Red Hot Ragtime 1 & 2
Last updated: 18.12.19
CD(s) [Amazon: flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif flag15ca.gif flag15it.gif flag15es.gif ]
Label: Crazy Otto Music
Release Date: 03 December, 2002
See Back Home in Tennessee and Cowboys & Indians for contents.
Amazon Review
Red Hot Ragtime, Vol 1, Johnny Maddox (Crazy Otto Music)
By David Reffkin, Director, The American Ragtime Ensemble; Producer/Host, "The Ragtime Machine" (KUSF, San Francisco)
The name Johnny Maddox is about as close as there is to a brand name in the revival of ragtime music of the 1950s and `60s. This CD reissue is the first in a series that includes some of the great recordings of Maddox's LPs, with a healthy sampling of the staples of ragtime music, both from the original era and the later years of pop music in the ragtime genre. The first track is the now famous "Crazy Otto Medley", and it's the logical choice to lead off the series. Formed from a number of composers, it is the perfect mood setter for what's to come.
Along the way we get to hear once again such Maddox classics as his rendition of "San Antonio Rose", "Yes Sir! That's My Baby", and "Beer Barrel Polka." The classic rag of Scott Joplin, "The Entertainer", and contemporaneous "Red Wing" of Kerry Mills hark back to earlier times. As always with Johnny's play lists, there is a nice mixture of the unexpected but perfectly appropriate, such as "Music! Music! Music!" and the light classic entry "The Glow Worm", by the German composer of cakewalks and ragtime, Paul Lincke.<p>Maddox's light-hearted approach and even glimpses of humor are spread throughout his music. Try the famous musical fable, "Frankie and Johnny" (no relation!) that includes at the end a couple of the best piano-played gun shots I've heard. Johnny Maddox is really at the top in this music, the result of vast knowledge, research, enthusiasm and, of course, terrific musicianship.

CD Review: Red Hot Ragtime, Vol 2, Johnny Maddox (Crazy Otto Music)
By David Reffkin, Director, The American Ragtime Ensemble; Producer/Host, "The Ragtime Machine" (KUSF, San Francisco)
Volume 2 in this series picks up with more of the mix of pop sources found in Volume 1. Some of the classics of ragtime arrangements created by Johnny Maddox are included in this 16-track disc. The dynamic opening, "Dixie Medley", is followed by "The Saints" and "Alley Cat", two pieces that will immediately bring to mind the golden era that Maddox helped to define. And it is important to remind the prospective audience, most of whom by now includes a crowd younger than that which lived through the era, that Johnny Maddox was one of the original artists of the genre, helping to define this exciting music that was such an inspiration to the other piano players of the day. When you hear the current crop of ragtime players on the festival or concert scene, you are hearing a number of `students' of Maddox, whether they are playing in the style or became excited about ragtime or piano playing just from hearing Johnny Maddox.
The Crazy Otto Music series is bringing back much of the repertoire previously issued on LP, such as the many Dot recordings that were best sellers. These pieces include not only the big ragtime hits but also the deserving lesser-known titles. A perfect example of the latter would be "Humoresque", the light classic of Antonin Dvorak that underwent a number of `ragtime desecrations' as they used to be called. In Johnny Maddox's hands, not only are the finer elements of the piece all seamlessly tied into a sparkling whole, but through intelligent chord choices and melodic turns of phrase, the performance is distinctive and memorable.
Johnny's 45 albums and 11 million-sales figure, including 9 gold singles, provides the treasure chest of music now being re-released on the Crazy Otto label. Many fans will appreciate having these classic performances back in the form of CD reissues, with the sonically satisfying remasterings from Bay Records' Mike Cogan.