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Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...

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)
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)


GUEST,Tenor Chad 04 Jun 01 - 09:37 PM
Noreen 04 Jun 01 - 09:54 PM
Noreen 04 Jun 01 - 09:56 PM
GUEST,Tenor Chad 04 Jun 01 - 09:58 PM
katlaughing 04 Jun 01 - 09:58 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Jun 01 - 10:03 PM
Amos 04 Jun 01 - 10:17 PM
Noreen 04 Jun 01 - 10:29 PM
catspaw49 04 Jun 01 - 10:44 PM
GUEST,joe 04 Jun 01 - 10:53 PM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Jun 01 - 10:57 PM
Peg 05 Jun 01 - 02:14 AM
GUEST 05 Jun 01 - 10:45 AM
Noreen 05 Jun 01 - 11:02 AM
GMT 05 Jun 01 - 11:33 AM
kytrad (Jean Ritchie) 05 Jun 01 - 11:52 AM
GUEST,rachelt 11 Aug 05 - 11:39 PM
RobbieWilson 12 Aug 05 - 12:03 PM
rovingrom 20 Jul 06 - 06:08 PM
Genie 21 Jul 06 - 12:43 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Jul 06 - 06:05 PM
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Subject: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: GUEST,Tenor Chad
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 09:37 PM

Hello, everyone, my name is Chad, I just graduated from West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Florida and I'll be having an audition for the FSU school of music this month. I plan on singing: Passing By (Purcell), Gia'il Sole Del Gange (Scarlatti), On Richmond Hill There Lives a Lass (James Hook) and Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair (JJ Niles). Anyhow, just thought I'd share, but I have a question on a verse in "Black is the color of my true love's hair"... When it goes "I go to Troublesome (the river) to mourn, to weep, but satisfied I ne'er can sleep; I'll write her a note in a few little lines, I'll suffer death ten thousand times".. What the heck is that all about? Anybody know? Can ya help a tenor out? ;o)

--Chadly


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Noreen
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 09:54 PM

He's pining for her... she's rejected him... he can think of nothing but her... goes down by the river for peace and quiet to think of her... he's pretty miserable (not literally suffering death, metaphorically)...
Happens all the time- which bit do you have a problem with?

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Noreen
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 09:56 PM

Chadly, sorry if that sounded curt, wasn't meant that way. Pleased to help- is that what you wanted?

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: GUEST,Tenor Chad
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 09:58 PM

Fascinating stuff, I never realized she rejected him, its never directly mentioned in the verses themselves. Good stuff, good stuff...


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: katlaughing
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 09:58 PM

Welcome to the Mudcat, Chad. Good for you, for singing the old songs.

Besides what Noreen said, you can also go to the SuperSearch box, just at the top of the thread titles and type in "black is the color", then hit the GO button. That will show you a listing of other threads which may have discussions about this song, too, which you can then click on and read.

kat


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 10:03 PM

If you were to type black is the color (and perhaps black is the colour, too, as it's not originally an American song) into the very useful "Digitrad and Forum Search" box on the main Forum page, you would find links to a lot of previous discussion of this song and its relatives.  Give it a go; it's worth it.

Malcolm


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Amos
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 10:17 PM

The verses in the Digitrad go:

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


Which, if you are at all familiar with our great Romantic tradition, is about par for a pining lover, whether rejected yet or not -- they are always resorting to the melodramatic to highlight the infinite, unfathomable specialness of their particular set of hormonal tidal waves. Dying a thousand times is pretty normal under the circumstances.

A


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Noreen
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 10:29 PM

Ah yes, Amos, but dying ten thousand times must have meant she was a bit more special...? *BG*

Noreen


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: catspaw49
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 10:44 PM

Hi Tenor Chad.....

Tell me you aren't a tenor like Niles was a tenor. (:<))

Just a small point....You say "by John Jacob Niles" and the song predates Niles by a good bit. I assume you are doing the Niles arrangement. Out of curiosity, have you heard it done by the great Jean Richie? Jean's an authentic mountain voice and the mother of the Appalachian dulcimer (also a 'Catter....posts here as "kytrad"). Hers is a far more pleasing version and worth a listen.

You might also enjoy an old thread on this JJN where you will learn some little known facts that don't often appear in the texts about him..........CLICK HERE

Good Luck!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: GUEST,joe
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 10:53 PM

it must be a regional difference. i've always sang it, 'black is the color of my love's true hair.' (sigh)


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Jun 01 - 10:57 PM

Someone or other always mentions that.  It's been posted in previous discussions.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Peg
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 02:14 AM

I sing it from a woman's point of view:

Black is the colour of my true love's hair
His lips are like some roses fair
He has the sweetest eyes and the gentlest hands
and I love the ground whereon he stands.

I have never been happy with the lyrics of this song (not enough of them), so I wrote an additional one:

"Near my love's house, fair gardens bloom
With colours rare and sweet perfume
The lily pale grows there and the damask rose
They scent the air where my love goes."

BTW "Passing By" is a lovely art song! We all had to learn it when I took voice class in high school. One guy in my chamber choir in college sang it for a master class (he was a very nice tenor) and the instructor got a tear in her eye, she was so charmed by it...


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: GUEST
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 10:45 AM

Trust me to get hung up with minutiae, but was there significance to the love's hair being black? Was it code for foreign or exotic, and therefore forbidden, or anyway not proper ancestry? I never thought of this before (and it may of course be perfectly obvious to everyone but me) but that would explain the song's sadness.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Noreen
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:02 AM

Guest... no.


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: GMT
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:33 AM

Lovely Peg; absolutely Lovely.

I proceed this with 'Ride On' (Christie Moore) and
segue (sp ?) into Black is the colour.

Cheers Gary


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: kytrad (Jean Ritchie)
Date: 05 Jun 01 - 11:52 AM

Our oldtime KY Mountain banjopicking version may help to understand the meaning of some of the verses. Sample:

O that pretty little girl, sixteen years old
Hair just as yaller as the flamin gold,
The prettiest eyes and the sweetest hands-
God bless the ground onwhere she stands!

It's down to the Clyde for to mourn and weep
For I'm satisfied that I cannot sleep.
I'll write her a letter in a few short lines-
That I'd suffer death ten thousand times.

I assume that last line means, 'for her sake I'd suffer death'.

And by the way, Troublesome is a small creek in Knott Co., KY, not a river. My folks were born and raised "on Troublesome." Hereabouts, the name of the creek becomes the descriptive name for all the region it flows through, like Troublesome, Kingdom Come, Hell f'r Sartin, Little Elkhorn, etc. Niles, to localize the song, changed the name of the river (Clyde) to that of our creek (Troublesome).

Sing your best! Jean


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: GUEST,rachelt
Date: 11 Aug 05 - 11:39 PM

I have been singing a snippet of 'Black is the color' to my daughter as a lullaby and just logged on to find out the history of this song - it's amazing! I first played this song out of an old songbook on my piano when I was about 13, but it stuck with me all these years (I'm 31!). I guess that was the case with many others too. I have fudged the lines around to make it a love song without the despairing bits...a little bit better for just-before-bed! Thanks so much Peg for your added lines - they are lovely, and I will add them to my rendition too!

i was also amazed at the locale of this song - I learned it when growing up in Florida, but I ended going to college and making my home just over the mountains from Hot Springs in Waynesville NC. My family is also from east Tennessee and WV, so the strong Scots/Irish overtones must be appealing to something inside. Like I said, this song must resonate with a lot of folks the same way!

Anyway - I am so glad to find this site, and thanks again Peg!

rachelt


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Subject: RE: Help: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 12 Aug 05 - 12:03 PM

The winters past and the leaves are green
the time has gone we might hane seen
but still i pray the day might come
when you and I will be as one

I got this verse from a book of old English Folk Songs (sic)

I haven't got the book with me but I shall check out attributions when next I have


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Subject: RE: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: rovingrom
Date: 20 Jul 06 - 06:08 PM

Unlike the rest of you I can't sing, though the melody of "Balck is the Colour" often haunts my thoughts in emotional moments - its a stunning melody with almost magical qualities. I remember it was sung in an old film about gypsies - probably set in Ireland or Scotland but filmed in the USA. Does anyone know anything about this?
Im sure it was the version where he is singing about her:

Black is the colour of my True Love's hair
Her lips are like some roses fair
She has the sweetest smile and the gentlest of hands
I love the ground whereon she stands.

I love my Love and well she knows
I love the ground whereon she goes............

....then I forget the rest and maybe I've got part of this wrong too!

The xtra lines by Peg and Robbie Wilson are beautiful too.

Thank you all for your thoughts and comments! Colin Shaw


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Subject: RE: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Genie
Date: 21 Jul 06 - 12:43 PM

Nice to get more of the background on this song.   The verses seem to have endless permutations, as is wont to happen with oral tradition.

But I always thought the song went: "Black is the colour of my true love dear."


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Subject: RE: 'Black is the color' verse question...
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Jul 06 - 06:05 PM

Ah, yes- Black is the color of my true love's ear,
I whapped him 'cause he drank my beer
The blackest eyes and a bloody nose-
He will return to endless woes

endless permutations-


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