Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Pre-Season Share: Jo Ann Castle

How about another 'pre-season' share, here the day before Thanksgiving?  Actually, this is one of the records I'm most excited about, partly because the Christmas song was totally unexpected, and partly because the album is so great.

"Ragtime Melodies" by Jo Ann Castle was a find at a Savers thrift store last year.  There were three albums by Ms. Castle for a buck each, and I was intrigued, so I bought them and then stored them away for a few months.  Earlier this year I put one on the record player, and as it was playing I heard a familiar tune, familiar in the 'Christmas melody' sense.  Indeed, Jo Ann Castle's song "Skater's Boogie" is a ragtime piano performance of the classic seasonal song "Skater's Waltz".

And what a performance!  Talk about your upbeat songs - holy ghost of Scott Joplin!  "Skater's Boogie" is driven by a left-hand rhythm that is at super speed, with the syncopated melody blasting from the right hand.  Wow!

Because of the Christmas connection, I'm sharing this out for you all.  The whole album is great, featuring songs such as "Frog Legs Rag", "Bring Back the Old Hurdy Gurdy", and "Maple Leaf Rag".  

Jo Ann Castle's main claim to fame is that she was a featured pianist on the Lawrence Welk Show for several years in the 1960s.  Here is a video of her performing "You Are My Sunshine" on Welk's program.  This is amazing - she spends 90% of the time smiling for the camera or glancing toward the band, with just a few peeks at the piano.  Man!

There are several other videos of Jo Ann Castle showing her ragtime skills on Youtube.  I find them fascinating - what talent!

So - please enjoy Jo Ann Castle!

Jo Ann Castle Ragtime Melodies download link

1 comment: