Apollo Club, The

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APOLLO CLUB, THE. American, Reel (2/4 time). A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. In the 18th century, New York City's Apollo Society was one of the first organizations to devote itself to musical culture. Over time, Apollo Clubs, often devoted to sponsoring male choruses, sprang up in many other cities, including Boston, Chicago and Minneapolis, all existing when Ryan's Mammoth Collection was published. Similarly, Brooklyn's Apollo Club was established in 1878. At least one group called itself the Apollo Club Minstrels (from an 1886 clipping in the Minstrel Show Collection, Harry Ransom Humanities Research Center, Univ. of Texas). Given the Boston connections of many of the Ryan titles, it may be a good guess the Boston organization is the one honoured by the title (see note for "Hiawatha").

The 19th century Apollo clubs were not the first, however. A famous Apollo Club met at the Devil Tavern that stood between Temple Bar and Middle Temple Gate, London, whose entrance was located beneath the sign of St. Dunstan pulling the Devil by the nose. It was the club of dramatist Ben Jonson, and met in the principal room, apart from the tavern, called "the Oracle of Apollo." Above the door was a bust of the god, with the following verses ("The Welcome") placed over the door:

Welcome all, who lead or follow,
To the Oracle of Apollo--
Here he speaks out of his pottle,
Or the tripos, his Tower bottle;
All his answers are divine,
Truth itself doth flow in wine.
Hang up all the poor hop-drinkers,
Cries old Sim the king of shinkers;
He that half of life abuses,
That sits watering with the Muses.
Those dull girls no good can mean us;
Wine it is the mild of Venus,
And the Poet's horse accounted:
Ply it, and you all are mounted.
'Tis the true Phoebeian liquor,
Cheers the brain, makes with the quicker,
Pays all debts, cures all diseases,
And at once three senses pleases.
Welcome all, who lead or follow,
To the Oracle of Apollo.

Notably, the club did not exclude women, although insisted they be "of character" [for more see Timbs, Clubs and Club Life in London, 1908, pp. 9-13].

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 109. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 146.

Recorded sources:

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