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Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink

DigiTrad:
BLUE-EYED GIRL
PRETTY LITTLE MISS


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss (19)
Lyr Add: Fly Around My Blue-Eyed Gal (3)


sian, west wales 13 Dec 06 - 05:35 PM
Goose Gander 13 Dec 06 - 06:36 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 06 - 07:48 PM
Richie 13 Dec 06 - 09:29 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 06 - 12:20 AM
Goose Gander 14 Dec 06 - 12:31 AM
sian, west wales 14 Dec 06 - 04:32 AM
Richie 14 Dec 06 - 06:43 AM
Richie 14 Dec 06 - 07:04 AM
Azizi 14 Dec 06 - 07:08 AM
Azizi 14 Dec 06 - 07:51 AM
sian, west wales 14 Dec 06 - 07:58 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 06 - 01:03 PM
sian, west wales 14 Dec 06 - 01:07 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 06 - 01:25 PM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 14 Dec 06 - 05:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 06 - 08:40 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 14 Dec 06 - 11:29 PM
sian, west wales 15 Dec 06 - 02:04 AM
Tannywheeler 15 Dec 06 - 11:24 AM
Goose Gander 15 Dec 06 - 11:36 AM
Goose Gander 22 Dec 06 - 04:09 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 11 Nov 14 - 02:53 PM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 11 Nov 14 - 03:13 PM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Nov 14 - 09:55 AM
Uncle_DaveO 12 Nov 14 - 10:02 AM
GUEST,Joseph Scott 13 Nov 14 - 12:38 PM
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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: sian, west wales
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 05:35 PM

Of course, it may well be that Burns 'lifted' them from 'tradition'; I don't think people were particularly bothered by that sort of thing at the time. I have the Songbag and actually marked it with a slip of paper with the ref: to Burns on it, so the connection certainly struck me on first reading.

Michael, I'm not sure what you're looking for with, " Wonder if there's more?"

??

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Goose Gander
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 06:36 PM

I just wondered if, along with the "pretty pink" and the various Charlie stanzas associated with this song, there were more phrases or verses from the various Pretty Little Pinks that have their source on the other side of the Atlantic (whether from Burns or elsewhere).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 07:48 PM

All of these phrases are in very simple songs or games, and many of the rhymes obvious;the source need not be unitary, but the result of independent invention.
It would take much detective work to demonstrate a relationship between some of them, even if pieces needed to show continuity were not missing.
If a parent, knowing Burns, referred to his daughter as 'pretty pink,' and in the playground the girl substituted that for 'pretty little miss' in order for it to rhyme with 'stink' (or whatever), should that be regarded as a survival?
The ubiquity of Mother Goose- and Lavender's Blue- type books must also be regarded as a contributing factor.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Richie
Date: 13 Dec 06 - 09:29 PM

Q,

I'd say there seems to be a connection or connections with England. The reference to Charlie "Bonnie Sweet Prince Charlie" and the Burns lines both indicate overseas transmission. Since many of the immigrants remaiened isolated in the Appalchians, folk songs could be found there that had entirely disappeared from their mother country.

The Burns isn't just the name, 'pretty pink' but is clearly related both in form and content:

"O dinna think my pretty pink,
But I can live without thee:
I vow and swear, I dinna care
How lang ye look about ye."

I'd like to find more examples also.

Richie


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 12:20 AM

Not just the Appalachians; the Bonnie Prince Charlie" stuff is well-known in the Maritimes of Canada, and many people here have some version of "Burns, the Complete Poems." Robbie Burns Day is big here, with the piped haggis, the speeches and the recitations, even here in western Canada.

Continuity of transmission is another matter altogether.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Goose Gander
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 12:31 AM

As Richie pointed out, there does seem to be more than a coincidental relationship between the Burns verse and Pretty Little Pink . . . .

From Burns:
"O dinna think my pretty pink,
But I can live without thee:
I vow and swear, I dinna care
How lang ye look about ye."

From Bradley Kincaid:
"I reckon you think my pretty little miss
That I can't live without you
But I'll let you know before I go
That I care very little about you"

From Mother Goose:
"My little pink I suppose you think,
I cannot do with out you.
I will let you know before I go,
How little I care about you."

From Randolph:
"My purty leetle pink I used to think
I couldn't live without you
But I'll let you know before I go
Thet I don't keer much about you"

There is also an apparent cross-Atlantic connection with the Charlie / Weavily Wheat verses.

From Kincaid:
"Charlie is a nice young man
Charley is a dandy
Every time he goes to town
He buys the ladies candy

I don't want none of your weazely wheat
I don't wnat none of your barley
Want some flour in half an hour
To bake a cake for Charlie"

Verses like these are commonly found in North America. Vance Randolph printed eight fragments of similiar verses under the title Weavily Wheat. 156 examples of the form can found in the Roud index #729. Of these, some are Scottish - here are a few references:

"O'er the Water to Charlie"
Buchan, Ancient Ballads and Songs 2 (1828 / 1875) pp.136-137

"Owre the Water to Torry"
Greig-Duncan 8 p.260 (version a)

"O'er the Water to Charlie"
Greig-Duncan Collection 1 pp.344-345 (version a)

"O'er the Water to Charlie"
Johnson, Scots Musical Museum 2 p.195 (No.187)

"O'er the Water to Charlie"
Hogg, Jacobite Relics of Scotland 2 pp.76-77

So between the Pretty Little Pink verses and the Charlie verses, I think it's clear there is some connection to British, or more specifically Scottish, sources. The exact nature of the relationship would be very difficult (if not impossible) to tease out, but obviously (to me, anyway) the antecedents of the song we are discussing go back to the British Isles.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: sian, west wales
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 04:32 AM

I don't know if there's any trail to follow via 'pink'. I've always assumed (and I think I'm correct in thinking) that this refers to the flower, 'the pink', as in 'clove pink'. This article is interesting and refers to it as a medieval flower, so perhaps that's the poetry which should be searched?

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Richie
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 06:43 AM

Although there may be a connection with the flower (to the word and color pink) I don't think any of the above verses infer the flower.

Traditionally pink is a color symbolic of the female gender. I think that this "pink" is a reference to woman/girl/miss.

Richie


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Subject: Lyr Add: PRETTY LITTLE PINK (from Mellinger Henry)
From: Richie
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 07:04 AM

Below is Pretty Little Pink from Mellinger Henry. There's no melody provided and the verses seem to be floaters. The second is usually found in "Black is the color" while the fith seem to be from Dark Holler." The meter and cadence are different suggesting a different song with Pretty Little Pink as the title (from the first floating verse). There are 11 complete verse and one partial. I've shown the first five:

Pretty Little Pink- Mellinger Henry
More Songs from the Southern Highlands
Obtained from the singing of Austin Harmon from Varnell, Georgia 1929

My pretty little pink
So fare you well
You slighted me,
But I wish you well.

The prettiest face,
And the meanest hand
I love the ground
Where on she stands.

I saw you the other day,
You looked so loving
And you were so gay,
You fooled and trifled you time away.

If on earth
No more shall see,
I can't serve you
As you serve me.

I'd rather build my home
On some icy hill
Where the sun refuses to shine-
A trusting girl is hard to find.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 07:08 AM

Sian, I'm "tickled pink" * that you posted the fact that you always thought that "pink" in "Pretty Little Pink" was a referent for a particular type of flower.

It makes sense that "pretty pink" could have referred to that particular type of flower, or to any type of flower which is pink.

In posts on this thread I've suggested that among 19th century {or earlier} African Americans, "Pink" could have been a referent for a mixed race African American woman who had very light skin color.

It's possible that "pink" in that song could have different meanings for different populations. It's also possible that pink can mean something entirely different for different populations. And it's possible that "pink' could have multiple meanings for the same population or populations. One of those meanings could be the same as the "standard meaning" and another meaning [or other meanings] could be different than the "standard meaning".

All this to say that in my opinion, "Pink" ** in this song could mean a flower and [at the same time] it could also mean a woman who is light skinned, especially among those persons {African Americans and non-African Americans} who were familiar with pink as a skin color referent or nickname for a light skinned person.


* Actually, I don't get pink when I'm tickled, but that phrase points out the use of color words that may or may not be taken literally.

** Note the capitalization of "Pink" means or implies that "Pink" is a substitution for a person's [in this case, a woman's] name. However, I'm backing down from the statement that I made earlier in this discussion, that this capitalization means or implies that the person was referring to someone called "Pinky/Pinkie" and that someone had to be a person of very light complexion. Perhaps it does, and perhaps it does not. Be that as it may or may not be, I continue to promote the theory [and am I the only one who has suggested this theory?!] that among 19th century African Americans, "Pink" may mean a woman of very fair complexion.

In that sense, this "Pretty Little Pink" verse can be placed among a 'fairly' large category of pre-emancipation African American rhymes that mention the skin complexion [and particularly the light skin complexion] of women who are courted [and in some cases lost].


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Azizi
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 07:51 AM

This is what I get for rushing to post...

Here's what I meant to write in the fourth "paragraph" of my 14 Dec 06 - 07:08 AM post:

It's possible that "pink" in that song could have the same meaning for different populations. It's also possible that pink can mean something entirely different for different populations. And it's possible that "pink' could have multiple meanings for the same population or populations. One of those meanings could be the same as the "standard meaning" and another meaning [or other meanings] could be different than the "standard meaning".


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: sian, west wales
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 07:58 AM

I'm with you on this one Azizi. And, Richie, I do actually think that the Burns reference is the flower - but that there is also a direct connection between the flower's colour and a 'blushing' young girl. There is a very specific tradition in Wales of overtly referring to people - particularly youths and young women - in botanical terms. When a song refers to 'blodau mis Mai' (flowers of May) it is referring to children born 'out of wedlock'. In one song, a girl is referred to as a stalk of wheat (OK - sounds a lot better in Welsh. Honest.) Interestingly, garden flowers very rarely appear in Welsh songs - wild flowers and crops are more usual - and I've always meant to start a comparison with English folk songs to see if there's any statistical differences ...

Anyhooooo, it would be interesting to hear from anyone familiar with the writing styles of the period in Scotland to see if the Welsh practice holds true there.

Oh - and there would also be the question of 'pink' as connected with 'girlie-ness'. When did they start painting the Ladies Washrooms pink? (God, that drives me mad!) Presumably, there was a time before everything girlish had to be pink. In Wales (and elsewhere) feminine pulchritude was a matter of being - sorry for this, Azizi! - 'gwyn' or 'white'. 'Gwyn' also means 'blessed' and 'fair'. I was once also told that to have white skin or white/fair hands meant that you were rich enough not to have to work hard out-of-doors for your living and was therefore class-related (not race-related).

So it may be that the flower connection is earlier than the pink=girl connection ... ?

Just floating an idea ...

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 01:03 PM

Hmmm- I have always related pink in the rhymes to flower color and comparison with a flower.

(I hope no one tries to identify the flower! Of course several could be referred to depending on locality and preference.)
'Pink' in North American gardens refers to Dianthus, that pretty little pink beloved of gardeners, but this is not universal.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: sian, west wales
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 01:07 PM

See my link at 04:32, Q. I was surprised by the 'Trivia' entry, but it's food for thought. Pinks are Dianthus here as well.

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 01:25 PM

I think mostly of the 'maiden pink,' and similar small types that seldom grow taller that one foot, and are most effective massed in a bed.

Several species being native to the UK and Europe, their cultivation is probably 'lost in antiquity.' (I have just checked my Sanders' Encyclopaedia of Gardening, so have instantly become knowledgeable).

Digression- I wonder if it has any use in old medicine?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 05:03 PM

Getting back to the subject- the song- I'd just add the Ritchie version to Michael Morris's comparisons of the "never could do without you" verse:

My pretty little pink, I once did think
I never could do without you-
Since I've lost all hopes of you
I care very little about you.

Which adds a "nose in the air" meaning, which always caused a smile amongst the menfolks.

AND: Of course the pink is a flower- at home our reference was the mountain pink,or starflower, left on high places by "the glacier," the old folks told us, very rare and lovely, blooms throughout springtime. Also, it rhymes with, "think!"


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 08:40 PM

More digression- Always a source of confusion and amusement, local flower names are meaningless to those from outside the area of reference. I have no idea what plant a 'mountain pink or starflower' would be in your area. It could be one of the alpine Dianthus, or it could be something quite different.
I remember a thread about flowers in a Carter Family song- never decided.

Although the last ice sheet glaciation did not extend into the Appalachians, the colder climate moved plant species south; with the end of the ice age, some plants that preferred cool climate moved 'up the mountain,' staying with the conditions they preferred (or so some believe).


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Subject: Lyr Add: BLACK JACK DAVY (trad. Missouri)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 14 Dec 06 - 11:29 PM

Lyr. Add: BLACK JACK DAVY

Come go with me, my pretty little pink,
Come go with me, my honey;
Come go with me to a distant land
Where we never will need for money,
Where we never will need for money.

The river slow, the heather bright,
The sky is low and hazy,
But ere the morning dawns again
You'll be gone with Black Jack Davy,
You'll be gone with Black Jack Davy.

Go bring me out my high heel shoes
That's made of Spanish leather,
And I will wear them out today
For flowers at the distant heather,
For flowers at the distant heather.

Go bring me out my milk-white horse
Which rides so light and steady;
I'll ride all day and I'll ride all night
Till I overtake my lady.

D. Hogan, West Plains, MO, High School, who "got it from an old lady."
"Five Old-Country Ballads," Kittredge, JAFL 25, 1912, pp. 171-177.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: sian, west wales
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 02:04 AM

kytrad, interesting that yours,the Burns song and SOME others have the 'nose in the air' suggestion. I've always liked the Burns one for the story of a girl who's looking for a 'better' match, egged on by her friends. And the faithful, poorer lover who, in the first verse, tells her, "Go - no skin off my nose." (Always a good ploy!)

Also reminds me of "My Poor Brown Coat and Me" ... but in that case he does find another and she marries 'bad'. (No pinks in that one, though.)

sian


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Tannywheeler
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 11:24 AM

The way I remember it was in a song KYTRAD (used to? still does?) sing that also had a verse:
"Charley's neat and Charley's sweet
And Charley, he's a dandy.
Charley, he's the very one
That stole my striped(pron: streye-ped) candy."
in addition to the verse she gave you above. I believe it was part of a group of songs she called "Play-party songs". As there was no dancing allowed, these songs had certain movement "games" that one did with a partner, but it was NOT dancing. Right.....Tw


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Goose Gander
Date: 15 Dec 06 - 11:36 AM

Because of all the floating Charlie / Weevily Wheat verses that turn up in Pretty Little Pink, I've started a thread for Weevily Wheat that hopefully will lead us to a better understanding of how the two are related.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Goose Gander
Date: 22 Dec 06 - 04:09 AM

This text comes from a manuscript that came out of an estate sale in southern Illinois. Based upon the songs, I'd say it dates to the mid-1930s.

PRETTY LITTLE PINK

Oh fly around my pretty little pink
Fly around my daisy
Fly around my pretty little pink
You almost drive me crazy.

Her cheeks as red as a red, red rose
Her eyes as a diamond brown
I'm going to see my pretty little pink
Before the sun goes down.

I reckon you think my pretty little miss
That I can't live without you
But I'll let you know before I go
That I care very little about you.

Every time I go that road
It looks so dark and cloudy
Every time I see that girl
I always tell her 'How Dye'.

Coffee grows on white oak trees
The river flows with brandy
Rocks on the hills all covered with gold
And the girls all sweeter than candy.

I'll put my knapsack on my back
My rifle on my shoulder
I'll march away to Mexico
And there I'll be a soldier.

Now looking at 100 WLS Barn Dance Favorites (M.M. Cole Publishing Co., Chicago, Illinois, 1935), it seems that this text is identical to that printed on p. 59, "introduced by Bradley Kincaid," though - interestingly (to me, anyway) - it is rather different than the text printed in Kincaid's Favorite Old-Time Songs and Mountain Ballads Book 2, (1929).


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 11 Nov 14 - 02:53 PM

Sara Martin (born 1884) and Richard M. Jones (born about 1890) copyrighted the song "Late Last Night." The lyrics they submitted to the Library Of Congress had "(The oldest blues in the world)" written at the bottom, and included

"Now come my little pink, come tell me what you think
You're long time making up your mind
I distinctly understand that you love another one
So how can your heart be mine"

and lyrics about taking morphine and, in contrast to when she was a good little girl, having neither dimes nor friends. "Late Last Night" used a simple IV-IV-I-I-V-V-I-I chord progression, a la "The Bucket's Got A Hole In It." If Martin and Jones were right in implying that this was a chord progression used very early on in blues, then the way, say, Bob Pratcher (born about 1893) sang "Got the blues, got the blues, can't be satisfied" in "If It's All Night Long" with a similar progression might represent some of the earliest blues in style. (Folklorist Howard Odum collected the lyrics "I got the blues and can't be satisfied/Brown-skin woman cause of it all/Lawd, Lawd, Lawd" in a three-lines-per-stanza song before 1909.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 11 Nov 14 - 03:13 PM

P.S. Clarence Ashley was born in 1895; compare "Baby All Night Long" by the Blue Ridge Mountain Entertainers, which mentions "got the... blues" and "if I had listened to what mama said" and "I ain't got no kin," to the Pratcher brothers' "If It's All Night Long," and "Late Last Night," and "The Bucket's Got A Hole In It" (which is a relative of "Keep A Knockin'," which we know predates 1909 as a relative of "Take A One On Me").


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Nov 14 - 09:55 AM

I'm going to commit the crime of posting to the thread
without having read all of the posts. I just can't
take the time right now. So sue me!

A "pink" is a certain small flower of the rose family, my Beautiful
Wife (a dedicated rose grower) told me years ago.

Accordingly, I've for many years understood that the singer
is indulging in a pet name for his intended, analogous to
calling her his little violet or little daisy. No racial meaning at all, is my understanding.

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: Uncle_DaveO
Date: 12 Nov 14 - 10:02 AM

A floater that is apropos here:

Sugar grows on a white oak tree
The branches flow in brandy!
The world is full of two* dollar bills
The girls are sweeter than candy!


*sometimes "three dollar bills".

Dave Oesterreich


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pretty Little Pink
From: GUEST,Joseph Scott
Date: 13 Nov 14 - 12:38 PM

"Sugar grows on a white oak tree" Or coffee grows on "white folks' trees" (collected by Thomas Talley, who was born in 1870 and seemed to favor songs of the 1880s). Coffee grows on white oak tress was around by 1896. Money grows on white oak trees was around by 1911. 'Lasses grows on the white oak tree was mentioned in a 1949 book. The black songwriter Clarence Todd (born 1897) came up with a "Love Grows On The White Oak Tree," based on the folk song, that was recorded by many black and white pop, jazz, and jive artists during the '30s-'40s.


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