At the time of our recent presentation, we knew of three published musical compositions by Bob Roberts, son of Nick Roberts.They are:
The Pride Of Bucktown, 1897
A Bundle of Rags, 1897
These two pieces are historically significant not only because they add to our understanding of Bob Roberts as an artist, but also because they are among some of the very earliest ragtime pieces published. Moreover, they help us to make a bit more sense of how Roberts came to be known as “Ragtime Bob.”
The other piece of which we knew, probably the best-known, is:
I’m Certainly Living a Ragtime Life, 1900
An article in the March 12, 1900 edition of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle describes this song’s success. However, the article also describes Roberts as the composer of “a number of songs which have gained wide circulation.” The term “a number” seemed to indicate to me more than the two other songs that we knew, so I went searching. I found a few things.
Two songs are listed in the Catalogue of Title Entries of Books and Other Articles Entered in the Office of the Register of Copyrights, Library of Congress, at Washington: Volume 34, both published by Howley, Haviland and Dresser of New York in 1903. The first is “The College Girl” with words by Joseph C Farrell.
The second is “One Thing That Money Cannot Buy” with words by Thomas C. MacDonald.
Another song that turned up is “The Absent-Minded Beggar” published in 1900 by Sol Bloom of Chicago.
This came out at around the same time as the song of the same name with words by Rudyard Kipling and music by Sir Arthur Sullivan. Is there any connection? We hope to find out!
We also hope to find more songs by Roberts. I have a feeling they are out there.