Old Black Joe (1)

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X:1 % T:Old Black Joe, Badby 1 M:6/8 L:1/8 A:Badby P:A(A2B2)4A2 K:Bb P:A F|F2B BAB|c2d edc|fdB FBe|dec B2 || P:B A|BAB c2f|c2f cAF|BAB d2c|BAG F2E| DFF B2B|c2d edc|fdB FBe|dec B2 ||



OLD BLACK JOE [1]. English, Morris Dance Tune (6/8 time). D Major (Mallinson): B Flat Major (Bacon). Standard tuning (fiddle). ABB (x4), A (Mallinson): AABBBB (x4), A (Bacon). A version of the quite old and popular jig "Black Joke (1) (The)," collected from Badby, Northamptonshire (near Daventry), in England's Cotswolds. This Badby variation lacks the usual distinctive two measure ending commonly found in "Black Joke" versions. The title is a curious confusion between the old English name and the title of the parlor song by Stephen Foster (1826–1864), "Old Black Joe," published in New York in 1853. The tune and dance were one of three collected in the early 20th century by Cecil Sharp from Ephraim Cox, aged seventy-four, who was the only surviving member of the Badby morris team, which had broken up around the 1870's. The team's music had been supplied by a fiddler. Sharp, in The Morris Book: With a Description of Dances As Performed By the Morris Men, Vol. 3 (1910), explains:

Mr. Cox gave us the names of several more dances which used to be regularly performed; unfortunately, however, he was unable to remember their tunes, and therefore could not show the movements: for no traditional Morris-man can dance a single step until he hears, actually or in imagination, the particular tune he wants; nor, as a rule, is it of any avail to whistle him a version even of a well-known air other than the one to which he has been accustomed.

The Badby dancers used to wear white pleated shirts, with epaulettes and rosettes attached, two white silk scarfs crossed, "Scotch" cap with ribands, and white trousers. The sticks they used were rather larger and stouter than usual, about 25 inches in length and a full inch in diameter.


Additional notes



Printed sources : - Bacon (The Morris Ring), 1974; p. 30. Mallinson (Mally's Cotswold Morris Book, vol. 2), 1988; No. 63, p. 30.

Recorded sources : - Cottey Light Industries CLI-903, Dexter et al – "Over the Water" (1993). Topic TSCD458, John Kirkpatrick – "Plain Capers" (1976).




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