Brun Campbell: The Original Ragtime Kid

Brun Campbell: The Original Ragtime Kid

by Larry Karp

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At fifteen, Sanford Brunson Campbell (1884-1952) became enchanted with the new sounds of ragtime and ran away from his rural Kansas home, hopping a train to Sedalia, Missouri, determined to take piano lessons from a black musician he had never met. Scott Joplin nicknamed his white protege "The Ragtime Kid." A composer and entertainer at the dawn of the ragtime era, "Brun" was a prime mover in the ragtime revival of the 1940s and helped establish Joplin's prominence as one of America's most innovative composers. Campbell's own legacy was tarnished by his inability to tell a straight story and he was often dismissed as a liar and a clown. Based on his memoirs, musical compositions and correspondence with music industry notables, this first comprehensive biography of Campbell reveals an engaging storyteller and a devotee wholly dedicated to a musical genre that had been largely forgotten. His firsthand account of life as an itinerant pianist in the Midwest provides a unique picture of life a century ago.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476623832
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 04/06/2016
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 260
File size: 4 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

The late Larry Karp practiced perinatal medicine for 25 years, specializing in the care of high-risk pregnancies. His publications include eight mystery novels, a children’s book and three works of nonfiction. He lived in Seattle, Washington.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix
Introduction 1
I. When Ragtime Was Young 9
Ragtime in the Red Light Districts 55
“My Girl Taffy” 58
II. When the Ragtime Kid Grew Old 64
Interlude 64
1943: Hal’s Pal 72
1944: Pedal to the Metal 83
1945: A Shift in the Wind 97
1946–1947: The Pen Is Mightier Than the Pest 116
1948: The Kid at the Crossroads 123
1949–1952: Last Act: Spotlight on The Kid 134
III. Short Pieces 148
Otis Saunders and “The Maple Leaf Rag” 148
The Maple Leaf Rag 151
The First Ragtime Circuit 154
The Original Hot Men of the 90s 156
Ragtime in the Red Light Districts 169
How About You? 172
Cavalcade of Jazz, or “The ­Two-Four Beat” 174
It Has to Be Ragtime 178
Not the ­Best-Case Scenario: Scott Joplin and His “Maple Leaf Rag” 180
Joplin Biography 181
IV. Brun Campbell: An Appreciation 185
V. Recalibrating Brun: The 1940s Musical Composition by Richard Egan 191
The Rag 193
The Blues 196
The Love Songs 199
The Love Songs of Harold A. Campbell 202
Conclusion 204
Appendix 1: Musical Works by Brun Campbell 207
Appendix 2: Writings and Readings 213
Appendix 3: When Ragtime Was Young and When the Ragtime Kid Grew Old: Brun’s Organizational Variations 219
Appendix 4: Transcripts of Hal Nichols’ Memories ’N Melodies Radio Shows 223
Appendix 5: Interview of Cecil Charles Spiller by Galen Wilkes, January 26, 1992 231
Appendix 6: Brun Campbell Family Tree 241
Index 243

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