Released in 2004, MUSIC OF THE 1904 ST. LOUIS WORLD'S FAIR: MEET ME AT THE FAIR is precisely that--a sampling of music you might have heard at that event, all of it the popular style of the day: ragtime. This not, however, a vintage recording; both performers and technology are modern. 'Perfesser' Bill Edwards does most of the honors, with nine tracks to his credit; others include Trebor Tichenor, The Paragon Ragtime Orchestra, The New Century Ragtime Orchestra, and The New Columbian Brass Band.
Of particular interest is a version of "Meet Me In St. Louis" taken from a vintage piano roll, sharp-toned and jaunty. But much the same terms can be used to describe every selection; ragtime possessed a quality that in its time was sometimes described as "the devil's music" in much the same way that rock and roll was described in the 1960s. The tempos are strict, but the play of music is enlivening, to say the least.
"Meet Me In St. Louis" and "Stars and Stripes" aside, the best known selection on the recording is by far Scott Joplin's "The Entertainer"--and Joplin, easily the most famous name in ragtime, is represented four times more with "The Favorite, "The Cascades," "The Peacherine Rag," and my own favorite among his works, "The Sunflower Slow Drag."
Modern listeners may find the strictness of the ragtime style a bit too formal for their tastes, but if you are interested in exploring the style you couldn't do better than this particular sampling, with each piece played to perfection. Recommended.
GFT, Amazon Reviewer