Old Clem Titus's Reel

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OLD CLEM TITUS'S REEL. American, Reel or Schottische. D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. Howe lists the tune in the schottische section. Clem Titus is listed as the composer of several tunes in the Boston-based 19th century Howe/Ryan publications. There is very little information about Titus, but he and another Howe contributor, Zeke Backus, are mentioned in Col. Thomas Allston Brown's articles in the New York Clipper (22 June 1889) and his volume A History of the New York Stage, vol. 1 (1903, pp. 361-362), in an entry detailing "White's Melodeon", "the first cheap theater" in New York. It opened in 1846 at 53 Bowery, burned om 1847, was rebuilt, and burned a second time in 1849, after which a five story house was erected on the site.

Negro minstrelsy by White's Serenaders was its principal attraction...Among those who became famous in the minstrel world afterwards, and who appeared here, were Master Juba, Neil Hall, tambourine, Bill Smith, bones (Smigh was noted for his large mouth); Fran Stanton, banjo; Clem Titus, violin jig player, and Zeke Backus, violin and reel accompanist.

Titus died in Apalachacola (presumably Apalachicola, Florida, near Tallahassee) sometime before September, 1862, when his name appears in a list of deceased minstrel performs in the New York Clipper (6 September 1862). See also Dan Emmett's "Clem Titus Jig."

Source for notated version:

Printed sources: Howe (1000 Jigs and Reels), c. 1867; p. 54.

Recorded sources:




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