Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Elizabeth Cotten - Vastapol

I feel a musical interlude coming on, so here`s a track from You Tube which I heard for the first time only a few minutes ago, but which I consider to be a very fine thing indeed ;

Elizabeth Cotten - Vastapol/Vestapol, posted on You Tube by russelsheartinacage which you can find at ; www.youtube.com .

Pretty much the only the things I know about Elizabeth Cotten is that she was an African American ragtime guitarist and songwriter, born in the late 19th century and  best known for the song Freight Train.

Freight Train was popularised in the UK by skiffle groups who often took it at a very fast pace indeed. A quick return to the original, also on You Tube, show that it`s originator normally treated it as a slow, reflective number and that in fact it deals  with themes of mortality rather than being a jolly number about a train as most people probably imagine.

Years ago I briefly took a bit of an interest in ragtime and my recollection is that a lot of early ragtime composers like Scott Joplin actually intended most of their tunes to be played relatively slowly. Of course, all styles of music evolve, often in quite unexpected ways, but anyone who believes that fast playing and dazzling displays of technique are in keeping with the original spirit of the thing is sadly mistaken.

Anyone, that`s enough of that. Give the track a try, you might like it !

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