"The Spaghetti Rag" (1910) by Bob Yosco and George Lyons
(notes by John Cowles, 1/30/96) [ close window ]
Composed in 1910 by Bob Yosco, a mandolinist, and George Lyons, a harpist, this was long a staple of
their vaudeville act. The most famous recording was done in an arrangement for harp, tenor banjo and tuba
by Robert Maxwell on MGM and Tempo records in the fifties (reissued by Yazoo records on their "String
Ragtime" L-1045), but it was also recorded by such folks as Beatrice Kay, Jack Fina, and Frankie Carle.
The music is stereotypical 'tin pan alley' ragtime and is quite reminiscent of Charles L. Johnson's
"Dill Pickles Rag". Unlike most rag music of the time, this rag actually has dynamics markings
as well as indications of tempo changes.
Interestingly, Bob Yosco's name is spelled "Josco" on the first page of the music (this may, in fact,
have been his real name, but no one knows for sure - everything else he published is
"Yosco"), and so it is often attributed to "Josco". Also, although it was published in
1910, it was not copywrited until 1911, so the date is often wrong as well. Lyons and Yosco made recordings
during the teens for Victor, and even though some of the music is quite raggy, they inexplicably never released
their own recording of "Spaghetti Rag". Dave Jasen and Trebor Tichenor, in their book "Rags and
Ragtime, a Musical History" note that the rag was not popular at all until it was rediscovered during
the fifties ragtime revival.
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