Charles Leslie Johnson published his 1911 rag Cloud Kisser pseudonymously as Raymond Birch. Cloud Kisser is a lighthearted piece, yet has moments of surprising warmth and music box-like delicacy. Like Johnson’s other work, Cloud Kisser is pleasant and charming, not superficial; I would offer this piece as a rebuttal to the notion that Johnson produced works of questionable artistic merit.
Like other top composers of the Original Ragtime Era, Johnson was a deft harmonist and builder of instrumental texture. The piece’s whimsical sheet music cover depicts a couple in a high-altitude romantic excursion aboard a Wright Flyer. Sheet music for Cloud Kisser can be downloaded at imslp.org, as well as Ted Tjaden’s website ragtimepiano.ca.