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Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)

GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Feb 16 - 09:39 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Feb 16 - 09:41 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Feb 16 - 09:46 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Feb 16 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 29 Feb 16 - 10:06 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 Mar 16 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 Mar 16 - 04:37 AM
GUEST,leeneia 02 Mar 16 - 10:58 AM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 Mar 16 - 02:16 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 Mar 16 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 02 Mar 16 - 02:52 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 03 Mar 16 - 05:53 AM
GUEST,leeneia 03 Mar 16 - 10:26 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Feb 16 - 09:39 PM

Gentle readers I give you American Professor Charles Edward Colby (1868-1913)


"Then in...early nineties, the...one Mr. Colby came here and give an exhibition by going up in a balloon [Cook: "Oh?'] and they sung this...that was one of the themes for the carnival.

Mon - seur Col ? by qui lé   ba ? di ? né nous.--
Mon - seur Col ? by qui lé   ba -di- né   nous!
Bal-on mon-té, bal-on descende,
Bal-on tom-bé dans d'l'eau!
Bal-on mon-té, bal-on descende,
Bal-on tom-bé dans d'l'eau!

[Calypso Lore and Legend, Patrick Jones, Cook 0506, 1956, CDr Track, A1]
[Calypso Lore and Legend, Patrick Jones, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, 0506, 2006, CDr Trk, 01, 2:50-3:37]

[Transcription by Phil.]

Note:
The artist was between 5-15 years old when Colby came to Trinidad in November 1889. (Sources on birth date vary.) Patrick Jones was also the father of activist Marion Patrick Jones (aka: Marion Glean; aka: Marion O'Callaghan)

Colby Discography:
Almary, Madame Maiotte, et son Orc Isles, Vieil Air de St. Pierre, Martinique, Odeon 281.229, 1937
Fanfant, Roger et Son Orchestre Guadelopéen, Orchestres Creoles, Pathe, MM30876, 1938
Fanfant, Roger et Son Orchestre Guadelopéen, Quand Paris biguinait Ochestres créoles (1930-1940), MM-JBM, 7 86944 2, 1991, MM-JBM, Track 21
Azero, Nester; Varane, Josseline (various), Hommage à Léona Gabriel, Pastel, PAST CD 57-2, 2012, track #10


One verse appended to "Celestin Roi Diable" (at mm:ss 2:23 on CD reissues):
Kindou, Alexandre (L'Orchestre Guadeloupeén), Biguine, Valse et Mazurka Créoles, Odeon KI5516, 1935
Kindou, Alexandre (L'Orchestre Guadeloupeén), Biguine, Valse et Mazurka Créoles (1929-1940) Vol. 1, Fremeaux, FA007, 1993, Track 15
Kindou, Alexandre (L'Orchestre Guadeloupeén), La Reine de la Biguine (Maladie d'amour), Pharaon, B0000281LW, 1996, Track 19

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akmy7DH7V5k (@2:23)

See also: Louis Camille.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Feb 16 - 09:41 PM

"The first aeronautic experiments made in the colony occured at Shine's Pasture during the course of the month, the performer being a member of Donovan's Circus, then visiting the colony. The first attempt, made on the 7th November, was unsuccessful, the balloon not having risen ten feet high when the parachustist jumped out. A successful attempt was made on the 11th of November when the balloon reached a high of 500 feet. On a third occasion on the 15th November, at the Prince's Building Savana, the balloonist, on account of not receiving sufficient public patronage, elected to remain on terra firma and sent up the balloon without him."

[Trinidadiana, Bodu, Jose, British Library, 1890, p.107]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Feb 16 - 09:46 PM

Le Carnival de St-Pierre (Martinique)
45 Chansons Créoles Recufillies de 1920 a 1925 par Victor Coridun
Deuxième Edition, R. Illemay, Fort-de-France, 1930

Colby avant ou pati ou a vini bo massi bolou...!
Colby avant oualler ou a vini bo massi bolou..!
Colby avant ou pati ou a vini bo massi ? bolou..!
Ou a vini bo, ou a vini bo massi bolou..!

Jusqu' Colby qui lé badiné nous.
Jusqu' Colby qui lé badiné nous!
Colby monté, Colby descende,
        Colby tombé dans d'l'eau!
Colby monté, Colby descende,
        Colby tombé dans lan mé!


1).-- « Un Américain, surnommé Colby lance un ballon à la savane du Fort. La premiére fois, le vent souffle en bourrasque. L'ascension rate. Et la chanson d'ouvrie aussitôt ses ailes:

Jusque Colby qui lé badiné nous ! » etc.

Le dimanche suivant: calme plat. Le ballon file dans les nuages, emportant Colby faisant des sauts périlleux. Vous n'essayeriez pas d'en faire autant, n'est-ce pas?.. ni moi non plus,
« Bref, l'aerostat tombe à l'horizon lointain. Le jeune aéronaute, recueilli par un canot, retourne à pieds à la Savane.

(Lire la suite au N. 21)
Fin de la note No 20. - Et la chanson se léve sur ses pas, glorieuse et triomphante:
   
   Colby monté, Colby descende
   Colby tombe dans d' l'eau

« Et le couplet finissait sur une gamme chromatique descendante, montrant bien le ballon plongeant du ciel dans l'abime».
                                                             SALAVINA
Trente ans de Saint-Pierre, pages 251 et 252.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Feb 16 - 10:03 PM

Not A Cent To Buy Rice, 1870-1897

"Stickney and Donovan's Great American Circus ? balloon ascent and parachute descent

Lord Executor's observation is of great interest in that versions of a song about Stickney and Donovan's Great American Circus can be traced to Martinique and Trinidad. The lyrics concern the activities of 'Professor' Colby, whose stunt was to ascend in an hot air balloon and, on reaching a great height, make a parachute jump from the balloon basket.

Although New Era (8 November 1899) reported this Circus had arrived direct from New York, it is likely to have proceeded to Trinidad by staging performances island by island. This was a recognized pattern for performers of all sorts throughout the nineteenth century. Thus, Colby would have first presented his display in Martinique.

In the French island (presumably at St Pierre, on the Savannah, by the Fort), a wind squall disrupted his first attempt. On the second occasion Colby achieved his aim, dropping by parachute, landing in the sea, and being picked up by boat. An appropriate Carnival satirical song, entitled Colby, was composed.

The chorus was:
Jusqu' Colby que lé badiné nous!
Jusqu' Colby que lé badiné nous!
Colby monté, Colby descende,
        Colby tombé dans d' l'eau!
Colby monté, Colby descende,
        Colby tombé dans lan me!

Even Colby is teasing us
Even Colby is teasing us
Colby goes up, Colby goes down,
        Colby falls into the water
Colby goes up, Colby goes down,
        Colby fall into the sea

Versions were recorded commercially by black migrants from Martinique in France during the 1930s and the song remains well known in the islands.

Donovan's circus arrived in Trinidad on 4 November 1889. They set up on the patch of ground known as Shrine's Pasture (now Victoria Square) in Port of Spain. Colby carried out his first aeronautical operation the following Thursday. As in Martinique, this was aborted, but on 11 November, the balloon reached a height of 500 feet, and there was a successful parachute jump. The exploit and song associated with it was recalled by Patrick Jones, in recorded reminiscences of part Carnival songs, made in 1956. His performance is directly related to the Martinique song about Colby's bravura."

[Cowley, John, Carnival, Canboulay and Calypso, (New York, Cambridge Press, 1998) pp.119-120]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 29 Feb 16 - 10:06 PM

"There is ample evidence of the contribution of Patois and French songs to calypso in the 1890s and the 1900s. For example, both Patrick Jones and calypsonian Atilla the Hun point to Martinique as the source of "L'Année Passée" The Haitian tune "Chaconné" is another well-known song borrowed by chantwells in the 1890s (from the melody of a song about a hot-air balloon that flew over Trinidad)."

[Hill, Donald R., Calypso Calaloo, (Gainesville: Univ. Press of Florida, 1993) p.8]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 Mar 16 - 04:22 AM

The above is the standard version. If you're in any sort of academic program stop here. Cowley and Hill have been cited more times than you can shake a stick at. You can't go wrong with them.

What follows comes under the heading of original/amateur research, never been published or peer reviewed unless you count scotch, cigar and BS sessions. Proceed at your own peril and all that.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 Mar 16 - 04:37 AM

Updating Cowley

"? Stickney and Donovan's Great American Circus? whose stunt was to ascend in a hot air balloon and, on reaching a great height, make a parachute jump from the balloon basket."

For most of the 1889-90 season it was "Donovan and Stickney's North American Circus" with the appropriate translations for Venezuela and Brazil. They consolidated with the Silbon Family for three weeks (June-July)(name unknown) then reconstituted as "Stickney & Donovan's South American Circus" but it's doubtful they ever performed under the last name. James Donovan toured the West Indies and S.A. for ten straight seasons, sometimes with Robert Stickney, sometimes without. The "Great American" was a different season altogether. Helps to know if you're searching but less so for the song. Stickney-Donovan &co. never got off the boat at Martinique in 89-90.

Secondly, no balloon basket (gondola) with its convenient bags of sand ballast hanging over the side or burner roaring under the balloon. Propane and propane accessories were still unimagined. The balloon was inflated via the "pit & stack method" (a fire pit with a covered trench or pipe leading away to a short chimney) and that was it. No adjustments after takeoff. It's why they called 'em "Smokies."

No packed parachute, ripcord or harness either for that matter. The parachute's canopy was "stopped" and hung from the side of the balloon in the same manner as hoisting a stopped foresail. The parachute shroud lines were attached to a trapeze bar. To ascend, the aeronaut stood on a rope sling or sat on a second trapeze gripping the parachute's bar in one hand and the balloon's rigging in the other. At the "cutaway" one swung out on the parachute and broke free while the balloon shot away upwards and capsized.

That 500 foot descent in Port of Spain, Trinidad must have gone by pretty quick. At Saint-Pierre, Martinique Aeronaut Colby turned "sauts périlleux" (somersaults) on the trapeze, from 5,000 ft, no wires. He also turned 22 years of age five days later with over a 150 jumps already to his credit. A daring young man on a flying trapeze.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 02 Mar 16 - 10:58 AM

Thanks for the info, Phil. I wish I could hear the songs, but they don't seem to be on Youtube.

I have fear of heights, and the idea of jumping from a balloon makes my blood run cold. If Colby failed one day, don't tell me.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 Mar 16 - 02:16 PM

Leeneia:

Spoiler alert. He meets the woman of his dreams and dies of old age (well... mid-forties in a hotel bed anyways.)

"The are old pilots and bold pilots but there are no old, bold pilots."


This is Célestin, Roi diable, dé rô! a "chanson politique" from the same Victor Coridun songbook as "Colby." (the latter makes a brief appearance at 2:23.) It sounds sort of like "Yellow Bird" on Cuban espresso (warbling allegretto.) I'm in the process of digitizing some other versions now.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 Mar 16 - 02:29 PM

Cowley pt. 2:

"Although New Era (8 November 1899) reported this Circus had arrived direct from New York, it is likely to have proceeded to Trinidad by staging performances island by island. This was a recognized pattern for performers of all sorts throughout the nineteenth century. Thus, Colby would have first presented his display in Martinique.

The year is said to be a typo, or another Donovan circus/season mix-up. (Stuff happens.)

Donovan & Stickney did indeed arrive in Trinidad after a nine day voyage direct from New York just as the Trinidad papers reported. They were still in New York, advertising for talent, as late as 5 October 1889 with Colby not yet on the the roster. It appears he may have been a very last minute addition to the tour. Stating the obvious but November is too late for an 1889 carnival season song or theme.

From Port of Spain, Donovan &co. headed to Bridgetown, Barbados. "Gravesend," so most likely the savannah again. Then it was on to Caracas for a Christmas Eve opening and five week stand there and the harbor at "Laguyra" (such twin-city locations were often played in tandem.)

From Venezuela, Donovan headed down the S.A. coast and was in Para, Brazil by April. Aeronaut Colby however, had already parted ways with the circus and gone solo again for an early return leg to the U.S.

Donovan's circus continued on to the interior of Brazil then finished up with a three week stand at Rio's Polytheama in concert with the Silbon Family (an English troupe of aerialists based in San Francisco at the time and in the process of finishing up a world tour.)

Meanwhile, Aeronaut Colby opened in Kingston, Jamaica (April) and Saint-Pierre, Martinique (May.) So as it happens the only time "Colby tombé dans lan me!" was at his very last stand of the 1890 season. 7 May to be exact. Now Monsieur Colby has missed the both the '89 and the '90 carnival song seasons, unless its Barbados and Cropover maybe.

The freshly renamed/reconstituted "Stickney & Donovan South American Circus" finally arrived at Saint-Pierre, direct from Rio, on 9 August 1890 but found themselves "quarantined against the Brazils" by local French health authorities. They were left with no choice but to remain on board the New York bound vessel and end their season prematurely. The main circus got back to New York the first week in August having played only two island stands (Trinidad and Barbados) the entire season.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 02 Mar 16 - 02:52 PM

Edit to the above:
Stickney & Donovan arrived in Saint-Pierre first week in August.
Arrived New York the second week.

Professor
"Neither by education nor even curiosity." (The "Wizard of Oz" was a "Professor.")

So? who in Sam Hill was "Professor Colby?"

The Air Canada ? Martinique identifies Colby as an Englishman. Another scholar I've corresponded with has him pegged as one "Bainbridge Colby," an American. I've got my money on:

Charles Edward Colby (12 May 1868, Chicago, IL. - 31 October 1913, San Francisco, CA)

The earliest record of aeronaut "Professor Charles Colby" is June 1888 with the Miller-Freeman Circus at Marlboro, Massachusetts. He broke his leg on his very first parachute descent. He still had the limp when he went to the Caribbean. Aeronaut Colby toured as a solo act with various North American railroad circuses for the next five years then took a thirteen year hiatus from aeronautics altogether (c.1892-1906.) His last known ascension was by conventional gas balloon at the 1910 Los Angeles International Air Meet (representing Aeronautical Squad, Company A, Signal Corp, National Guard of California.) He also acted as official timer for The Meet's heavier-than-air competitions.

From 1891-1895 Charles performed in pantaloon and humpty-dumpty shows on the early New England vaudeville circuit where he eventually teamed up with (and married) slack-rope walker and dancer Alberta Howard-Way, "Mlle. Alberta."

For the next eight years (c.1893-1905) Charles and Allie toured North America, England, New Zealand and Australia as "Colby and Way, The Warbling Ventriloquist and His Dancing Doll." A vaudeville "warbler" was a singer or whistler given to quavers, trills and similar ornaments. A "Dancing Doll" today would be somewhere between urban dance's "pop," "lock" and "the robot." Charles accompanied the whole act on piano.

The Professor was in Wellinton, NZ in May of 1902 when news of the eruption of Mt. Pele and the total destruction of Saint-Pierre, Martinique arrived by telegraph. Older, married and settled in vaudeville he was still a bit of the trickster (or pantaloon) but he had only kind words for the people of Martinique. It was almost twelve years to the day since his performance there.

Colby & Way were, if non-stop, world-wide tours are any guage, fairly good at entertaining turn-of-the-century audiences. The high point probably came with the 1903 Christmas Season and Oscar Hammerstein's top-of-the-line Victoria Theater in New York. They were on the bill with Billy B. Van and the premier of America's first motion picture, Thomas Edison's "The Great Train Robbery."

For a time, their agent was Zelman Moses who would later change his name to William Morris, but vaudeville agents didn't work for entertainers. They worked for the vaudeville circuits. Perhaps not coincidently, sometime during their international touring Charles recognized the benefits of joining the International Artisten Loge (I.A.L.) of Berlin. The I.A.L. was one of the first attempts to organize the entertainment industry and Charles would go on to chair at least one California meeting of America's White Rats vaudeville actors union. Colby was also a Scottish Rite Mason, an organization that filled many of the same functions as the I.A.L. for a for traveling entertainer in addition to providing venues in towns that weren't exactly open to the idea of vaudeville or circus. The Masons provided Charles Colby's funeral when his time came.

The original Colby & Way's last appearance was in September 1905. Alberta "Allie" Colby-Way died 30 December 1905, Boston, MA, age 45 years. Her obituary appeared in papers as far away as Wellington, NZ.

http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=57755522%3C

Charles continued on in vaudeville with a replacement partner ("Colby & May") but audiences weren't buying it. Within months he was back to a solo act, still with very mixed results, eventually appearing as "The Great Comet" bicycle daredevil at Chutes Park, Los Angeles.

It was at The Chutes that "Aeronaut Colby" reappeared as one of that amusement park's hot air balloonists and parachutists. More importantly, The Chutes doubled as an aerodrome for Roy Knabenshue, Thomas Scott Baldwin and several other pioneering American dirigible pilots and engineers. (T.S. Baldwin was also an ex-circus acrobat.)

Among them was Los Angeles impresario Richard "Dick" Ferris who was sponsoring one of, if not the first American National Guard aviation unit(s) through his ownership of the gas balloons "United States" and "American." Ferris drafted Charles Colby as his test and demonstration pilot for the Signal Corp and the upcoming 1910 Los Angeles Air Meet he (Ferris) was organizing, another American first. "Aeronautical Squad, Company A" held several training exercises in and around the LA Basin before disbanding in favor of fixed-wing aircraft. How much all of that had to do with Ferris' involvement in Baja's Magonista Revolt is up for grabs. He was charged but it never went to trial.

The Chutes park closed (and soon reopened as LA's first black-owned and operated amusement park.) Charles Colby went back to vaudeville yet again but with somewhat better results this time. He married second wife Jane Bellis (of Seattle, WA) January 1913 in Oakland, CA. She was widowed less than a year later on 31 October 1913 in San Francisco, CA. Professor Charles Edward Colby was laid to rest at Lawn Cemetery, Colma, CA.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 03 Mar 16 - 05:53 AM

Taken from one of their cabinet cards:

Mr & Mrs Colby-Way


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Colby (Martinique)
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 03 Mar 16 - 10:26 AM

Thanks for the links and the history. I enjoyed the music.


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