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a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?

Gutcher 21 Oct 12 - 02:48 AM
Gutcher 21 Oct 12 - 03:16 AM
GUEST,999 21 Oct 12 - 11:45 AM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 21 Oct 12 - 01:49 PM
Tradsinger 21 Oct 12 - 02:13 PM
doc.tom 21 Oct 12 - 04:44 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Oct 12 - 05:05 PM
McGrath of Harlow 21 Oct 12 - 06:00 PM
GUEST,999 21 Oct 12 - 06:45 PM
Gibb Sahib 21 Oct 12 - 06:52 PM
MGM·Lion 22 Oct 12 - 12:30 AM
Joe Offer 22 Oct 12 - 12:48 AM
johncharles 22 Oct 12 - 03:34 AM
Jack Campin 22 Oct 12 - 06:03 AM
Gutcher 22 Oct 12 - 06:42 AM
The Sandman 22 Oct 12 - 12:39 PM
Gutcher 22 Oct 12 - 12:49 PM
Murpholly 22 Oct 12 - 01:14 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 22 Oct 12 - 01:35 PM
Jim Carroll 22 Oct 12 - 01:37 PM
The Sandman 22 Oct 12 - 01:39 PM
The Sandman 22 Oct 12 - 02:08 PM
The Sandman 22 Oct 12 - 03:21 PM
Haruo 22 Oct 12 - 03:32 PM
GUEST 22 Oct 12 - 03:39 PM
Lynn W 22 Oct 12 - 05:33 PM
GUEST,mg 22 Oct 12 - 06:17 PM
GUEST,mg 22 Oct 12 - 06:21 PM
hobofoto 22 Oct 12 - 06:41 PM
GUEST,warren fahey 22 Oct 12 - 08:50 PM
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Subject: a question for folklorists
From: Gutcher
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 02:48 AM

Watching BBC Alba[Gaelic] yesterday evening a group called "Fiddlers Bid" from Shetland mentioned that one of their CDs was called "All Dressed In Yellow".
My question is this, is there any significance in a lass being dressed in yellow or was it simply the fact that yellow was an easy colour to produce from vegetable matter?.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists
From: Gutcher
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 03:16 AM

Sorry----vegetable or plant matter


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 11:45 AM

Gutcher, interesting questions. Naturally occurring yellow dyes are abundant around the world.

"Yellow is a very easy colour to produce from natural dyes. The most light and wash-fast natural yellow dyes are found in Weld dye and Dyers' Greenweed. The pigment in both is luteolin.

Black oak, onion skins and some other natural yellow dye plants contain quercitin, which produces a nice yellow, although it is not as colour fast."

I find the idea of available dyes affecting folk songs or other songs fascinating.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 01:49 PM

The line comes from this song I think: Saa You My Maggie:

  Shu wis aa dressed in yallow
  Aa dressed in yallow,
  Aa dressed in yallow wi her cots abune her knee.

and I think is just descriptive, with no occult significance.

(For other uses of the colour yellow see Give Me My Yellow Hose Again (XLII, about a quarter of the way down the page) - a man lamenting for his carefree batchelor days).

Mick


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists
From: Tradsinger
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 02:13 PM

People are alwsys trying to look for hidden symbolism in the words of folk songs when there isn't any. Yellow probably just sounded the right word for the lyrics of the song - also connotations of bright, summery, sunshiny, thence happy etc.

Tradsinger


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists
From: doc.tom
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 04:44 PM

Wear this yellow hankerchief...
Bonnie blue handkerchief...
Shake that girl with the blue dress on...
The green bed...
etc, etc, etc.
Tradsinger is so right!


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 05:05 PM

Mmm, ok... It's quite possible that the colors mean something OR they are just incidental. I'm not sure why the question of significance needs to be quickly dismissed.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 06:00 PM

Green does seem to have some witchy suggestion in some ballads. And the term "scarlet women" is still a loaded term. But generally I think colours are just colours.

Though "Beige" these days does tend to be used as a put down. If a song described someone as being dressed in beige there'd be a plain (and most unfair) implication that they were a bit boring.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: GUEST,999
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 06:45 PM

My own interest is whether the availability of cloth dyes influenced the choice of colours the then-songwriters used in songs. For example,

'Flax (also known as Light Goldenrod) is a pale yellowish-gray color named after flax seeds. It is similar to the color mustard.
[edit]Flax in culture

French impressionistic composer Claude Debussy's prelude N.8 Book 1 for Piano, "La fille aux cheveux de lin" (The Girl with the Flaxen Hair), uses the color flax in its title.
The main character in the Spice & Wolf Japanese novel, Horo, has been described as having flax-colored hair.
In the novel A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett, the girl Ermengarde St. John is described as having flaxen hair.
Zossimov, a character from Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment, is described as having "straight flaxen hair."'

Obviously, each of those writers cited in that Wikipedia article had flax or knew of it otherwise they wouldn't have used that as a colour in song or composition.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 21 Oct 12 - 06:52 PM

Yellow is a spring color, is it not?

In the cultural context of Punjab (India), an artistic work that had someone dressed in yellow --i.e. which emphasized they were dressed in yellow -- would very likely be setting the scene as springtime, and possibly evoking themes of joy, blossoming, birth.

Red relates to weddings and happiness. White relates to funerals and purity. Black has certain religious connotations. Green is Sufism. etc.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: MGM·Lion
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 12:30 AM

Part of the tricking of the pompous and self-righteous steward Malvolio in Shax's 12th Night is to induce him to wear yellow stockings, incompatible with his usual puritanical form of attire, in the presence of his mistress, Lady Olivia, who he has been gulled by a fake letter into believing was in love with him. The obvious point of the colour here was its incongruous garishness, especially in the house of mourning that Olivia purports to be maintaining for her dead brother to avoid the unwelcome solicitations of her wooer, Count Orsino. It is also, we are told by her chief Lady-in-Waiting, "a colour she detests", tho no particular reason for this is given

Yellow obviously a particularly bright colour. Also, of course, the colour of gold, with its many symbolic overtones.

Whether any of this of help within parameters of this thread is for others, esp OP, to judge.

~M~


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 12:48 AM

Do I have this wrong? I thought the yellow handkerchief was the sign of a flash girl, and a flash girl was a prostitute. Is that correct?

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: johncharles
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 03:34 AM

yellow has certainly been linked with disease and prostitution.
Red - promiscuous/sex
Green - sex out on the grass
white - no sex yet
black - death mourning
Usual folk song themes really of sex and death: happy times.
john


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 06:03 AM

The track with that title seems to be an instrumental, from the sample.

John Barleycorn is associated with yellow as well.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Gutcher
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 06:42 AM

Yellow may have been easily produced from the litchen corklit but the litchen was hard to gather in S.W. Scotland and elsewhere as it only grew on mountain tops. the best of these for the purpose being described in the local rhyme:--                                    

"The Slock,Milquachar and Craigneen,
The Breeshie and Craignaw,
The five best hills for corklit,
That e"re the Star wife saw."

The Star was an outby sheep farm situated around fifteen miles from the nearest clachan.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 12:39 PM

Wear this yellow hankerchief."doc tom
well as I understand, the term wear the yellow handkerchief as in the song flash company, was a sign of having venereal disease.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Gutcher
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 12:49 PM

The tune of the song given in the link by Mick does not appear to be related to the title tune of the C.D. although both are from Shetland.
"Saw Ye My Maggie" was accounted an old song at the time of Burns, who, if I remember correctly, comments on it. Until fairly recently a fuller version of the song was to be found on U-Tube, this was not appreciated for the quality of the singing but rather for the rarity of the song.
To my mind, as one brought up among hodden greys and such like muted colours, someone appearing all dressed in yellow would raise an eyebrow, although in more modern times no one would give it a second thought.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Murpholly
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 01:14 PM

Married in yellow - ashamed of the fellow


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 01:35 PM

That last seems to be fairly recent. I came across that in a rhyme online yesterday. It covered several colours and finished with something like married in white - everything will be all right, but I think the tradition of getting married in only white dates from Victorian times.

Mick


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 01:37 PM

From Sipmpson and Roud's Dictionary of English Folklore:
"Yellow. This colour carries few meanings in English lore, and no beliefs are attached to it. In the Middle Ages it stood for jealousy and treachery, and in the 19th and 20th centuries for cowardice; 'yellow-belly' is a mocking nickname for people of marshy districts, comparing them to frogs. In America a yellow ribbon indicates loyalty to an absent soldier or prisoner; this symbolism is spreading in Britain."
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 01:39 PM

Lyrics
Phoebe Smith sings The Yellow Handkerchief

Once I had a colour as red as a rose
Now my colour has fade like the lily that grow
Now my colour has fade like the lily that do grow
And if it wasn't for flash company I should never been so poor.

So you take this yellow handkerchief in a remembrance of me
And tie that round your neck, my love, in flash company
Flash company's been the ruin of me and the ruin of me quite
If it wasn't for flash company I should never been so poor.

Now it's singing and a dancing sure that is my delight
Flash company being the ruin of me and the ruin of me quite
Flash company being the ruin of me and a great many more
If it wasn't for flash company I should never been so poor.

Now you take a yellow handkerchief in a remembrance of me
And tie that round your neck, my love, in a flash company
Now flash company's been the ruin of me and a great many more
If it wasn't for flash company I should never been so poor.

Now its all you little flash girls take a warning by me
And never build your nest my love on the top of a tree
For the green leaves they will wither and the roots they will decade
And the beauty of a fair young maid that will soon fade away

So you take this yellow handkerchief in a remembrance of me
And tie that round your neck, my love, in your flash company
Flash company's been the ruin of me and the ruin of me quite
If it wasn't for flash company I should never been so poor.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 02:08 PM

Although the Mutiny of the Fleet at the Nore does not properly belong to this century, yet it so nearly approached it (1797), and was of such a national importance for the time being, that I venture to insert a ballad respecting it. The Navy was in a bad state. Many men had been impressed; they were badly paid and badly fed; and their punishment, for the slightest infraction of discipline, was fearful, 50 to 500 lashes, according to the temper of the captain, being no infrequent punishment for very venial offences. Early in the year the men sent in very respectful memorials to Lord Howe, telling him of their grievances. No notice was taken of it, and the men, probably ignorantly, committed a gross breach of discipline in combining together and opening communications with each other throughout the Fleet. They plotted to seize the ships and expel the officers; but it became known, and the Admiral gave orders to sail to sea. The men refused to do so, until their grievances had been looked into and redressed. This was promised and granted, but still the men were suspicious that faith would not be kept with them, and they set some of their officers ashore. Lord Howe, however, went to the Fleet at St. Helen's, and showed them an Act of Parliament, granting their demands, and this pacified that portion of the Fleet.
      But at the Nore there was open mutiny; they blockated the entrance to the Thames, and fired on several ships entering or departing. This could not be endured, and the Admiralty removed the buoys. Provisions ran short, and some men-of-war were sent alongside, with orders to sink those ships that did not surrender. They gave in one by one, and the chief ringleader, Richard Parker (a man of some education), and several others were hanged; but they were long regarded as martyrs. Parker was buried in the churchyard of St. Mary Matfelon, Whitechapel.

DEATH OF PARKER.

Ye Gods above, protect the widow,
And with pity look down on me,
Help me, help me out of trouble,
And out of all calamity.
For by the death of my brave Parker,
Fortune hath prov'd to me unkind;
Tho' doom'd by law, he was to suffer,
I can't erase him from my mind.

Parker he was my lawful husband,
My bosom friend I lov'd so dear;
At the awful moment he was going to suffer
I was not allowed to come near.
In vain I strove, in vain I asked,
Three times, o'er and o'er again,
But they replied, you must be denied,
You must return on shore again.

First time I attempted my love to see,
I was obliged to go away,
Oppress'd with grief, and broken hearted,
To think that they should me stay.
I thought I saw the yellow flag flying,
A signal for my husband to die,
A gun was fired, as they required,
As the time it did draw nigh.

The boatswain did his best endeavour,
To get me on shore without delay,
When I stood trembling and confounded,
Ready to take his body away.
Though his trembling hand did wave,
As a signal of farewell,
The grief I suffered at this moment,
No heart can paint, or tongue can tell.

My fleeting spirit I thought would follow,
The soul of him I love so dear,
No friend, nor neighbour would come nigh me,
For to ease me of my grief and care.
Every moment I thought an hour,
Till the law its course had run,
I wish'd to finish the doleful task,
His imprudence had begun.

In the dead of night, 'tis silent,
And all the world are fast asleep,
My trembling heart that knows no comfort,
O'er his grave does often weep,
Each lingering minute that passes,
Brings me nearer to the shore,
When we shall shine in endless glory,
Never to be parted more


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: The Sandman
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 03:21 PM

so we have two songs where yellow is associated with impending death.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Haruo
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 03:32 PM

The Yellow Rose of Texas? (obviously not British, but ?)

yellow as a cautionary colour in a traffic light

Asian/East Asian ("yellow menace")

Butter


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 03:39 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yellow_flag_%28contagion%29


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: Lynn W
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 05:33 PM

Interesting article here about the meaning of yellow stockings -
Yellow Stockings
They did seem to be associated with unfaithfulness. It quotes a ballad of 1586, Merry Jest of John Tomson and Jakaman his wife -
For yellow love is too-too bad,
without all wit or pollicie;
And too much love hath made her mad,
and fill'd her full of jealousie.
Shee thinkes I am in love with those
I speake to, passing by;
That makes her weare the yellow hose
I gave her for to dye.
(Roxburghe, 2:14l)


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 06:17 PM

I think Yellow Rose of Texas is supposed to refer to an Octaroon woman...and there are lots of "yellow gals" in songs, referring to their ethnicity.

Wasn't the color it was yellow in the ??? of Yarrow? mg


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 06:21 PM

Here is from Banks of Yarrow


VERSE 4
She searched for 'im up stream, searched for 'im down
With much distress an' sorrow
And found 'im where willows grew
On th bonnie banks of Yarrow

VERSE 5
Her hair it being three quarters long
The color it was yellow
She tied it around his middle small
An' pulled 'im from th Yarrow

Then there is DOnovan...Mellow Yellow and Yellow is the color of my true love's hair


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: hobofoto
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 06:41 PM

"remembrance" is an important part of the modern (19th/20th/21st) century interpretation. hence "she tied a yellow ribbon" and the [far too many] yellow ribbons tied 'round front yard trees.


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Subject: RE: a question for folklorists-All Dressed In Yellow?
From: GUEST,warren fahey
Date: 22 Oct 12 - 08:50 PM

The answer could possibly be in 'Tie A Yellow Ribbon Around The Old Oak Tree' symbolism. There are many suggested reasons/origins and you can google them - t'will further confuse you mudcatters.


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