Annotation:Charter Oak

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X:1 T:Charter Oak M:2/4 L:1/8 R:Reel S:Ryan's Mammoth Collection (1883) Z:AK/Fiddler's Companion K:A c/B/ | AA,CE | A>B c/A/B/c/ | AA,CE | B,(A/B/) c/e/B/c/ | AA,CE | A/G/A/B/ A/B/c/e/ | {g}f/e/f/g/ a/g/a/f/ | e/c/A/c/ B/d/c/B/ || A/c/ (3e/f/g/ a/e/c/e/ | f/a/e/g/ a/f/e/c/ | A/c/ (3e/f/g/ a/e/f/e/ | d/c/B/A/ G/A/B/G/ | A/c/ (3e/f/g/ a/e/c/e/ | f/a/e/g/ a/e/f/g/ | a/g/b/g/ a/f/ (3e/f/g/ | a/f/e/c/ B/d/c/B/ ||

CHARTER OAK. AKA and see "Zeke Backus' Reel." American, Reel. A Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AB. Composition credited to Zeke Backus in Ryan's/Cole's 1000. Backus was identified as "a New York minstrel show veteran", according to Charles Wolfe ("The Fiddler's Bible: A Brief History," Devil's Box, vol. 21, No. 4, Winter 1987). Others have said he was a New England bandleader and tune composer who apparently spent at least some time in San Francisco. His name does not appear in Edward LeRoy Rice's comprehensive Monarchs of Minstrelsy (New York, 1911), however, a Charles Backus is mentioned. It was Charles who had San Francisco connections, having gone to California in 1852 in the wake of the Gold Rush, and organized a minstrel troupe there two years later. He went to Australia twice for stints of several years each, performing in minstrel shows and circuses in that country before returning to perform in minstrelsy on both the east and west coasts of the United States (see Rice, p. 70). What, if any relationship he might have had to "Zeke" is unknown. See also other Zeke Backus compositions in Ryan's Mammoth, such as "Manchester Reel (2)." The tune appears as "Zeke Backus' Reel" in George H. Coe's Coe's Collection of Jigs and Reels (1876).

New York musician, researcher and writer Don Meade points out the Charter Oak is a symbol of the State of Connecticut, and an icon of resistance against tyranny. The British had demanded the return of the colony's royal charter in 1687; it was hidden in a white oak instead, the tree surviving until 1856.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - Cole (1000 Fiddle Tunes), 1940; p. 46. Ryan's Mammoth Collection, 1883; p. 74.

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