Appalachia Music

Ragtime Annie

the pressley girls music

Ragtime Annie is a fairly common fiddle tune-its catchy beat makes it easy to see why the tune has stood the test of time. Not to mention the fact that it’s rhythm is perfect for the feet on the dance floor.

The Fiddler’s Companion website has some interesting information about the song’s history:

  • The earliest appearance of “Ragtime Annie” that can be documented, in print or otherwise, is the recording by Texas fiddler Eck Robertson (along with Henry C. Gilliland) in 1923, and a few years later by the Texas duo Solomon and Hughes. Robertson’s release was backed with “Turkey in the Straw.” “Ragtime Annie” was later recorded for the Library of Congress by musicologist/folklorist Vance Randolph from Ozark Mountain fiddlers in the early 1940’s.
  • “Ragtime Annie” was the first tune learned by itinerant West Virginia fiddler John Johnson (1916-1996), originally from Clay County, from fiddler Dorvel Hill who lived in a coal-mining town called Pigtown, not far from Clay, W.Va. Left handed fiddler Walter Melton played all three parts at square dances around Dunbar, W.Va., in the 1930s.
    “I was bashful back then and wouldn’t go in anybody’s house hardly. I’d sit on the railroad and listen to Dorvel play the fiddle at night. And I learned most all of Dorvel’s tunes. I just set down there and listened to all his tunes and then go home and play them.” (Michael Kline, Mountains of Music, John Lilly ed. 1999).

The Fiddler’s Companion website also discusses all the various ways and parts to play the song-and let me tell you they are varied! Take a listen to our version.


We recently added Ragtime Annie to our line-up for performances. We’ve been playing the song for several years, but it was one that Chitter sometimes wanted to play and sometimes claimed she wasn’t a good enough fiddler to figure it out. We’d always tell her that was hogwash, but she had to gain her own confidence on playing the song.

I actually wrote about her frustration over the song a few years back. I’ll always remember the way Pap encouraged her on the day we filmed that version. If I had to make a wager, I’d say she hears his encouraging words in her head on a regular basis. I know I do.



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  • Reply
    Tom Deep
    July 17, 2019 at 1:07 pm

    Well done, what a fun song.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2017 at 11:57 pm

    Good job! Done well! ‘Annie’ is a keeper.

  • Reply
    José Luis
    June 25, 2017 at 10:32 pm

    Hola Tipper!! como estás tú??, I hope very well!!.In this new version of Ragtime Annie, by the Presley girls, I see with great joy the enormous progress of the twin with the violin, CONGRATULATIONS !!!!, from Buenos Aires, José Luis.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2017 at 10:07 pm

    Oh, what a beautiful job! Just perfect! It brought tears to my eyes to think about your dear girl hearing Pap’s voice encouraging her. We’ve been watching some of the videos with him in it, and it makes us miss him…I can’t imagine how much you all miss him. It makes Heaven just even more sweeter knowing he is there. God bless you all, sweet friend. 🙂

  • Reply
    Sherry Whitaker
    June 25, 2017 at 8:58 pm

    I love that fiddle music. Thank you girls. What a treat. How’s about playing the Orange Blossom Special sometime!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 25, 2017 at 8:49 pm

    I have made a marvelous discovery. You may already know about it and might laugh at me for not knowing aready but if you double right click on the video, you have an option to loop. Saves me having to go back and restarting when I want to listen to a piece over and over and over again. Is is crazy to listen to me some Pressley Girls 75 times in a row.
    Now when I figure out to put formatting in a comment I’ll be a happy man. Maybe pictures too!

  • Reply
    Phyllis Schmitz
    June 25, 2017 at 5:10 pm

    Enjoyed the great music by the girls. Thank you!

  • Reply
    Ann Applegarth
    June 25, 2017 at 4:07 pm

    Absolutely wonderful! One of their very best! I had never heard “Ragtime Annie” before, but I have heard two songs called “Gentle Annie” — both the Irish song and the Stephen Foster song. Of the three, I like “Ragtime Annie” best!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    As a long-time fan and sometime critic with advice via email, I can say that you’re not only good enough, you’re showing that you are comfortable with the fiddle; something that I never could totally accomplish; I was always a little tense when I played one. Ya done good, Chitter, you’ll make a fine fiddler!
    Chatter: love that sneaky A-to-D run..

  • Reply
    June 25, 2017 at 2:15 pm

    A great pick me up! A lively fiddle, a bright banjo, some perky zydeco, just about any tap music, all lift the spirits and lighten any load!

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    June 25, 2017 at 2:00 pm

    ♪♫ I hear the rain a coming,
    It’s coming back again.
    I ain’t got to mow the grass,
    In I don’t know when.
    I’m stuck in mud and gravel,
    washed out in the road.
    I hope I make it home in time
    to get my jungle mowed.♫♫♪

  • Reply
    Leslie Haynie
    June 25, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    It’s a toe tapper!

  • Reply
    June 25, 2017 at 12:23 pm

    All I can say is, “Wow!” What a great job on a difficult piece. Thanks for sharing with your bloggers from far away. Can’t see the girls perform in person, but love the videos and watching the progression of the girls and their music.

  • Reply
    June 25, 2017 at 11:48 am

    Both them girls are real musicians, and that includes you two off camera. At the end Chitter knew she had done it perfectly with that smile. All of us are so proud, those Girls are Special.

  • Reply
    Lee Mears
    June 25, 2017 at 10:03 am

    Totally beautiful , I love it and what a dandy mood it put me in this morning along with my coffee ..
    Beautiful young ladies giving us a merry morning with their music..

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    June 25, 2017 at 9:22 am

    No words other than I loved your version! Great job Chitter! All sounded great! I have heard fiddlers change up this tune, speed up the tempo and slow it back down to the traditional tune. However, I think I like your version the best!
    Thanks Tipper for a peppy gettin’ up mornin’!

  • Reply
    Sallie Martin
    June 25, 2017 at 9:21 am

    Loved it! Your daughters are fantastic!

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    June 25, 2017 at 8:49 am

    That is some kind of good! Makes me want to figure out words that would fit it and tell a story and I’m neither musical nor poetic.
    I can see why Chitter was hesitant. There is a lot going on. Just tell her she isn’t messing up, it is a Wilson Holler arrangement.
    I’m glad the tune is a reminder of her grandpa’s encouragenment. Encouragers are all too few and far between. How precious the ‘little’ things become.

  • Reply
    Ed Karshner
    June 25, 2017 at 8:32 am

    That was great playing. I’m not sure, though, which was more beautiful, the guitar and fiddle music or the woods behind the girls. Either way, you are blessed, Tipper. Thanks for sharing that this morning and reminding us all of the gift it is to be from where we are.

  • Reply
    Eleanor Loos
    June 25, 2017 at 8:23 am

    Chitter is really, really good on “Ragtime Annie”! Though unfamiliar with the tune, I can even detect dual strings from time to time. Those two gals are a fine pair together!
    Eleanor Loos, Columbia Station OH

  • Reply
    June 25, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Sounds like sheʻs mastered all 3 parts very well. You go girls!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    June 25, 2017 at 7:59 am

    Chitter does a beautiful job on this song and on all of them, they both have a gift with the music, it runs in the family.
    Sometimes I can hardly believe what fine young women they have grown into!
    They make a Grandmother proud!

  • Reply
    Candy Davis
    June 25, 2017 at 7:33 am

    I loved this. What a wonderful performance!

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