Ira Ironstrings Plays: With Matches

Ira Ironstrings Plays: With Matches IRA’S BACK…AND WE’VE GOT HIM
Ira Ironstrings Plays: With Matches


  1. Heartaches (1:44)
  2. Sweet Georgia Brown (2:31)
  3. Sugar Blues (3:00)
  4. Ivory Rag (2:26)
  5. Oh! (2:47)
  6. Alabamy Bound (2:08)


  1. Twelfth Street Rag (2:45)
  2. Johnson Rag (2:40)
  3. Guitar Boogie (2:13)
  4. Sam’s Song (2:16)
  5. Third Man Theme (2:33)
  6. I’m Looking Over A Four Leaf Clover (2:10)

“Unmask the rogue,” they demanded…”throw down the cloak of anonymity”…tell us, “who is Ira Ironstrings?”

That Ira Ironstrings is a delivish fellow is a foregone conclusion. Elusive too. And as mean a rogue as any black-hearted villain that sailed with Capt. Kidd. But Ironstrings (Lord love his playful spirit) has somehow managed to elude us, too. he’s made his second album and vanished stealthily into the black of night.

We almost had him at the recording session, to be frank. Of course it’s common knowledge that Ira records in a soundproof isolation booth (Isolation booths — courtesy the $65,000 Question”), wearing a complete suit of armor, and guarded by a cordon of Pinkertons. Ira’s been known to swing his mace upon anybody just so much as approaching his castle at radio Recorder’s, (a very Bohemian atmosphere for a Recording Studio). Well, to get on with it, we had somehow managed to sneak Ira’s cigarettes away from him prior to the recording session. He’s an inveterate smoker, you know, and just can’t stand to be without tobacco. matter of fact, he once fractured his wrist crushing a package of crush-proof cigarettes. We left him with his matches, though, and that heaven help us, was a fright. We didn’t plan it that way, but blithe spirit Ira turned the tables on us. He was irritated no end; he fussed with his helmet (which made a horrible noise while recording), he cursed at us in Swahili, and clobbered a Pinkerton with his mace. All to no avail, however. Left to his own devices, Ira had no other choice but to get whatever pleasure there was, in of all things, his matches.

Which brings us to the name of this sortie in contemporary music, “Ira Ironstrings Plays: With Matches.”

You all know by now that friend Ira is most assuredly a non-conformist. In planning this album (it was difficult to understand him talking through that ridiculous steel helmet he insists upon wearing), Ira decried the maelstrom of cacophony attendant to high-fidelity sound. Fidelity-shmidelity he sez, “I wanna hear something from the good old days. How about recording some ‘music’ for people with 78 rpm hand wound phonographs,” he queried.

This collection of songs more than satisfies such a glaring gap in modern disc repertoire. At long last, here are the sounds of song hits made when playing a phonograph was an event. Ira was inspired by those songs, and for historical purposes, (there may be those among you who plan on doing Ira’s biography) we note the source of his inspiration.

“Heartaches” was originally made famous by Ted Weems; “Sweet Georgia Brown” by Brother Goon Bones (who playd a pair of hand polished mahogany sticks); “Sugar Blues” by Clyde McCoy (He’s in oil now, you know); “Ivory Rag” by Joe “Fingers” Carr; “Oh” by Pee Wee Hunt; and “Alabamy Bound” by Eddie Cantor.

Ira fell in love to “12th Street Rag,” recorded by Pee Wee Hunt; “Johnson Rag” which soared to popularity as a result of the recording by __________; (we’ve hunted high and low, and can’t find who made this song popular. If somebody knows, please write and help us.) “Guitar Boogie” by Arthur “Guitar” Smith; “Sam’s Song” by Bing Crosby; “Third Man Theme” by Anton Karas, who it is reputed devised the haunting melody simply because he was fearful of James Mason; and last but not least, “Four Leaf Clover” of which there are a multitude of “discoverers,” among them the Firko String Band, Art Mooney and Alvino Rey.

In any event, you’ll agree they’re all hot selections. We had hoped to include a book of matches with each album to sort of put you in the mood, but unfortunately the Fire Department (they’re square) forbid us to do so.

Have fun.

For Your Listening Pleasure, May We Suggest:

CHINESE & MANDARIN SELF TAUGHT, Folkways FQ-8002 ($37.50)

Warner Bros. Records, Inc.

VITAPHONIC HIGH FIDELITY, THE FIRST NAME IN SOUND, is the optimum in modern sound recording technique, conforming to the fine tradition of sound reproduction that has been the standard of warner Bros. for more than thirty years. Only the finest materials and equipment are used in these recordings, from actual studio recording session to final pressing.

TECHNICAL DATA: Recorded range, 20-25,000 cycles. Three channel Ampex 300 tape recorders, latest condenser microphones in conjunction with Vitaphonic FNV optimum frequency range control. Mastering on specially designed, electronically controlled variable pitch Scully lathes, and Westrex feedback cutters. RIAA playback curve. Rolloff, 13.75 DB at 10 KC.

CAUTION: Be sure your playback stylus is in good condition. A worn needle will not reproduce the full fidelity of this recording, and will shorten its life.

W 1248
High Fidelity

One Comment

  1. Jane Brinkley
    Posted June 6, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    I love Ira. My father had this album and Music for people with 3.98 plus tax. I have my dad’s vinyls and have converted to CD. May Ira’s music never die. I think it cool that his music is passed through the generations.

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