Frederick Allen Mills (1869–1948), who composed under the name of ‘Kerry Mills’, was born in Philadelphia and, as a young man, taught violin at the University of Michigan. He formed his own publishing company, F A Mills, and composed minstrel songs and other numbers such as the enduring Meet me in St Louis, Louis
(1904). However, his most distinctive contribution to popular music came with his jaunty, lightly syncopated ‘characteristic marches’, composed during the 1890s to satisfy the craze for the cakewalk, a forerunner of ragtime. His first such success was with Rastus on Parade
(1895) which was followed most notably by At a Georgia Camp Meeting
(1897) and Whistling Rufus
(1899). This last is heard here in an orchestral version by Sidney Crooke.
from notes by Andrew Lamb © 1998