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Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye

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


Related threads:
Tune Req: Black is the color sung by Nina Simone (19)
Lyr Add: Black Is the Colour (A Marital Dirge) (1)
(DTStudy) Origin: Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair (95)
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,jewell@acs.ucalgary.ca 14 Feb 00 - 09:38 PM
Sorcha 14 Feb 00 - 09:40 PM
Crowhugger 14 Feb 00 - 10:30 PM
Harold W 14 Feb 00 - 11:41 PM
Mbo 14 Feb 00 - 11:48 PM
alison 14 Feb 00 - 11:49 PM
Mbo 14 Feb 00 - 11:53 PM
Sorcha 15 Feb 00 - 12:16 AM
Crowhugger 15 Feb 00 - 09:49 AM
Liz the Squeak 15 Feb 00 - 06:49 PM
wysiwyg 15 Feb 00 - 06:53 PM
Mbo 15 Feb 00 - 07:48 PM
paddymac 16 Feb 00 - 04:29 PM
GUEST,scathy@peoplepc.com 26 Jul 02 - 04:17 PM
Dead Horse 26 Jul 02 - 04:38 PM
MMario 26 Jul 02 - 04:38 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Jul 02 - 06:09 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Jul 02 - 06:22 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Jul 02 - 09:10 PM
michaelr 26 Jul 02 - 10:07 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Jul 02 - 11:17 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Jul 02 - 11:30 PM
Dicho (Frank Staplin) 26 Jul 02 - 11:37 PM
Malcolm Douglas 27 Jul 02 - 07:17 AM
Uncle_DaveO 27 Jul 02 - 02:49 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Jul 02 - 01:13 PM
Malcolm Douglas 28 Jul 02 - 03:13 PM
dick greenhaus 28 Jul 02 - 04:13 PM
Little Hawk 28 Jul 02 - 10:36 PM
WKG 28 Jul 02 - 10:45 PM
Jacob B 29 Jul 02 - 05:03 PM
John Minear 02 Aug 02 - 04:54 PM
GUEST,waslookingforthissongtoo 11 May 13 - 03:21 AM
Stilly River Sage 12 May 13 - 01:04 AM
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Subject: Another "Black is the Color...Love's Hair" tune
From: GUEST,jewell@acs.ucalgary.ca
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 09:38 PM

"The Golden Encyclopeadia of Folk Music" claims (and some web sites repeat it) that there is "another English ballad with somewhat similar tune (but with entirely different words)" to "Black is the Color of my True Love's Hair." However, I cannot find it, or any other reference to it, on the Web.

Reason: a claimed Canadian Folksong tune seems to be similar and I wonder if they might have a common origin.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Sorcha
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 09:40 PM

(Wonder if that's 'cause it's a CROW?):) Seriously, no I don't know.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Crowhugger
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 10:30 PM

Hey, wot's that dumping on crows! ;-)


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Harold W
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 11:41 PM

Are you sure it isn't "Black is the Color of my Love's True Hair?"


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Mbo
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 11:48 PM

IS this a song about prizefighters?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: alison
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 11:49 PM

I have heard this sung.. can't remember all fo it though

Black is the colour of my true love's eyes
In the morning

yellow is the colour of my true love's teeth
In the morning

slainte

alison


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Mbo
Date: 14 Feb 00 - 11:53 PM

This is starting to sound a lot like "Colours" by Donovan!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Sorcha
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 12:16 AM

Crowhugger--No, I would never really run down the Crow/Little Brother. I love them, I feed them, and an artificial one lives above my music table.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Crowhugger
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 09:49 AM

Sorcha, I feel so much better now. Thanks for clearing that up ;-)


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 06:49 PM

It was the 'colours' by Donovan, but it was indeed a much older song before he mangled, sorry, recorded it.... basically is was a song of praise for how beautiful the lady looked before she got up and put her makeup on.....

We always knew it as 'Red was the colour of my true loves' eyes, in the evening, when she's p***ed.....'

Yellow is the colour of my true loves' face, in the morning, hungover bad......

LTS


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: wysiwyg
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 06:53 PM

GUEST,jewell@acs.ucalgary.ca:

From the tone of the replies already posted, I am wondering if you are already an active Mudcatter I just haven't met yet. In the event that it not the case, see the long note I am sending to your personal e-mail!


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Mbo
Date: 15 Feb 00 - 07:48 PM

Oh, don't say mangled! I love Donovan and that song!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: paddymac
Date: 16 Feb 00 - 04:29 PM

Is Black the True Color of My Love's Hair?


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: GUEST,scathy@peoplepc.com
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 04:17 PM

I would appreciate the lyrics of an Appalachian folk song by the name of Black is the color of my true love's hair.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Dead Horse
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 04:38 PM

What's this about artificial Crows? Is it a wooden indian?


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: MMario
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 04:38 PM

Click on this link for the lyrics from the Digital Tradition.

url=http://www.mudcat.org/@displaysong.cfm?SongID=665


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SAILOR'S SWEETHEART (from V Randolph)
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 06:09 PM

According to Vance Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 1, p. 297, "Black is the Color...." is a version of "The Sailors' Sweetheart," aka "Moment's River Side," "The Lost Lover," etc., and is an English song. The first American mention is in Belden, 1910, Song-Ballads and other Popular Poetry. Here is version A of "The Sailor's Sweetheart" from Randolph (coll. 1928, perhaps contaminated by the John Jacob Niles-Jean Ritchie creation:

Lyr. Add: THE SAILOR'S SWEETHEART

Black is the color of my true love's hair,
His cheeks are as red as th' roses fair.
If he would return it would give me joy,
For none will I have but my sweet sailor boy.
Oh, mother, oh mother, go build me a boat,
That over th' ocean I may float,
An' ev'ry ship that I pass by
Where I may enquire for my sweet sailor boy.

She built her a boat an' she floated on the main,
She spied three ships just out of Spain,
She ask of the captain as he drew nigh,
Of him she did enquire of her sweet sailor boy.

Fair lady, fair lady, that never can be,
For he was drownded in the gulf sea,
Near by Rock Isle as we pass by,
There's where we lost your sweet sailor boy.

She stove her vessel against the rock,
An' I thought this lady's heart was broke,
She wrung her hands an' tore her hair,
Just like some lady in great dispair.

Go bring me a chair an' set me down,
An' a pen and ink to write it down,
At the end of every line she dropped a tear,
At the end of the verse cried oh my dear.

There's only one thing that I crave,
Is a marble tomp stone on my grave,
And on my breast a mournin' dove
To show the world I died for love.

With music. Note resemblance at end to "A tavern in the town."
@ballad @lost love, @traditional


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 06:22 PM

A version of the "Sailor's Sweetheart" was coll. by Campbell and Sharp, 1917, "English Folk Songs from the Southern Appalachians," and by Cox 1925, Folk Songs of the South."
I will check the Cox later.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 09:10 PM

This song has many names, including Sweet William, Sweet Willie, The Lost Lover, Down by the River Side, The Sailor Sweetheart, The Sailor and His Bride, Moment's River Side, The Forsaken Lover, The Sailor Boy, The Faithful Sailor Boy, etc. (Cox, Randolph,Brown).
The song is difficult to look up because the titles overlap with those of other (unrelated and related) songs.
There are others that speak of a lover's black curls, etc.
They all seem to vary around "The Sailor's Sweetheart, given above.
Scathy, I could give you other Appalachian-Ozark versions if you want them.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: michaelr
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 10:07 PM

WHITE is the colour of my true love's bum...


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 11:17 PM

Version in the DT, "Black is the color of my true love's hair"- is this the Campbell-Sharp collected version of 1916, as stated, or is it the Niles-Ritchie arrangement?


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 11:30 PM

There are five versions in the Max Hunter Collection. I especially like "Willie Boy," as sung by Mrs. Lucy Quigley of Arkansas. (Also known as Down by the River Side).

Willie Boy


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Dicho (Frank Staplin)
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 11:37 PM

If you are not familiar with the Max Hunter Collection, Real Audio is given, along with sheet music.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 27 Jul 02 - 07:17 AM

Re. the DT set; that's a good question; the notes are not exactly a model of clarity in this case. We discussed the song last year in this thread: black is the color?from where?; it's a pity, really, that "scathy" chose to revive this rather older thread instead.

The DT file appears to be a transcription from a recording by Jean Ritchie. It isn't exactly the set that Sharp got from Mrs. Lizzie Roberts at Hot Springs, N.C., in 1916, but, according to Jean, is likely based on it. Of Mrs. Roberts' six verses, this has four; verses 1, 4, 6, 3 and 1 again. The tune has mutated but is recognisable. Niles' tune is recognisably based on it (or on a similar variant) but rather changed. Besides some background from Jean, there are various useful links in the other discussion, including a sound clip of Niles singing his melody, and an example at Hunter which is also recognisably a variant of the same tune.

The original source of the song remains a mystery, though it was found twice in Ireland in the 1970s (Joe Heaney and Sean 'ac Donncha); it seems not unlikely that these are imports from America rather than traditional in Ireland; certainly the melody, Dark is the Colour of My True Love's Hair, nowadays regularly described as Irish, was actually learned by Willie Clancy from Jean Ritchie, at one or two removes.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 27 Jul 02 - 02:49 PM

The "Black is the color" involving the girl distraught at the drowning of her lover is very closely echoed in "My Sweet Pinery Boy", a lumberman's song about a lumberjack drowned on the river, which I have in an old 10 inch LP from Folkways.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Jul 02 - 01:13 PM

There are two versions in DT- the second one is directly from Sharp, and is so attributed. I'll have to get around to putting in JJ Niles' version (I'm not sure why he's so violently excoriated for copyrighting it; Oscar Brand copyroghted Cindy, Oscar Brand copyrighted Yankee Doodle...a long standing, if dubious practice.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 28 Jul 02 - 03:13 PM

Ah, the color/colour distinction; I was forgetting. I've referred to both copies in other discussions, and should have remembered. After a while, though, when the same subjects come up time and again, it's hard to remember what I've said and what I haven't. If only the search engine were updated! The two DT files are:

BLACK IS THE COLOUR The Lizzie Roberts set, correctly attributed as Dick says.

BLACK IS THE COLOR OF MY TRUE LOVE'S HAIR The one Dicho was talking about, I think, to which MMario provided a link earlier on. The notes are not a little ambiguous.

The relationship of the song to the Sailor's/Soldier's Life group is complex; the fact of shared verses in itself proves nothing, but variants in both groups have recognisably related tunes, which would suggest, perhaps, that Black is the Colo[u]r may derive from the other, having lost its narrative components and picked up floating verses from elsewhere to bulk it out again. Or, of course, it may not.

The problem with Niles is not (from my point of view at least) that he copyrighted the song, but that he claimed to have written the tune; the implication being that he made it from scratch, which, on examination, he obviously didn't, though it's certainly fair to say that he modified it significantly and that, in that form, he had a perfect right to claim it. The lack of proper information muddies the waters with so much of traditional music (particularly where the tradition and the revival share boundaries) that I do find it hard to forgive an influential person like Niles who, not to put too fine a point on it, told lies about his material and -probably- sources. The result is that it's now risky to believe anything he said that can't be checked, and a valuable resource is rendered largely useless. He was far from being the first and he won't be the last, but he's certainly a case in point.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 28 Jul 02 - 04:13 PM

Of course, Woody Gutrhrie's copyrights are for Words and Music of all his songs. The subject of Fakelore is one ripe for investigation.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Little Hawk
Date: 28 Jul 02 - 10:36 PM

It's strange how many of the old trad songs have a hero named "Willie", considering the way that word is often used now in the U.K. Perhaps it did not have the same phallic connotations back then...

- LH


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: WKG
Date: 28 Jul 02 - 10:45 PM

How is it that nobody has yet mentioned the Smothers Brothers' (then) shocking foray into miscegenation:

Black is the color of my true love.


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Jacob B
Date: 29 Jul 02 - 05:03 PM

The Smothers Brothers version that I know is very different. It goes:

Black, black, black is the color of my love's true hair
Though her tresses are as red as a rose
Black, black, black is the color of my love's true hair
And only her hairdresser knows
Does she or doesn't she
Only her hairdresser knows!


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Subject: Lyr Add: DARK IS THE COLOR OF MY SWEETHEART'S HAIR
From: John Minear
Date: 02 Aug 02 - 04:54 PM

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."


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: GUEST,waslookingforthissongtoo
Date: 11 May 13 - 03:21 AM

Black is the color of my true love's eyes
Darker than a starless night
When I'm drowning and feeling blind
My true love will hold me tight

The song is "Black" by The Shroud


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Subject: RE: Black is the Color of My True Love's Eye
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 12 May 13 - 01:04 AM

Interesting that what was old is new again. The Shroud, a gothic rock band.


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