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Q (Frank Staplin) Origin: Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair (95* d) RE: Origin: Black is the Color of My True Love's Hair 05 Oct 14

Missouri, Coll. 1928 by Randolph

Black is the color of my true love's hair,
His cheeks are as red as the 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, build me a boat,
That over the 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 despair.

Go bring me a chair and set me down,
An' a pen an' 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 tomb stone on my grave,
An' on my breast a mournin' dove,
To show the world I died for love.

Randolph reviews the various English and American texts, and notes that "Some very similar lines are found in "Captain, Oh Captain" as recorded phonographically by Vernon Dalhart."

No. 68, THE SAILOR'S SWEETHEART, pp. 296-298. Musical score for the first two verses, which differs from the melody for the subsequent verses.
Randolph collected other versions, but this is the only one with "Black is the Color."

Vance Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, Vol. 1, British Ballads and Songs.

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