Ragtime Annie | Bowing Down Home

About this tune

Ragtime Annie is one of several tunes generally associated with the southern US tradition that are in extensive circulation on PEI: some others include Arkansas Traveler, Jubilo aka Kingdom Comin’, Mississipipi Sawyer, and Turkey in the Straw. The tune is so firmly esconsed in the Island repertoire that most fiddlers were quite surprised when informed of its US roots.

The precise origins of Ragtime Annie are obscure, but it was first recorded in 1923 by Texas fiddler Eck Robertson. It has since been recorded scores of times by various American and Canadian artists. Don Messer also recorded the tune, which may have had a role in disseminating the tune among Island fiddlers.

The original recordings of Ragtime Annie featured three parts: a low and high turn in D, and what amounts to a “bridge” section in G. As seems to be the case throughout North America, some Island fiddlers play just the two D turns, and others (such as Peter Doiron and Dave Thomson) play the full three-part version.

Of special interest: Victor Doucette’s version is brimming with West Prince flavor; Harry Lecky’s approach to syncopation makes his rendition sound like it had been recorded directly from a 1930s-era Southern US radio broadcast.

Notation is available on this site for Victor Doucette’s version of Ragtime Annie.