C.D. Abbott's Jig

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X:1 T:C.D. Abbott’s Jig M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Reel B:Coes Album of Jigs and Reels, something new, for professional and amateur violinists, B:leaders of orchestras, quadrille bands, and clog, reel and jig dancers; consisting of a B:Grand Collection of entirely New and Original Clog-Hornpipes, Reels, jigs, B:Scotch Reels, Irish Reels and Jigs, Waltzes, Walk-Arounds, etc. (1876, p. 14) N:Coes performed with the San Francisco Minstrels in California from 1852 to 1859. Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:G BG/D/ E/G/D|z/B/G/B/ d/g/e/d/|z/B/G/D/ E/G/D|{a}g/f/g/e/ d/g/e/d/| z/B/G/D/ E/G/D|z/B/G/B/ d/g/e/d/|z/B/G/D/ E/G/D/|{a}g/f/g/e/ d/g/e/d/|| gd/g/ e/g/d/g/|e/g/d/g/ e/a/a|{a}g/f/g/e/ d/g/e/d/|z/g/e/d/ (3B/c/d/ (3d/e/f/| gd/g/ e/g/d/g/ |e/g/d/g/ e/a/a|(3g/a/b/ (3e/f/g/ d/g/e/d/|z/g/d/B/ A/B/G:|]



C.D. ABBOTT'S JIG. American, Reel or Schottische (2/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. According to the trade periodical The New York Clipper (25 May, 1913), Charley Backus' Original Minstrels were a troupe organized in San Francisco , California, in the Summer of 1854, and appeared at San Francisco Hall. Fiddler C.D . Abbott was the musical director for the group; he was a prominent musician of the early days of minstrelsy, composing in 1847 "Rosa Dear" (with Christy's Minstrels) and, in 1852, “The Colored Orphan Boy”. In 1855 they embarked for Australia along with members of the San Francisco Minstrels, which included George H. Coes as a performing member. It is said that a stopover in Honolulu resulted in the dubious distinction of inspiring the formation of the Hawaii’s own first blackface minstrel troupe. Backus brought the same racist sensibility to his impersonation of a “Chinese merchant” that would prove as popular in the antipodes as it had in the California gold fields. The ten-person Backus’ Minstrels arrived at Sidney on October 23, 1855 and played a month each in that city, Melbourne and Hobart, with shorter engagements at Launceston, Tasmania and on the return to Sydney via Melbourne. When they embarked for the States in April, they left behind a couple members who joined up with another American touring troupe.

The majority of the ten-man troupe returned to San Francisco. The Clipper records:

The original San Francisco Minstrels went to Sacramento in 1857, where they shortly after had a split, one-half returning to San Francisco and the rest going through the Interior [i.e. of California]]. Billy Birch, Sam Wells, George Coes, S.C. Campbell, W. Barker, George Demerest and Hooley were in the party. They landed flrst at San Andreas, where they played to $2 a ticket, the house being crowded with miners. There was no stage or scenery of any description, which necessitated sonic change in their program. It was a flat floor they nlayed on, with eight candles for footlights. On the program was an net announced that required scenery, but the boys did a walk-around Instead. This was supposed to finish the show, but the audience would not have it, and seeing them waiting Micawber-llke, Birch stepped forward and with one of his characteristic speeches attempted to soothe their aching hearts. When he retired loud calls were made for some more, wherenpon Wells attempted to lay the flattering unction to their souls, but they shouted, Kill him! etc. Birch once more came to the front, but the audience indulged in much loud talk as to what they would do. The following day, soon after reaching a ranch, they were waited on by Judge Dndley (a distant relative of Birch), who showed him a letter from San Andreas pronouncing the members of the company frauds and indulging in a few other very indelicate epithets. The judge endorsed the minstrel boys s being all right and they had a good house that night. Birch visited San Andreas several times afterwards, but he never approached the town without a flag of truce.

Two dollars was a large sum of money in those days, encouraging the miners to demand value. Abbott found some inspiration among the miners, however, and reportedly ended up writing music for a popular Forty-Niner song, "Joe Bowers."

C.D. Abbot died at La Salle, Illinois on May 20, 1864.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - George H. Coes (Coes Album of Jigs and Reels, something new, for professional and amateur violinists, leaders of orchestras, quadrille bands, and clog, reel and jig dancers; consisting of a Grand Collection of entirely New and Original Clog-Hornpipes, Reels, jigs, Scotch Reels, Irish Reels and Jigs, Waltzes, Walk-Arounds, etc.), 1876; p. 14.






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