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The Flying Cloud Cotillion


Mark Evans
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Good afternoon all,

 

Obi's Boys is putting into our rotation of dance tunes the Flying Cloud Cotillion. We've got a good history on the clipper built in Boston and launched in 1851 for which the tune was named. However, the Obi's have been completely skunked on a date and background.

 

I remember coming across a history on it several years ago with a google search but have been unable to reproduce that source with our current net-ramble. My recollection was an origin in England in the 1860's but have run into vague references dating it from the early 1900's. An image of a contemporary score had it arranged in the great brass band key of E-flat. The Old Time tradition I'm familiar with plays it in the fiddle comfortable keys of G/D.

 

Old crab that I am I always want to know the answer asked of Cotton-Eyed Joe:

 

Where'd ja come from, where'd ja go, where'd ja come from Cotton-Eyed Joe?

 

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Edited by Mark Evans
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Obi's Boys is putting into our rotation of dance tunes the Flying Cloud Cotillion. We've got a good history on the clipper built in Boston and launched in 1851 for which the tune was named. However, the Obi's have been completely skunked on a date and background.

 

Can't answer the question, but it's always been a favorite tune; used to play it on hammered dulcimer, which was a workout. The Red Clay Ramblers often played it as an encore tune and they could really rip it.

Edited by Jim Besser
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The Red Clay Ramblers often played it as an encore tune and they could really rip it.

 

 

Oh yes, theirs is my favorite rendition! They were my first encounter with the peice at the Cat's Cradle in 1976. I could barely breathe as they blazed through it with such ease and abandon. Their tempo always produced a mental image of the graceful clipper under full sail ripping through are moderate swell.

 

I harbor hopes this cotillion is indeed from the early 1860's. The mental image of ladies in those astonishing gowns and the gentlemen with their evening attire and colorful waistcoats dancing to this tune when the Flying Cloud was still the fastest ship afloat is particularly appealing.

Edited by Mark Evans
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A use for the high squeeky notes on the EC. I rather like this version, though it struck me a quite different from the one in the Portland collection or in the Fiddler's Fake Book, so I think it's a different tune. I suspect that both tunes refer to the same clipper ship.

 

Hey Mark

 

Could this be the origination of the tune? From the US Library of Congress

 

The flying cloud gallop / by Charles Grobe .

 

CREATED/PUBLISHED

Philadelphia: Lee and Walker, 1852.

 

http://memory.loc.gov/cgi-bin/ampage?collI...&linkText=0

 

Thanks :unsure:

Leo

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Very cool indeed. The Fiddler's Companion page is now favorited Laitch, thank you.

 

Leo, the galop is a different tune but I suspect you are right that it is named for the clipper ship.

 

I'm starting to suspect that perhaps it never was a proper cotillion, but an American breakdown that later had the "cotillion" added because of the key changes. It just makes sense. Certainly the tempo taken by the Rambler's and the Charlie Poole recording doesn't suggest a dance tempo.

 

I'm still going to imagine the dancer's in fancy dress however. Check out this link:

 

http://www.vintagedance.net/site_creator/t...mp;SCR_ADJ=1.28

 

The tune or tunes certainly inspired a reeactors movement in dancing. There seem to be chapters all over the place. Man, I'd love to get involved in playing for one of those events!

Edited by Mark Evans
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For those who haven't come across The Flying Cloud, she was the original clipper ship, designed for fast passage to the California gold fields, and built for speed as against maximum cargo haulage. She was in another league relative to the average cargo ship of the day; Concorde versus Jumbo Jets is a good modern analogy, and she was just as celebrated.

 

Popular songs got churned out to make money on any fad, and the Flying Cloud would have been a fair target!

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Oh yes, theirs is my favorite rendition! They were my first encounter with the peice at the Cat's Cradle in 1976. I could barely breathe as they blazed through it with such ease and abandon. Their tempo always produced a mental image of the graceful clipper under full sail ripping through are moderate swell.

 

I harbor hopes this cotillion is indeed from the early 1860's. The mental image of ladies in those astonishing gowns and the gentlemen with their evening attire and colorful waistcoats dancing to this tune when the Flying Cloud was still the fastest ship afloat is particularly appealing.

 

Next time my Civil War dance band practices, I'll look at our leader's voluminous collection of civil war music and see if it turns up. We play Flop Eared Mule for one dance; it's similar to FCC in some ways.

 

Damn, I miss the Ramblers.

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