KING OF RAGS                                          ERIC BRONSON
Posted: Oct. 22, 2013

King of Rags by Eric Bronson When music publisher John Stark first heard Scott Joplin play his piano, he knew that ragtime was the music of hope for a new America. "If you are alive to impulse, you felt the ground wave under your feet, and you dropped into sublime reverie," he wrote in 1904. But neither Stark nor anyone else knew that Joplin would never be content with popularity and fame.

Inspired by Booker T. Washington and the Dahomeyan defeat in West Africa, Joplin committed himself to racial justice fifty years before his time. But due to this earnest pursuit, he was later ignored by the masses for writing political music, and shunned by a new generation of artists for championing a life in rags.

In King of Rags, Eric Bronson shines a lyrical light on the tragic life of Scott Joplin and his fellow ragtime musicians throughout their frantic transformation of the seedy and segregated underbelly of comedians, conmen and prostitutes who called America’s most vibrant cities home.


I really enjoyed this story about Scott Joplin. A man who for the most part is forgotten in most areas of music. When the movie the Sting came out that music was his. That music being rag time. But like many musicians he was trained in classical music but came to make money writing ragtime. His lifelong dream was to have a musical on Broadway but that was not to be. It also lead him to an early grave and to end up giving music away for nothing. This is his story the people are real maybe the conversations might not have been exactly but you get the feel of the story. Of the musician trying to make his own way and his own music. He died so young still wanting to have a musical done that it was hard for him to give up until he died. A fantastic story about a forgotten man.

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