The Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra
San Diego, California

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Ragtime, Early Jazz and Blues Research



Here is a collection of links to original research by members of the Heliotrope Ragtime Orchestra.


George and Hersal Thomas, blues and boogie-woogie pioneers
by Bob Pinsker
This started in 2006 as a World War I Draft Registration Card essay for my friend Mike Meddings, the British musicologist, Jelly Roll Morton expert, and piano roll authority, for his excellent set of webpages. Mike had previously commissioned such draft card essays from me about Roy Bargy and James P. Johnson (see links below),  but my essay on the Thomas brothers quickly grew beyond the bounds that Mike had set for these short essays on that webpage. So I never quite finished it or submitted what I had to Mike for publication on that site. After Mike's untimely passing in 2013, I was able to locate a few more documents that had not been available in the middle of the previous decade which solved a few more long-standing mysteries, and I posted the essay on the HRO webpages in 2016. The webpage is set up exactly in the format Mike Meddings used on the draft card essay pages of his essential website, as a tribute to the memory of my friend Mike.



Roy Bargy and James P. Johnson, draft registration card essays
by Bob Pinsker
Here are two of the earlier WWI Draft Registration card essays I had written for Mike Meddings in 2005-2007.



That Moaning Saxophone
The Six Brown Brothers and the Dawning of a Musical Craze
by Bruce Vermazen
HRO co-leader Bruce Vermazen's magnum opus, published by the Oxford University Press in 2004. When your book wins the 2005 ARSC Best Research in Recorded Popular Music Award and gets blurbs from Ed Berlin, R. Crumb, and Brian Rust, you know you really achieved something extraordinary!