The Music of Charles Leslie Johnson: A Collector's Journey

Front Cover
Aquila Media Productions, 2009 - History - 192 pages
Charles Leslie Johnson composed, arranged, or published over 300 songs during his long career. He showed that he was well-connected with the American public, giving them whatever was current from the 1890's until his death in 1950 by producing a variety of musical styles: cakewalks, rags, tangos, waltzes, ballads, and novelty songs. This gifted musician brought his music and that of others to the Kansas City music scene and the American public in general. At a time when interest in ragtime was waning, his 1906 rag, Dill Pickles, was credited with extending the life of ragtime by nearly 10 years. His career turned to gold when Sweet and Low sold over a million copies. Stewart offers a comprehensive biography of Johnson's life and music as revealed through a thorough and painstaking collection of his music, and he makes a compelling case for Johnson's placement in the top 5 ragtime composers of all time. As the authorized biographer, Stewart also offers a number of photos and other Johnson memorabilia collected from Johnson's family and Kansas City resources. An additional value comes at the end of the book with complete lists and indices of Johnson's published and unpublished works as well as a listing of the works of other composers by the Chas. L. Johnson Publishing Company. Printed in full color, it presents over 200 images of Johnson music in the beautiful art deco and art nouveau style of the period. At one time or another, the works of many well-known artists of the period (Starmer, Chilberg, Frew, Pfeiffer, Rosebud, Barbelle, or Van Doorn Morgan) graced the covers of his music. Ultimately, the book shows a slice of American music, art, and life from the tumultuous turn of the century through World War II. This book will delight music enthusiasists and collectors alike.

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