Tune of the Day: A Hot Time in the Old Town
This ragtime song was composed in 1896 by German-American composer Theodore A. Metz. While on tour with the McIntyre and Heath Minstrels, of whom he was the band leader, their train arrived at a place called “Old Town”. From their train window, he could see a group of children starting a fire, near the tracks. One of the other minstrels remarked that “there'll be a hot time in the old town tonight”. Metz noted the remark on a scrap of paper, intending to write a march with that motif. He did indeed write the march the very next day. It was then used by the McIntyre and Heath Minstrels in their Street parades. The song was very popular, even before Joe Hayden, a singer in the minstrel company, added the lyric.
The song was a favorite of the American military around the start of the 20th century, particularly during the Spanish–American War and the Boxer Rebellion. The tune became popular in the military after it was used as a theme by Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders.
Thanks to Steve for suggesting this song!