A few days ago on my way home I noticed a new (to me) person with an interesting acoustic guitar setting up at Montgomery BART. It was enough to make me linger a bit. He started right in with some well-rounded, well-articulated ragtime song. And with rag being one of my true joys, I knew I had to stick around.
Craig Ventresco for the last five or so years has been playing at an SF restaurant, I gather with at least one other musician. This night that gig ended and he decided to try his hand with the commuters. Here we have what he calls the Margie Medley, comprised of two popular songs from the early '20s, Margie and Singin' The Blues. Both tunes were written in part by J. Russel Robinson and Con Conrad. In 1919, Robinson, a ragtime pianist and composer, would join the Original Dixieland Jazz Band, a seminal jazz group that recorded these tunes for the first time - also in medley form - in 1920 for the Victor label. Margie would prove to be a hit, and in time become a standard that was covered by many including the cornetist Bix Biederbecke in 1927, and later, John Coltrane. Craig is playing a custom made Fraulini guitar.