The first track, Steeplechase Rag, is a very precise rendering, obviously of a piano roll but is nevertheless exciting. The second has more of the feel of the individual rather than the mechanical piano. The version of Carolina Shout, the third track, is the 1921 QRS piano roll which conveys much more than the first two tracks the individual playing of Johnson. It would have been interesting to have on the CD for comparison the 1917 version which is played in a much more attacking, sharper and rougher way.
The tracks from thereon continue to give a good feel for the Johnson style of playing and sound less like piano rolls, the nuances of his playing coming through. The variation in speed of some of the passages in Harlem Rag is fascinating and shows how accurate the cutting process was.
The first two tracks are from Universal and Metro-Art rolls respectively; all the others are by QRS. A worthwhile CD, to be recommended, which gives a good feel for Johnson's playing towards the beginning of his career without the distortion which can come from the early pre-electric recording process of some of the record companies.