Jake Speed & The Freddies | Queen City Rag

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United States - Ohio

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Folk: Traditional Folk Blues: Finger-Picked Guitar Moods: Type: Acoustic
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Queen City Rag

by Jake Speed & The Freddies

American folk, country blues, and ragtime with finger-picking guitars, old-timey melodies, and Cincinnati songs. Influences include Woody Guthrie, Mississippi John Hurt, and Jesse Fuller.
Genre: Folk: Traditional Folk
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Queen City Rag
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3:16 $0.99
2. Railroad Penny
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5:35 $0.99
3. Railroad Bill
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2:17 $0.99
4. New Orleans Rag
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2:23 $0.99
5. Hard Times in Cincinnati
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3:18 $0.99
6. Freight Train
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2:48 $0.99
7. Lonesome Day
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4:58 $0.99
8. Twizzler Song
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5:11 $0.99
9. Jack Slade
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5:21 $0.99
10. Coffee Bourgeois Blues
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4:08 $0.99
11. Wam 609
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3:00 $0.99
12. Pretty Lil' Gal Walkin' Down the Street
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2:29 $0.99
13. Pretty Polly
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4:13 $0.99
14. Ludlow Rag
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2:44 $0.99
15. Runnin' & Roamin'
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3:19 $0.99
16. Talkin' Falling Dead Blues
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5:34 $0.99
Available as MP3, MP3 320, and FLAC files.


Album Notes
Faster than you can say, "Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?" Jake Speed & the Freddies have hit the Cincinnati music scene and ventured down the old dusty road of American folk, bluegrass, and ragtime music. Jake Speed & the Freddies are a four-piece band made out of flat top guitar, dobro, mandolin, and upright bass (plus harmonica, kazoo, washboard, and watering can). Their songs leap right out of Depression-era freight trains and boom shacks while their performances transform venues into old-time western saloons. Their near-vaudeville style stage shows and quick-witted charisma rope in loyal fans of new and old generations alike. The Freddies traditionalist approach to the old timey music style has won them the respect of fellow musicians, music lovers, and even hard-nosed critics. Local music icon Ric Hickey says this about Jake Speed: "He is a natural born talent and a one-man renaissance of the long-lost American forms of the country folk-blues." A devoted Freddies fan and college student Aaron Smith says, "The Freddies are flat-out inspiring. They're original, fun, and full of life." If you're still not convinced, maybe their winning of three 2002 Cincinnati Entertainment Awards for Artist of the Year, Best Singer/Songwriter, and Best Folk/Roots Musicians will provide your stamp of approval.

While news of their recent awards is late-breaking, the Freddies certainly are not. These boys have been aboard the Cincinnati music scene for a number of years. In 2001-02, they played over 150 shows at more than 40 venues in 6 different cities. They have performed opening sets for national acts such as Ralph Stanley, Jay Bennett (WILCO), The Waybacks and Michelle Malone. Their music has been broadcast in all areas of the Tri-state on several different radio stations. The Freddies have performed on multiple occasions on News Channels 9 as well as on the City Nights cable access show. Their monthly gigs at Arnold's, Northside Tavern, and Kaldi's have laid the tracks for a solid following of fans, young and old. A true bonus to any Freddies show is their tongue-in-cheek stories and crowd-engaging antics, such as audience parades, watering can solos, and sing-alongs, all of which keep audiences of all makes and models thoroughly entertained.

The Freddies' debut CD, Queen City Rag, was recently honored as a nominee for Album of the Year by CityBeat's Cincinnati Entertainment Awards. The disc contains 16 tracks of both traditional folk classics and original Freddies standards with themes of Cincinnati life, riverboat living, social humor, death, hard luck and folk legend. The Queen City Rag is consistently featured on Cincinnati radio stations like WNKU and WAIF. Larry Nager of the Cincinnati Enquirer says, "Just when 'folk music' was becoming a euphemism for acoustic pop, [Jake Speed and the Freddies] deliver an hour's worth of pure hootenanny pleasure." Rick Bird of the Cincinnati Post writes, "...Queen City Rag is a wonderfully clever album full of great writing, fine guitar picking and jamming kazoo."

The four musical conductors aboard the Freddies include Jake Speed, Robert Brown, Justin Todhunter, and Chris Werner. Jake sings, picks guitar and banjo, blows harmonica, buzzes kazoo, and kicks the beat on the washboard. Robert Brown flat picks 18-mile runs on his flat-top guitar. Justin Todhunter strums and picks on the tiniest of little old mandolins. Chris Werner pounds and thumps on the upright bass. Jake Speed & the Freddies make up boxcars full of original Cincinnati songs while reviving the music of legends like Woody Guthrie, Jimmie Rodgers, Elizabeth Cotten, and Jesse Fuller. The Freddies were born on the streets of Cincinnati where they performed their songs for tips. You can still find them from time to time playing at Findlay Market, Reds games, and local ice cream corners. Their thoughts are, " Heck, if you ain't good enough for the street corner, what are you good for?"


to write a review

Paul Jenkins

Original, energetic folk blues
If you like energetic folk blues, then this cd is for you. Speed is obviously influenced by many of the genre's greats, but his songs and covers show great originality. These songs have a real drive to them. Give it a listen. I don't think you'll be disappointed.

The Guitar Man

Good Songs with Originalty that makes for a Good Style.
Good music. I love the Dobro and Harp Backup. Some good songs that are delivered with real artistry.

The Guitar Man


great no matter what your taste in music is
This CD has been passed around my family members ages 16 to 4o, thus proving there actually is a CD that any age can enjoy. But not only that, all of our tastes are different from country to rock to pop. Some songs were deep and thoughtful, others just made me laugh (especially the Bob Sagot part)but all were well done, and everytime I listen to it, it grows on me more.

Robert J. House

Original and witty.


that Jake Speed is such a bright young man
This album is fun and interesting and just really darn good.


Quick-witted, true, and essential. One of the best roots artists of the 21st Ce
I've been to many-a Freddies show in Cincinnati and they are absolutely one of the best things to come out of the Tri-State (Cinci, Indy, Kentucky) area. Jake is the most charismatic, quick-witted, down-home, keeps-me-on-my-toes performer. His songwriting is just so, so good.


Solid CD...
This is a great CD full of delicious fingerpicking and witty lyrics. You can tell this music would lend itself to a live setting very well. Overall, it's not as consistently good as Jake's "The Cincinnati Legends of Jeremiah Schmidt," but there are some stellar tracks here that make the occassional filler track more than worth it.


Queen City Rag is a wonderful collection of hobo folk that never gets old. This cd still makes me smile. Well worth a listen.

Brian Todd

rebirth of minstrel music
Folk, minstrel, blues, mountain, ballads, dance tunes,breakdowns, rags, slow drags, fast drags, etc., all make up this fantastically, great voyage, into true traditional, american, heart felt music. This album represents the many distinct styles of music, that existed before the now standard; country, rock, jazz and hip-hop. If you want to hear what everyday people heard from honkytonks, juke joints, minstrel shows, dance halls, hayrides, docks, and back porches a hundred years ago, then buy this album. A musical time machine.