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Folklore: Black, white yellow and green

GUEST,PMB 02 Jul 07 - 04:39 AM
Liz the Squeak 02 Jul 07 - 05:25 AM
GUEST 02 Jul 07 - 05:51 AM
GUEST,PMB 02 Jul 07 - 06:08 AM
IanC 02 Jul 07 - 06:39 AM
TheSnail 02 Jul 07 - 07:07 AM
Joybell 02 Jul 07 - 07:59 PM
Joybell 02 Jul 07 - 08:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jul 07 - 10:04 PM
Bob Bolton 02 Jul 07 - 10:43 PM
Malcolm Douglas 02 Jul 07 - 10:50 PM
GUEST,crazy little woman 02 Jul 07 - 10:52 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 02 Jul 07 - 10:55 PM
Bill D 03 Jul 07 - 10:50 PM
Liz the Squeak 04 Jul 07 - 01:50 AM
TheSnail 04 Jul 07 - 06:05 AM
paddymac 04 Jul 07 - 09:49 AM
Jack Campin 04 Jul 07 - 10:32 AM
Jack Campin 04 Jul 07 - 12:49 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 04 Jul 07 - 01:02 PM
boldreynard 14 Feb 11 - 06:55 PM
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Subject: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 04:39 AM

I know the song, but what is the significance of this colour combination?


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 05:25 AM

Not everyone knows the song, what context are these colours in?

Evil, purity, cowardice and envy are all conveyed by those colours, but they could just as easily be snooker balls.

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 05:51 AM

The song In Digitrad. The first verse or a variant thereof is often sung by morris dancers as an intro.
^^^
BLACK, WHITE, YELLOW AND GREEN

There was an old woman, she kept fat hogs
She made plum puddings, they poisoned the dogs
They were black, white, yellow and green

Black, white, yellow and green
The rarest plum puddings you ever have seen
They were black, white, yellow and green

She took them and dropped them into the pot
She boiled them until they were blazing hot
They were black, white, yellow and green

She baked them until they were blazing red
One was like leather, the other like lead
They were black, white, yellow and green

She took up a pin and pricked the skin
The gravy ran out and the maggots ran in
They were black, white, yellow and green

She took them and put them down on the floor
They each in turn ran out of the door
They were black, white, yellow and green

She took them and put them up on the shelf
If you want any more, you can help yourself
They were black, white, yellow and green^^^
    Please note that anonymous posting is no longer allowed at Mudcat. Use a consistent name [in the 'from' box] when you post, or your messages risk being deleted.
    Thanks.
    -Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: GUEST,PMB
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 06:08 AM

Sorry for the anonymity- I posted the above.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: IanC
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 06:39 AM

Black & white is the normal colour of puddings ... yellow & green are various stages of degradation (cf "Green & Yeller").

:-)


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: TheSnail
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 07:07 AM

The tune is the Black Joke or Joak which derives from a bawdy 18C song which is in the DT - Black Joke and The Coal Black Joak. It seems to have resulted in lots of imitations at the time including Red, White, Yellow and Brown Joaks (but not Green so far) which I've found the dots to. They all seem to have the characteristic of having peculiar numbers of bars in one or more of the parts but are in various time signatures.

There is also a True Joak recorded by John Kirkpatrick which has the same characteristic. I've also come across references to Blue and Grey Joaks and a few uncoloured ones.

Not sure if any of this is remotely relevant but there you go.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 07:59 PM

I believe I've seen American variants of "Lord Randal" that mention eels of these colours. They have been boiled up and served to him as a poisoned meal. The versions in Child (12) don't have those exact colours - although black and white and blue are mentioned fairly often.
Cheers, Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Joybell
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 08:11 PM

OK. Looks like a good place to look is in variants of "Lord Randal" called "Henry my Son". A song (music hall maybe) called "Green and Yeller" might be a good place to start.
Joy


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 10:04 PM

Recorded by Seamus Ennis, 1955. By Leslie Bane? Listed on folktrax.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 10:43 PM

G'day all,

I think that IanC's expalnation is probably as close as we can get to the 'significance' of the colours.

The Digitrad version of the song is as sung by the Mudcat's Burl ... perhaps he might be able to cast further light on any other significance.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 10:50 PM

Sung by Leslie Bane of Northrepps, Norfolk. Seamus Ennis recorded a few sings from him for the BBC archive, but I don't know of any substantive information about him.

Roud 9212. The other examples listed are the nursery rhyme 'There was an old woman sold puddings and pies' which may or may not be related; at all events they tell us nothing much about this particular song. All revival examples appear to derive from Mr Bone's version.

I wouldn't think there was any special significance to the list of colours except a design to sound amusingly revolting.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: GUEST,crazy little woman
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 10:52 PM

"Black, white, green, and yellow" is a veiled reference to the Goldfinch Guerillas, a cadre of renegade codfisherman who were active in Nova Scotia in the mid-nineteenth century.

The maggots, of course, were the Molly McGuires.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 02 Jul 07 - 10:55 PM

All from Norfolk, of course.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Bill D
Date: 03 Jul 07 - 10:50 PM

Burl used to start many concert with that song...to get the audience's attention, and see if they could sing and were friendly..*grin*...when he was not performing for awhile, I decided to learn it myself...and have tested the self control of many friends since then. It's a fine song.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 01:50 AM

So not snooker balls then? *Grin*

LTS


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: TheSnail
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 06:05 AM

"For those watching in black and white, the yellow ball is behind the green"


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: paddymac
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 09:49 AM

Crazy Little Woman - Explain, please.

"The maggots, of course, were the Molly McGuires."


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 10:32 AM

The puddings are the materials used in the alchemical process. Leslie Bane must have been an alchemical adept and he left a few colours out just to be confusing.

"These transfigurations are particularly described in the Book of the Seven Egyptian Seals, where it is said (as also by all Authors) that the Stone, before it will wholly forsake his blackness, and become white in the fashion of a most shining marble, and of a naked flaming sword, will put on all the colours that thou canst possibly imagine, often will it melt, and often coagulate itself, and amidst these divers and contrary operations (which the vegetable soul which is in it makes it perform at one and the same time) it will grow Citrine, green, red (but not of a true red) it will become yellow, blue, and orange colour, until that being wholly overcome by dryness and heat, all these infinite colours will end in this admirable Citrine whiteness, of the colour of Saint Pauls garments, which in a short time will become like the colour of the naked sword; afterwards by the means of a more strong and long decoction it will take in the end a red Citrine colour, and afterward the perfect red of the vermillion, where it will repose itself forever."

- Ripley's Exposition of the Hieroglyphicall Figures of Nicholas Flamel

They are also the colours of four of the five Transcendental Buddhas. He left out blue/black, the colour of Akshobhya, the Buddha of killing and anger, who transforms those into Mirror-Like Wisdom.


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Subject: The Philosopher's Pudding again
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 12:49 PM

Oops. The missing colour is RED, the colour of the Buddha Amitabha. Which is of course the climactic colour of the alchemical sequence. Obviously Bane didn't want to give such an important secret away.


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 04 Jul 07 - 01:02 PM

Wal, I never!


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Subject: RE: Folklore: Black, white yellow and green
From: boldreynard
Date: 14 Feb 11 - 06:55 PM

Does anyone know whether one can access an archived BBC recording online? The Roud index lists a version of this song as "BBC recording 22159" as recorded by Leslie Bane: is there any way to hear this?


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