The 1960s ragtime revival was the coming of age of a generation of fingerpicking guitarists. In ragtime, they found a music that was vastly challenging, great fun to play, and one that adapted well to the instrument. These were, for the most part, players who had taken up the guitar during the '60s folk revival and learned how to fingerpick Elizabeth Cotten or John Hurt tunes and were looking for more demanding material. Ragtime more than filled the bill - even 'easy' guitar ragtime is a workout.
The first guitar ragtime recording, by Dave Laibman and Eric Schoenberg, was released in the late 60s and shows how high a level of skill young fingerpickers had reached in their attempts to master the idiom. This present collection features arrangements by a slightly younger Europeans inspired by Laibman, Schoenberg and Stefan Grossman. The Swedish team of Johansson and Palmqvist are possibly the most accomplished guitar duo to play ragtime. As with tennis, playing duos requires a particular skill.
Two Dutch soloists are presented here - Ton Van Bergeyk and Leo Wijnkamp Jr. - two of the finest fingerpicking virtuosi of the day. The United Kingdom is represented by Welshman John James, who has gone on to a very active career on the British folk scene and Englishman Ton Engels, who has, like most of the performers here, gone off into other pursuits. This is also true of the fine Canadian guitarist, Jim McLennan. Dick Fegy has remained very much on the scene as David Bromberg's most dependable bandmember over the years, playing mandolin, fiddle, banjo, and acoustic and electric guitars. He is also a first-rate solo fingerpicker, as you will hear. He must toss off Paganini encores in his spare time!