Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone

DigiTrad:
BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MY TRUE LOVE'S HAIR (1)
BLACK IS THE COLOUR (2)


Related threads:
Lyr Add: Black Is the Colour (A Marital Dirge) (1)
(DTStudy) Origin: Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair (95)
Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye (34)
Irish pronunciation 'Black is the Color' (21)
Black is the color (30)
Lyr Req: Black is the Colour (8)
Chords: Black is the colour (8)
Tune Req: Irish Black is the Colour (38)
Tune Req: Black Is the Colour of My True Love's... (21)
Lyr Req: Black is the Colour as Gaeilge? (8)
Help: Copyright: Black is the Colour (11)
Tune Req:Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair (5)
Lyr Add: Parody-Black Is The Colour (7)
Help: 'Black is the color' verse question... (16)


GUEST 19 Sep 18 - 08:31 AM
Jack Campin 19 Sep 18 - 08:59 AM
Stanron 19 Sep 18 - 10:05 AM
GUEST 19 Sep 18 - 12:05 PM
BrooklynJay 19 Sep 18 - 02:21 PM
GUEST 19 Sep 18 - 03:25 PM
Stanron 19 Sep 18 - 03:31 PM
BrooklynJay 19 Sep 18 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 19 Sep 18 - 05:17 PM
leeneia 19 Sep 18 - 07:04 PM
leeneia 19 Sep 18 - 07:11 PM
GUEST 20 Sep 18 - 07:11 AM
leeneia 20 Sep 18 - 12:01 PM
Joe Offer 20 Sep 18 - 02:27 PM
Joe Offer 20 Sep 18 - 02:59 PM
Joe Offer 20 Sep 18 - 03:06 PM
Brian Peters 20 Sep 18 - 03:24 PM
Joe Offer 20 Sep 18 - 03:55 PM
leeneia 21 Sep 18 - 09:44 AM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:





Subject: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 08:31 AM

Hello! Does anyone have the sheet music for 'Black is the color of my true love's hair' to the tune sung by Nina Simone? Thank you for any help!
https://www.bing.com/search?q=Black+is+the+colour+nina+simone&pc=MZSL02&form=MOZLBR


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: Jack Campin
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 08:59 AM

Didn't she do the John Jacob Niles version?

The Hamish Imlach one is better - composed in mid-performance when he was too drunk to remember Niles's one properly, but for once that approach worked.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: Stanron
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 10:05 AM

I wouldn't fancy having to notate her version. First of all is the lack of strict time. It can be done but I find it brain numbing. Then she isn't singing the tune. She is improvising melodically on the tune of EM's original. Every phrase is embellished and every repeat of a melodic line will be different. It wouldn't just be a matter of notating one verse and using repeats. You'd have to notate the whole thing. Not for me.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not criticising her performance. It's gorgeous. Notating it would be a nightmare.

Learning it by ear would be a good exercise but I guess the request for notation means that ear work is not an option. What she does here, both with voice and with her piano work, shows mastery of musical understanding, not only in a technical sense but also emotionally too. Aim high. Good luck.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 12:05 PM

EM?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 02:21 PM

Possibly Ed McCurdy?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 03:25 PM

Thank you so much for your responses.

Yes, I realise that she's ad libbing a lot, and this performance is totally her own, so would not even want to try and replicate it! I was after the melody she's based this version on - not the famous Christy Moore version...

Is the version she sings a alternate trad. melody or was it written by someone we know? as you've suggested above.... Ed McCurdy or John Jacob Niles?

Thanks again for any help


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: Stanron
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 03:31 PM

Sorry about the EM. In a brain fade moment I was thinking of First time ever I saw your face'.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: BrooklynJay
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 04:41 PM

Just a clarification: Ed McCurdy's version (which I pretty much grew up with) uses the melody by John Jacob Niles, not the trad one.

Haven't been able to find it on the Internet, though. (Maybe I don't know where to look...)


Jay


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 05:17 PM

Go to You Tube, put in Black is the Colour - Song and you will have several versions.

The song was first noted it seems by John A Lomax in 1916.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: leeneia
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 07:04 PM

I did some looking, and I'm surprised that there is not free sheet music for this famous American tune. There is music in the DT, but it's only half of the tune. (It's the same half-tune as at abcnotation.com)

Sure, there are people willing to sell it to you in five flats, but...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: leeneia
Date: 19 Sep 18 - 07:11 PM

When all hope is lost, try your public library. Ask a librarian, and mention John Jacob Niles and John Lomax as editors. Don't overlook the possibility of Inter-library Loan.

As for Nina Simone, she is basically singing an old version with maybe one or two changes of note. And of course, a lot of ornamentation which would be very hard to write down. If you like the song, I think you can enjoy it fine without the ornamentation.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: GUEST
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 07:11 AM

Thank you, knowing the original tune is by John Jacob Niles should be enough to help me. Thanks all


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: leeneia
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 12:01 PM

Nile didn't write it. He was a collector, and he wrote it down and published it from the singing of somebody in a rural area.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 02:27 PM

That, leeneia, is a longstanding matter of debate...

Many (most?) question the authenticity of songs "collected" by Niles, and suspect that he composed the melodies himself and called them "traditional." This one, in particular, is usually attributed to Niles - and it's a melody that Niles himself claims to have written.



Here's an extraordinary live 1969 performance by Nina Simone: I think she bases her interpretation on the Niles tune.

Here's a sample of the Niles sheet music: https://www.musicnotes.com/sheetmusic/mtd.asp?ppn=MN0114897


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 02:59 PM

Here's the second version from the Digital Tradition. I checked it with the book, and I can vouch for its near-exact accuracy. It's #85 in the second volume of Sharp/Karpeles English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians. The notation is almost exactly what's in the Sharp/Karpeles book, and the lyrics are an exact copy. Sharp/Karpeles has only this one version.
BLACK IS THE COLOUR (2)

But Black is the colour of my true love's hair.
His face is like some rosy fair,
The prettiest face and the neatest hands,
I love the ground whereon he stands.

I love my love and well he knows
I love the ground whereon he goes
If you no more on earth I see,
I can't serve you as you have me.

The winter's passed and the leaves are green
The time is passed that we have seen,
But still I hope the time will come
When you and I shall be as one.

I go to the Clyde for to mourn and weep,
But satisfied I never could sleep,
I'll write to you a few short lines
I'll suffer death ten thousand times.

So fare you well, my own true love
The time has passed, but I wish you well.
But still I hope the time will come
When you and I will be as one.

I love my love and well he knows
I love the ground whereon he goes,
The prettiest face, the neatest hands
I love the ground whereon he stands.

From English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians, Sharp
Collected from Mrs. Lizzie Roberts, NC 1916
@love
filename[ BLACKCO2
TUNE FILE: BLACKCO2
CLICK TO PLAY
RG



I don't know that I've ever heard a performance of the song using this melody. I think the Niles melody has predominated.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 03:06 PM

Now, this is the first version we have in the Digital Tradition - and I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this one. The notation (and the "Black, black, black" lyrics) are the version sung by Niles (click), but I can't figure out where the printed "Clyde" lyrics come from. The only Niles songbook I know of, is his Ballad Book, which does not contain this song.,
BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MY TRUE LOVE'S HAIR (1)

Black is the color of my true love's hair
Her lips are like some rosy fair
The purest eyes and the neatest hands
I love the ground whereon she stands

I go to the Clyde for to mourn and weep
But satisfied I never can sleep
I'll write to you in a few short lines
I'll suffer death ten thousand times

I know my love and well she knows
I love the grass whereon she goes
If she on earth no more I see
My life will quickly fade away

A winter's past and the leaves are green
The time has past that we have seen
But still I hope the time will come
When you and I will be as one

Black is the color of my true love's hair
Her lips are like some rosy fair
The purest eyes and the neatest hands
I love the ground whereon she stands

____________
Well known arrangement by John Jacob Niles. This version is from
Cecil Sharp. Recorded by Jean Ritchie
@love

filename[ BLACKCOL
TUNE FILE: BLACKCOL
CLICK TO PLAY
DC



Note that while this notation is a reasonable transcription of the Niles melody, the lyrics are not the ones sung by Niles.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: Brian Peters
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 03:24 PM

The first version posted by Joe - collected by Cecil Sharp from Lizzie Roberts in 1916 - is the authentic one, and the source for most of the subsequent versions (including Irish ones) from Jean Ritchie onwards. There was a Mudcat discussion a few years ago in which Jean herself revealed that her sister and cousin had learned it from Sharp when he and Maud Karpeles visited their school in 1917.

I don't know about the second version posted by Joe. It's not from Sharp and not as sung by Ritchie (perhaps someone should correct those details?), but it is similar to Nina Simone's As Joe has said, Niles is notorious for having doctored songs.

Sharp and others collected several related songs sharing some of the same floating verses, but with alternative hair colour, etc.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Sep 18 - 03:55 PM

Here's the Niles recording I'm most familiar with:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=luIxKOKp-dc

Here's another recording by Niles:

And here's my transcription.

BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MY TRUE LOVE'S HAIR
(as sung by John Jacob Niles)

Black, black, black is the color of my true love’s hair,
Her lips are something rosy fair.
The prettiest face and the daintiest hands,
I love the grass whereon she stands.

I love my love, and well she knows,
I love the grass whereon she goes.
If she on earth no more I see,
My life will quickly leave me.

I go to troublesome to mourn, to weep,
But satisfied, I ne’er shall (could?) sleep.
I’ll write her a note in a few little lines,
And suffer death ten thousand times.

Black, black black is the color of my true love’s hair,
Her lips are something rosy fair.
The prettiest face and the daintiest hands,
I love the grass whereon she stands.

I think a lot of people use the Niles melody, but leave out the annoying [IMHO] "black, black, black" affectation.


Here's a recording of Jo Stafford singing the Niles version exactly as I'd sing it - without the first measure (i.e., with only one "black.") This recording may not play outside the U.S.:


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone
From: leeneia
Date: 21 Sep 18 - 09:44 AM

Again, what's in the DT is only half of the song.

Troublesome should have a capital T. Troublesome was a name sometimes used for creeks which tended to flood. There is a Troublesome Creek in a wildlife refuge near me.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 October 10:12 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.