Dick Myers' Jig

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X:1 T:Dick Myers’ 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. 7) N:Coes performed with the San Francisco Minstrels in California from 1852 to 1859. Z:AK/Fiddler’s Companion K:F F/G/|A [D2F2] F/G/|AG/B/ A/c/~c|d/>e/f/>d/ c/>A/G/>F/|D/<G/ z/F/ G/>A/B/>G/| A [D2F2] F/G/|AG/B/ A/c/~c|d/>e/f/>d/ c/>A/G/>A/|F [D2F2]:| |:d/e/|f/>g/f/>d/ c/>d/f/>g/|a/<g/ z/a/ g>~a|d/<g/ z/a/ g/>a/g/>f/|d/<g/ z/a/ gf/~g/| a/<f/ z/e/ d/>e/f/>d/|c/>A/G/>F/ G (3A/B/c/|d/>e/f/>d/ c/>A/G/>A/|F [D2F2]:|]

DICK MYERS' JIG. American, Reel (2/4 time). F Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "Dick Myers' Jig" is, at first glance, a syncopated blackface minstrelsy tune that is associated with Daniel Decatur Emmett. J.R. "Dick" Myers was an early blackface minstrel whose stage name was "Ole Bull," after the famous Norwegian violin virtuoso who famously toured America in the mid-1800's. Edward Le Roy Rice, in his book Monarchs of Minstrelsy (New York, 1911), gives this entry:

"Ole Bull" Myers (J. Richard Myers) was one of the earliest and best violinists in minstrelsy. He entered the profession in 1833, and was with numerous black-face companies, notably the Virginia Serenaders in 1843; this organization, a photograph of which will be found elsewhere, played an engagement at the Chatham Theatre, New York, January 24, 1844. "Ole Bull" Myers was born in Baltimore, Md., May 9, 1909; he died in Philapelphia, September 10, 1874. [p. 23]

Billy Whitlock, an original member of the seminal Virginia Minstrels (Dan Emmett's group), recalled in his 1878 autobiography that he played his banjo with fiddler Dick Myers in Philadelphia in 1840, performing a show as a fiddle-banjo duo. It was this pairing that he remembered a few years later when he developed the first minstrel troupe (a four member group, with Emmett on the fiddle). Col. T. Allson Brown, in his Early History of Negro Minstrelsy, records:

MYERS, RICHARD: known as “Ole Bull” Myers, was born in Baltimore, Md., May 5, 1809. He was connected with minstrel companies for a great many years. In l835 he played the violin accompaniment to S. S. Sanford’s singing. He was considered one of the best violinists in the profession. His last performance in public was at the Cape May (N. J.) Court House, August 5, 1874. On the morning of the 6th he said, speaking to his violin, “I have played you for the last time. You go under my bed when I get home, and lie there.” He died in Philadelphia on September 10, 1874.

However, Fr. John Quinn finds that "Dick Myers' Jig" is actually a cognate version, albeit distanced, of an early 19th century tune known in England and Ireland variously as "Charley's Farewell," "Duke's Retreat," "Few Bob (The)" and other titles.

See Dick Myers' composition "Black Sheep", and he may also be related to a performer named Robert Myers who list credited with "Sliding Jenny Jig."

Additional notes

Printed sources : - George H. Coes (Coes Album of Jigs and Reels), 1876; p. 7.

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