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Poor Butterfly

Ciro's Club Coon Orchestra


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"Pre-Jass London at Ciro's"


This recording was made in London, England during March 1917 with Seth Jones vocal, Vance Lowry banjo, Ferdie Allen banjoline, Dan Kildare piano, S. Edwards string bass, and Harry Pollard drums.

This is World War I era ragtime, recorded in March 1917 before the "Original Dixieland Jazz Band's" European tour brought them to London in 1919.

"Ciro's Club Coon Orchestra" was an all black string band, which played for the wealthy elite at Ciro's Club in London, England during World War I. Columbia capitalized on the band's popularity, and recorded a number of songs before the club was shut down for peddling unlicensed alcohol. These loose raggy sides are a fascinating insight into a wild party going on late at night at Ciro's, and the records were sold as souvenirs of the glamorous parties attended by the elite of society.

The sound was reportedly so novel that writers at the time had trouble discerning what instruments were being played on these records. The band also played at the Grafton Galleries on Grafton Street, following their performances at Ciro's which caused noise complaints to police.

In November 1916, Inspector Lummus of the Met. Police reported that on several dates in June and July, music, dancing and singing could be heard from the Grafton Galleries between 1230 and 4 am. "Ragtime dances and loud singing by a nigger troupe could be heard in the neighbouring street on these days", he wrote. "On three occasions I saw the band leave the Galleries between four and five am, and recognised it as the same band which I had seen leave Ciro's Club on other nights. One morning, the members of the band, who are very dark skinned were evidently under the influence of drink, and were shouting away in Albemarle Street, but as I approached them they went quietly away".

Dan Kildare, the band's pianist, met a rather savage end. In 1920 he spiralled into depression and drink and began assaulting his wife. Then on June 21st of that year Kildare entered the bar room of his wife's pub and shot his wife, her sister, and himself dead in a fit of rage.

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