bernard, Sophie Tucker, Marion Harris and Nora Bayes.

'A Hot Time In The Old Town Tonight'

Babe Connor's Sporting House was the home of 'Ta! Ra! Ra! Boom De Ay!'

'The Bully Of The Town' (1896) worked on the steamboats and levee

Duncan "came up in an elecric car" and shot policeman Brady (1890),

Democrat Party fixer and pimp 'Stack' Lee Shelton killed Billy Lyons (1895)

'Cakewalker' Frankie Baker shot ragtime-pianist beau Al Britt (1899).