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Length: approx. 2½ mins.
The front cover of the original sheet music proudly proclaims that Down Home Rag
is the "Greatest Tango, One Step and Trot of them all". Considering how often this piece has been recorded perhaps such a claim is not immodest - indeed Sweatman enjoyed income from it for the rest of his career. The cover is also graced by the dance-duo Maurice and Florence Walton. He recorded it himself under Victor Record No. 35359. Its form is AABBAACCDDC with a 4-bar introduction and a 4-bar interlude between the A- and C-strains. The strains have an unusual, for ragtime that is, 8-bar length written in common time instead of the general 16-bars in 2/4 resulting in a not-quite ragtime style An early bridge to jazz which other composers would later follow suit. This adaptation for recorder quintet is an all tenor/bass affair in which the 1st tenor has a wonderful solo - the C-stain in particular is both beautiful and difficult due to the melody being at the bottom of the instruments range.
If the result is too soft then the 3rd tenor (who in any case would just be bar-counting) may be gainfully occupied in doubling the 1st tenor. A lovely composition! The original spelling of Wilber C.S. Sweatman in the interest of historical rectitude has been retained in the score and parts although there is no other evidence that he had another middle name.
Down Home Rag
was published by Will Rossiter
, Chicago, Illinois, USA.
A tempo of 150 crotchets/min. is suggested.