The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #18179   Message #758944
Posted By: John Minear
02-Aug-02 - 04:54 PM
Thread Name: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
I wasn't sure where to post this, but since this thread seemed to be focusing on "Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair" rather than "eye", perhaps this is as good a place as any. The version, which goes back at least to Lizzie Roberts of Hot Springs, is a favorite of mine. In the early 1950's Maud Karpeles made a return trip to the Southern Appalachians to see if she could find any of the singers that she and Cecil Sharp had visited earlier. This time she took a recording machine. She found Lizzie Roberts and recorded her singing "Black is the Color". Her collection is in the Library of Congress. Some of it was released commercially on cassette. If you can find them, Lizzie Roberts' song is on BLACK IS THE COLOUR, by Folktracks Cassettes (UK), 1980. I was able to obtain this through Interlibrary Loan. The second tape is CUMBERLAND GAP.

In August of 1929, Mellinger Henry collected a version of this song from Mary E. King, in Gatlinburg Tennessee. He published it in his FOLK-SONGS FROM THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS,p. 266. There is no tune.

Dark is the color of my sweetheart's hair;
His cheeks are like some roses fair;
The prettiest face and neatest hands,
I love the grouond whereon he stands.

My dear sweetheart, my harmless love,
I hope we'll meet in heaven above;
And there to dwell with Christ forever;
My dear sweetheart, you are so clever.

I go to cry, to mourn, to weep;
But satisfy I never can sleep;
You have turned me away and broke my heart;
Oh, how can I from you depart?

Yes, you are all for this to blame;
That I must die in grief and shame;
And after death I will go home
And think of what you've done for me.

Many an hour have I spent with you;
But never knew that you wasn't true.
I found it out and cried aloud;
I must, I did, in all this crowd.

But if it be God's will, I'd rather
For us to llive in this world together;
For I have said and done my part;
I love you,, mister, with all my heart.

As you do pass me by so brave,
Look at the tomb-stone on my grave;
And read this there that you may see;
And think of what you have done to me.

This was also known, according to Henry, as "My Dear Sweetheart."