Red Joak (The)

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X:1 T:Red Joak B:Walsh M:4/4 L:1/8 K:G ba| g3a g2 B2| dBde d2 ba| g3 a g2 B2|A4 A2 ba| g3 a g2 B2| dBde d2 ba|g2 e2 d2 B2| G4 G2:| |: e2| d2 F2 BcdB| d2 G2 g3 e| d2 G2 BcdB| A4 A2 e2| d2 G2 BcdB| d2 G2 g3 a| bage gedB|G4 G2:| |: D2| GABG BcdB| GABG Bcde| d2 B2 cBAG| A4 A2 D2| GABG BcdB| GABG Bcde| d2 B2 dBAG G4 G2:|]



RED JOAK. English, Dance Tune (4/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). The melody appears in John Walsh’s third book of Lancashire tunes (Lancashire Jigs, Hornpipes, Joaks, etc.) published in London around the year 1730. The title is one of a series of 'Jokes' or 'Joaks' (with different colors in the title: white, green, brown, etc.), capitalizing on the immense success of the popular “Black Joke (1) (The).” Walsh also published the melody and dance directions in his Twenty Four Country Dances for the Year 1731, The Compleat Country Dancing-Master (London, 1731 and 1754), and Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth (London, 1740, No. 115). The dance and tune also appear in London music publisher Daniel Wright's Wright's Compleat Collection of Celebrated Country Dances (1740, p.6, published posthumously), and there is also at least one other unrelated 18th century country dance and tune called "Red Joak."

Paul Dennant, in his 2013 article "The 'barbarous old English jig': the 'Black Joke' in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries" [1] explains that "Red Joak," along with the other colored 'Joak' tunes, were associated with prostitution, a fact well-known to country dance consumers of the early- and mid-18th century. He cites a booklet printed in London titled The Female Glossary being a particular description of the principal commodities of this island wherein the various names, qualities, and properties of each are very handsomely handled (W. Shaw, 1732?), pp. 21-22), ostensibly written by an 'Old Trader', that purports to be a dictionary of slang names for prostitutes. Therein it describes the 'Black, White, Red, and Brown Jokes' (also the names of printed country dances and melodies) as prostitutes of varying degrees of merit:

The Joke is the noblest of all the vendible Species, and very seldom to be got under half a Piece, the Ladies who sell these, will use you much better than most of the trading Community, frequently giving you a good Song into the Bargain. There are no Jokes on tiother Side of the Water, and very few in Drug-Lane: So let young Chapman [sic] take care they are not bit, for the Merchants of both of these Places will pretend to furnish them with very good ones. There are several sorts of Jokes, all distinguish by their Complexions. I shall say something of the Nature of each of them.

The Black Joke, according to Albumazar, and Erra Pater, is the best for Service, as those who dispose of them are the most honourable: They will neither force their Wares upon you, nor refuse 'em at a tolerable Price. It is commonly of a proper Temperature.

The White Joke is generally young and tender, there being very few that continue of this Colour after they are full grown; I should rather chuse to call it a foquette.

The Red Joke is very apt to take Fire, and is much more chargeable than any of the Rest, it being commonly Work enough (and often too much) for any one Man, tho' never so laborious, to supply it; inexperienced Dealers ought in an especial manner to be caution'd against being too busy with this Sort.

The Brown Joke is fittest for those who are afraid of Expenses, for a Man may satisfy it without endangering his Substance. 'Tis very proper for all that are turn'd all of Fifty, and for young Men that are Consumptive. I could say much more on this jocular subject...


Additional notes

Source for notated version: -

Printed sources : - Kirkpatrick (John Kirkpatrick's English Choice), 2003; p. 15. John Walsh (Complete Country Dancing-Master, Volume the Fourth), London, 1740; No. 115.

Recorded sources: - Mally DMPCD0301, John Kirkpatrick - "Orlando's Return" (2003).



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