MUSIC: Ragtime's Father

Some people think that ragtime started with Irving Berlin's Alexander's Ragtime Band. Others, better informed, know that when Berlin's song appeared (1911) ragtime had long since passed its peak.

Nobody knows how old a story ragtime is to the Negroes of the South. But the first man to write ragtime down on paper was a slick-haired Kentuckian, Ben Harney, whose songs Mr. Johnson Turn Me Loose and You've Been a Good Old Wagon, but You've Done Broke Down were hits in the gay 'nineties. Last week 66-year-old Harney, forgotten in the era...

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