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Coney Island cakewalk

Ragtime guitar solo

Coney Island cakewalk



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Video Details

Coney Island cakewalk

Artist: Sal Bonavita

Composer: Richard Saslow

Playing time: 1.55
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Richard Saslow

Richard SaslowIn the 1970s, Richard Saslow played electric guitar in blues, soul, and rock revival bands, primarily in the San Francisco Bay area. He also performed and composed the music for two instruction books published by Green Note Music, "The Art of Slide Guitar" in 1972, and "The Art of Ragtime Guitar" in 1974.

Coney Island Cakewalk is one of the pieces in the book " The Art of Ragtime Guitar"

Richard Saslow has generously made this book available for download in Pdf format.

Download "The Art of Ragtime Guitar" HERE


How I discovered this piece

Under the full moon in Goa

I've always had a thing for ragtime guitar picking. An American backpacker taught me this piece many moons ago when I was doing the hippie thing in Goa on the west coast of India. Ah! Those were the days. Nothing to do but lay about in the sun and play my guitar. I first heard this piece while I was at an all night full moon beach party set up by a bunch of rich European hippies. They lived in village huts and got their water from the well like everyone else, but they had enough money to set up a live band on a sound stage with portable generators for light and power.


The locals all came down to the beach to sell their food and trinkets and it was a real hoot for all. From where I was staying it was only a couple of miles away but really hard to get to. I had to cross a river and then climb over a very big hill to get there. Some friends had gone across earlier but I dragged my feet and didn't decide to go until late. It was dark by the time I got to the river mouth and I could see the ferryman swinging his lantern on the other shore as he walked towards his village. I had to yell to him and beg to get me across the river. He was tired but he returned to his little boat and got me across and of course I paid him extra for his trouble.


On the top of the hill was an ancient Franciscan monastery which had castle type walls with stone statues of warriors facing out to see. I remember one of these warriors had no head. As I scrambled over the hill and through the apple orchard, I was keenly aware of the rumors that a stray tiger was wandering in those parts. The only other way to reach my destination was to go around the coastline which meant navigating a nasty, rocky cliff face. No thanks! Over the hill was not the safest route either but it was less treacherous.


I won't tell you exactly what my mental state was at the time but it was far from normal and I was paranoid that I would get eaten by the tiger as punishment for not going earlier during daylight with my friends. Anyway, I finally reached the seashore on the other side and settled down amongst a bunch of strange hippies smoking pot and locals selling candles and hot tea. Nearby this American guy was leaning up against a coconut tree playing this wonderful music on his guitar.


He just said he learned it from his teacher so he couldn't tell me who wrote it. I only recently discovered this piece is by Richard Saslow. It's nice to put a human face on it after all these years.



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