X:0 T: No Score C: The Traditional Tune Archive M: K: x
CIRCUS PIECE. AKA and see "Texas Quickstep (3)," "Mississippi Breakdown (2)." Old-Time, Breakdown. USA, Mississippi. D Major. ADae tuning (fiddle). The title derives from the place the source, Meridian, Mississippi fiddler Stephen B. Tucker (an eighty year old fiddler recorded by the Library of Congress in 1939), heard the tune. Tom Rankin (1985) identifies it as a tune that was occasionally recorded by southern musicians under a variety of titles. An Alabamba fiddler transplanted to Texas, A.L. Steeley, recorded the tune in 1929 for Brunswick (BR 285) under the title "Texas Quickstep," while the Leake County Revelers issued it along with their popular "Wednesday Night Waltz" (and later revamped the coarse phrase as another recording, "Mississippi Breakdown," in 1931). Henry Reed, of Glen Lyn, Virginia, knew the tune simply as "a clog."
Paul Gifford notes that rural hotels, resorts, menageries and circuses provided venues for several traditional musicians. He cites the narrative of Soloman Northrup, a Northern black fiddler who was engaged to play with a circus in the 1830's who was kidnapped into slavery in Virginia. One fiddler's diary he read mentioned being quite impressed by a fiddler he heard at a circus in Michigan in the 1840's.