The Playlist • Vess Ossman Ragtime Banjo Classics (1907–1911)


VESS L. OSSMAN: Maple Leaf Rag  (Joplin)

New York: Original release June 1907
United A228  (mx. 3626 – 1)

Accompanied by studio orchestra (probably Charles A. Prince, director). Original issue was on single-sided Columbia 3626. This is among the earliest known recordings of “Maple Leaf Rag,” probably preceded only by the U.S. Marine Band’s October 1906 version for Victor. (Parke Hunter’s supposed 1903 recording, listed in Jasen’s Recorded Ragtime and other discographies, is actually of an unrelated non-ragtime piece, the “Maple Leaf March”.)


VESS L. OSSMAN: Buffalo Rag  (Turpin)

New York: March 1, 1909
Victor 16779  (mx. B 6848 – )

The accompanying pianist is unidentified on the labels and in the Victor files. There is no documentary evidence that the pianist was Theodore Morse, contrary to some discographies. Two takes were issued (take numbers don’t appear in the pressings).


VESS L. OSSMAN: St. Louis Tickle  (Bennett, as “Barney & Seymore”)

New York: Released January 1911
Columbia A937  (mx. 4919 – 1)

Accompanied by studio orchestra (probably Charles A. Prince, director). The second strain is an old tune of questionable authorship, which might explain why Theron C. Bennett published pseudonymously. St. Louis pianist Joe Jordan recalled it as “Judge Fogarty,” and Jelly Roll Morton reworked it as “I Thought I Heard Buddy Bolden Say.”


Details on these and thousands of other ragtime 78s and cylinders (1897-1955) can be found in The Ragtime Discography, available as a CD (with 98 MP3 files and 50 sheet-music covers in color), available exclusively from Mainspring Press.


Friday’s Playlist (Aug 2) • Nap Hayes & Matthew Prater

Our 400th Post



NAP HAYES (guitar) & MATTHEW PRATER (mandolin): Somethin’ Doin’ [Something Doing]

Memphis: February 15, 1928
Okeh 45231  (mx. W 400241-B)
A reworking of the 1903 Scott Joplin–Scott Hayden rag, “Something Doing”


NAP HAYES (guitar) & MATTHEW PRATER (mandolin): Nothin’ Doin’

Memphis: February 15, 1928
Okeh 45231  (mx. W 400243-B)


NAP HAYES (guitar) & MATTHEW PRATER (mandolin): Prater Blues

Memphis: February 15, 1928
Okeh 8708  (mx. W 400244-A)