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The Blackest Crow: meaning?

Related threads:
Lyr/Chords Add: The Blackest Crow (21)
Lyr Req: Blackest Crow + Big-Eyed Rabbit (7)
Tune Req: The Blackest Crow / The Time Draws Near (15)


black walnut 06 Mar 00 - 04:12 PM
Allan C. 06 Mar 00 - 04:28 PM
Jeri 06 Mar 00 - 04:41 PM
sophocleese 06 Mar 00 - 04:49 PM
sophocleese 06 Mar 00 - 04:53 PM
GUEST,Bill in Alabama (in the office) 06 Mar 00 - 04:53 PM
MMario 06 Mar 00 - 04:54 PM
Mbo 06 Mar 00 - 05:04 PM
Mbo 06 Mar 00 - 05:06 PM
black walnut 06 Mar 00 - 05:10 PM
Jeri 06 Mar 00 - 05:11 PM
Mbo 06 Mar 00 - 05:16 PM
black walnut 06 Mar 00 - 05:17 PM
Amos 06 Mar 00 - 05:18 PM
Mbo 06 Mar 00 - 05:27 PM
Sorcha 06 Mar 00 - 05:36 PM
black walnut 06 Mar 00 - 05:45 PM
Mbo 06 Mar 00 - 05:47 PM
Micca 06 Mar 00 - 06:35 PM
Dave (the ancient mariner) 06 Mar 00 - 06:38 PM
black walnut 06 Mar 00 - 07:57 PM
Sorcha 06 Mar 00 - 08:02 PM
sophocleese 06 Mar 00 - 08:03 PM
black walnut 06 Mar 00 - 08:12 PM
sophocleese 06 Mar 00 - 08:52 PM
black walnut 06 Mar 00 - 09:01 PM
sophocleese 06 Mar 00 - 09:11 PM
Micca 06 Mar 00 - 09:17 PM
GUEST,Les B 06 Mar 00 - 09:24 PM
Jeri 06 Mar 00 - 09:34 PM
MMario 06 Mar 00 - 09:40 PM
Mbo 06 Mar 00 - 09:56 PM
sophocleese 06 Mar 00 - 10:13 PM
Sorcha 06 Mar 00 - 10:31 PM
Mbo 06 Mar 00 - 10:52 PM
canoer 07 Mar 00 - 02:50 AM
Micca 07 Mar 00 - 04:09 AM
Arnie Naiman 07 Mar 00 - 08:11 AM
Mbo 07 Mar 00 - 08:35 AM
GUEST,kfcaudell@usa.net 07 Mar 00 - 12:36 PM
MMario 07 Mar 00 - 12:48 PM
Micca 07 Mar 00 - 01:25 PM
Arnie Naiman 07 Mar 00 - 04:33 PM
MMario 07 Mar 00 - 05:25 PM
black walnut 07 Mar 00 - 05:56 PM
sophocleese 07 Mar 00 - 05:57 PM
Snuffy 07 Mar 00 - 06:16 PM
Snuffy 07 Mar 00 - 06:46 PM
Malcolm Douglas 07 Mar 00 - 08:21 PM
GUEST,phillwisor@hotmail.com 16 Jan 01 - 12:13 AM
harpgirl 14 Aug 02 - 11:25 PM
Barbara Shaw 15 Aug 02 - 09:04 AM
John Minear 15 Aug 02 - 12:35 PM
John Minear 17 Aug 02 - 10:03 AM
RobbieWilson 01 Dec 04 - 08:03 AM
GUEST,tulip 16 Jan 05 - 08:19 PM
Desert Dancer 09 Sep 06 - 02:21 PM
Scoville 09 Sep 06 - 02:50 PM
GUEST,imagocorvi 26 Sep 07 - 11:44 AM
peregrina 26 Sep 07 - 12:05 PM
GUEST,Simple man 16 Dec 07 - 12:55 AM
GUEST,Simpler man 16 Dec 07 - 12:57 AM
GUEST,Ehm... 16 Dec 07 - 01:01 AM
punkfolkrocker 16 Dec 07 - 01:17 AM
punkfolkrocker 16 Dec 07 - 01:50 AM
GUEST,pogoat 03 Mar 12 - 03:31 PM
foggers 03 Mar 12 - 04:16 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Mar 12 - 04:46 PM
Desert Dancer 03 Mar 12 - 07:04 PM
dick greenhaus 03 Mar 12 - 07:46 PM
Richie 03 Mar 12 - 11:38 PM
Brian Peters 04 Mar 12 - 10:32 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BLACKEST CROW
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:12 PM

Here's the song....
Can anyone explain line 5?
"'Tis bird I'd serve, for your sake...."

................................................

As time draws near, my dearest dear,
As you and I must part,
How little you know of the grief and woe,
And my poor aching heart.

'Tis bird I'd serve, for your sake,
Believe me, dear, it's true,
I wish that you were staying here,
Or I was going with you.

I wish my breast were made of glass,
Wherein you might behold,
Upon my heart your name lies wrote,
In letters made of gold.

In letters made of gold, my love,
Believe me when I say,
You are the one I will adore,
Until my dying day.

INSTR

The blackest crow that ever flew,
Would surely turn to white,
If ever I prove false to you,
Bright day will turn to night,

Bright day will turn to night, my love,
The evidence will mourn,
If ever I prove false to you,
The seas will rage and burn.

INSTR


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Allan C.
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:28 PM

I don't see anything other than the obvious intended in this usage. Its turning white is listed among the many "impossible" things which would come to pass before the speaker's love would ever prove untrue. It is an old theme used in many songs. In a few other songs you might find intended meanings that vary considerably from this one.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:41 PM

Could have said "the whitest dove that ever flew would surely turn to black," but it doesn't rhyme with "night."

I agree with what Allan C. said. Crows are black, day is not night, and seas don't rage and burn. I've always been partial to the line "and the rocks will melt by the heat of the sun."


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: sophocleese
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:49 PM

Black or white crows are easy enough to understand. I think what black walnut is asking is what the line 'Tis bird I'd serve" means. I also am confused by that line and my first thought is that it is the result of a mishearing.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: sophocleese
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:53 PM

Where did you get the song black walnut?


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: GUEST,Bill in Alabama (in the office)
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:53 PM

I agree, Jeri-- We could rack our brains and stretch this thread to infinity (which may well happen anyway) only to find that we had all been interpreting something that never existed in the original. Sounds like a Mondegreen to me. Bill


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: MMario
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 04:54 PM

a poetic interpretation of "I'll eat crow?"

That seems to fit the sense of the song.....


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Mbo
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:04 PM

It's a song about Thanksgiving turkey! Maybe eating fowl was some sort of a delicacy, and serving it was a special thing to do for someone?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Mbo
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:06 PM

Oh yeah...I've never heard of this song before, so I don't know where it's from...but weren't there strict laws against poaching in England & Scotland back in the old days? As illustrated in "The Rovin' Hielan' Man"?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:10 PM

you're right, sophocleese. it's that strange line 5 that i'm wondering about.

the song comes from "Songs from the Mountain" by Dirk Powell, Tim O'Brien and John Herrmann. the CD is the companion recording of a novel by Charles Frazier, 'Cold Mountain'.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:11 PM

Oh well, I was being dense. (Counted 5 paragraphs and couldn't find the quoted phrase in it...duh.)

Doesn't "to eat crow" mean to take back one's words? Perhaps the current meaning derived from something else...


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Mbo
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:16 PM

This is kinda fun. It reminds me of a game my sister invented, called "Picking Apart Plebian Phrases" where you'd pick an ordinary phrase, then try to find out where it came from. My classic "wheelbarrel etymology" was a favorite. I'll have to ask the Baron to help me on this one!

--mbo


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:17 PM

oh, i get the confusion! forget line 'FIVE'... it didn't come out that way in my posting.

my query is about the PHRASE: 'Tis bird I'd serve for your sake'.

very sorry about that.

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Amos
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:18 PM

Only thing makes sense is either (a) I'd serve you a delicacy if I could, to please you, because I love you so or (b) For your sake I would go and work for a sparrow somewhere...naaaah, that ain't it. It's gotta be (a). :>)

A


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Mbo
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:27 PM

Could this possibly be a reference to wren hunting? Is hunting and presenting a droilin out of season, viz. December 26th, considered a symbol of unwavering devotion?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:36 PM

There is a lot of Irish/Celtic folk lore about 3 impossible things, birds in general and crows in particular. "Heroes" are asked to do 3 impossible things to win the prize, (and the number 3 has magical meanings in itself). Many birds were sacred to specific gods/goddesses, and many folk heroes had personal prohibitions regarding eating, killing, etc. of birds. The crow was regarded as a Druidic/bards bird, as it had the gift of prophecy. Maybe some of this has a bearing on the song?


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:45 PM

good suggestions...

i just listened again to the recording. it's hard for me to be sure of the words. perhaps it's "Tis bird I'd serve up", or something else altogether!

a friend sent me the lyrics from an unknown source... i'll try to track it down.

it doesn't change the meaning at all, but upon listening to the CD, the opening changes slightly, from my hearing, to:

"As time draws near, my dearest dear, when you and I must part, How little you know of the grief and woe, in my poor aching heart, " so, there may be errors in the rest of the lyrics printed above.

i'll continue tracking....

~'nut


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Mbo
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 05:47 PM

OOOH! I just had a revelation! Image what your sweetie would think if you served up The Morrigan on a dinner platter! Now THAT would be devotion. Hmmm...I did read an Celtic folktale recently about 3 brothers setting out to find the rare finch that sung so sweetly to their father, the King. This is getting interesting!

--mbo


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Micca
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 06:35 PM

Forgive the insertion of an possibly obvious but "to serve bird" is British slang for a term in prison, from Cockney Rhyming slang " bird lime=time" that is prison time served. This might me more sense of line 5. Mbo, the Morrigan however is a Raven not a crow!!!!


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Dave (the ancient mariner)
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 06:38 PM

The Blackest Crow was a messenger or harbringer of death. To serve the Crow could refer to a lover swearing to be true until death. Such could be said when one is parted from the other by war, or going to sea; and sometimes because the love is not mutual. Yours,Aye.Dave


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 07:57 PM

micca, that sounds right to me! the british slang was not obvious; i, at least, am new to the phrase. thanks all, for your suggestions. and if there's anyone with more ideas, or a variation of the lyrics, please contine to post them. thanks!

~black walnut


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 08:02 PM

Serve up the MORRIGAN???YE GADS, NOOOOO! Pleeeze do not insult her!


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: sophocleese
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 08:03 PM

I still don't like the phrase "tis bird I'd serve'. It doesn't fit with the rest of the words, "And my poor aching heart, tis bird I'd serve, for your sake, Believe me, dear, its true. Without having heard the song its hard to guess what might actually be being sung. What about burden instead of bird?


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 08:12 PM

when i listened, it sounded a lot like "Tis bird I'd serve, for for your sake"....

but i knew that couldn't be right, so i left out one of the for's up above. maybe it's important after all, if we're trying to reconstruct....

i'm trying to contact arnie naiman for an answer on this. he's just recorded the song, i believe.

~'nut


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: sophocleese
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 08:52 PM

Its burden suffer for your sake? Some variation thereof?

As time draws near, my dearest dear, As you and I must part, How little you know of the grief and woe, And my poor aching heart,

Its burden suffer for your sake, Believe me, dear, it's true,


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: black walnut
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 09:01 PM

i love it, sophocleese. ...i'll listen again.

just found this song recorded on arnie naiman and chris coole's cd '5 strings attached with no backing'. rats...they don't include this verse.

but, now i have to figure out the phrase "the evidence will mourn" which sounds sort of like: "the yellow ? will mourn".

must listen again...

~'nut


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: sophocleese
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 09:11 PM

Coming after "Bright day will turn to night" maybe the phrase uses the word morn instead of mourn. But maybe not.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Micca
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 09:17 PM

Could it be" "Tis bird I'd serve, four for your sake"...? years?


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: GUEST,Les B
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 09:24 PM

Black Walnut - I've just listened to those lyrics and they are indeed hard to make out clearly! It doesn't sound to me like it's "Tis bird" however; More like "tis but I'd suffer" (although that's a bit odd too ?) Or maybe it's "Tis blood I'd suffer..." This is, as you know, about a guy going off to serve in the Civil War.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Jeri
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 09:34 PM

"'tis burdened sore?"
"'tis burdened severe?" - probably what sophoclese said.
The yellow sun will mourn?


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: MMario
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 09:40 PM

"this burden suffer for your sake"?

would make it:
How little you know of the grief and woe,
And my poor aching heart,this burden would suffer
for your sake, Believe me, dear, it's true


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Mbo
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 09:56 PM

Yeah, I'd cook up the Morrigan in a heartbeat! She's BAAAAD! And I'm not pleased at what she did to Cuchullain. Even if her husband WAS The Dagda, whom I really like....

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: sophocleese
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 10:13 PM

I like that MMario, who cares if its actually they sing on the CD those words make sense. I also like Jeri's yellow sun will mourn. Now of course I have to find a copy of the CD and hear it myself. Rats!


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Sorcha
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 10:31 PM

I don't like what she did to the Cu either, but I sure don't want to piss her off! And the Dagda RULES!


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Mbo
Date: 06 Mar 00 - 10:52 PM

Sho' nuff! As does Bodb Dearg and Aoghus Og!

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: canoer
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 02:50 AM

Both parts, "'Tis bird," and "evidence will mourn," certainly make no sense in context. The best bet is that they are corruptions of earlier words. For bird I have no clue. For evidence, perhaps the elements will mourn. But I think corruption in transmission is the only reasonable explanation.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Micca
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 04:09 AM

Sorcha, Mbo, have you seen the 14 foot Morrigan on my personal pics page???? in bbcs pages.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Arnie Naiman
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:11 AM

I believe its "The elements will mourn". We recorded an abreviated version of the song that Brad Leftwitch learned from Tommy Jarrell. My favorite recording of the tune is on Bruce Molsky's incredible Lost Boy CD, which has a lot of verses. He says that it all came from Tommy who titled the song "As Time Draws Near". I'll give it a listen for the verse in question and report back.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Mbo
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:35 AM

I've seen the big baddy alright, Micca. BTW did I mention that THE AMAZING MUDCAT GUITAR doubles as a druid wand? **ZAP** I'd turn her into a big turkey. Then wouldn't Fand be oh so happy?

--Mbo


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: GUEST,kfcaudell@usa.net
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 12:36 PM

C'mon, y'all ....

Tis but I suffer for your sake.

Kim


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: MMario
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 12:48 PM

Suppose it could be, you have to remember a lot of us are doing this without ever hearing it....


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Micca
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 01:25 PM

Mbo, Rule One. Don't mess with the Morrigan or your ass is grass and shes the lawmmower, and remember her fater is the Dagda , the all powerful, she only gave Cuchullin his come uppance.....her presence at the battle of Magh Tuired in the " book of Invasions is much spookier, in her Tripartite incarnation...


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Arnie Naiman
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 04:33 PM

The words you are looking for are : "T'is but I'd suffer for your sake". Bruce Molsky sings "Each Night I'd suffer" So forget about serving birds - O.K.! Blackest Crow fans - I URGE every one to buy Lost Boy - Bruce Molsky (Rounder CD). This is primarily a southern style fiddle recording by perhaps the most awesome player of this style of music living today, but there also a couple of songs on it as well. It's worth it just for the emotional experience of listening to "The Blackest Crow" sung by Bruce and Carla Gover - a classic!


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: MMario
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 05:25 PM

This butter supper foyer fade?


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: black walnut
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 05:56 PM

thanks, arnie! i knew you'd know.

and thanks, MMario....uhhh, good suggestion. i'll have to try that out.

and thanks, all!

~black walnut

(perhaps i should change my name to ~the blackest walnut)


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: sophocleese
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 05:57 PM

Thanks Arnie and Kim. Its kind of strange trying to figure out the words to a song you've never heard based on what somebody else thinks they sound like. Folking process huh?


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Subject: Lyr/Tune Add: MY DEAREST DEAR
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 06:16 PM

Definitely a Mondegreen, IMHO.

I have a 4-CD set called Irish Folk Favourites, which is basically 6 old vinyl Transatlantic label LPs from about 1968-72. One of them is by Sweeney's Men, and has this song on it. Most of the tracks are "Trad. Arr. Woods

My guess is that this guy Woods was one of Sweeney's Men and he wrote the song. In this version, at least, the disputed line is clearly To see what I suffered for your sake, and there's no crow verse, so the song is totally birdless!


MY DEAREST DEAR

Recorded by Sweeney's Men (ca 1970)

My dearest dear, the time has come when you and I must part.
And no-one knows the inner grief of my poor aching heart.
To see what I suffered for your sake. You are to my love most dear.
I wish that I could go with you or you might tarry here.

For my old mother it's hard to leave, my father's on my mind,
But for your sake I'd go with you and leave them all behind.
But for your sake I'd go with you, Oh mother, fare ye well,
For fear I never will see no more while here on earth do dwell.

I wish my breast was made of glass, Wherein you might behold,
Your name in secret I would write, in letters of fine gold,
Your name in secret I would write, Oh believe in what I say,
For you are the girl I love most dear, until my dying day

But when you're in some distant land, think of your absent friends,
And when the wind blows cold and clear, a line or two please send.
But when the wind blows cold and clear, please send it on to me
So I will know by your handwrit how things have gone with thee.

My dearest dear, the time has come when you and I must part.
And no-one knows the inner grief of my poor aching heart.
To see what I suffered for your sake. You are to my love most dear.
I wish that I could go with you or you might tarry here.

Sorry to spoil the fun - the suggestions have been much more interesting than the original words

Here's the basic tune used by Sweeney's Men

MIDI file: MIDI1.MID

Timebase: 480

Tempo: 160 (375000 microsec/crotchet)
Key: G
TimeSig: 3/4 18 8
Name: My Dearest Dear
Start
0000 1 71 127 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 71 127 0959 0 71 000 0001 1 69 090 0479 0 69 000 0001 1 67 127 0959 0 67 000 0001 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 72 127 0479 0 72 000 0001 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 69 090 0479 0 69 000 0001 1 71 127 0959 0 71 000 0001 1 67 090 0479 0 67 000 0001 1 64 127 0959 0 64 000 0001 1 72 090 0479 0 72 000 0001 1 67 127 0959 0 67 000 0001 1 67 090 0479 0 67 000 0001 1 67 127 1919 0 67 000 0481 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 71 127 0959 0 71 000 0001 1 69 090 0479 0 69 000 0001 1 67 127 0959 0 67 000 0001 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 72 127 0479 0 72 000 0001 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 69 090 0479 0 69 000 0001 1 71 127 0959 0 71 000 0001 1 67 090 0479 0 67 000 0001 1 64 127 0959 0 64 000 0001 1 72 090 0479 0 72 000 0001 1 72 127 0959 0 72 000 0001 1 67 090 0479 0 67 000 0001 1 71 127 1919 0 71 000 0481 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 72 127 0479 0 72 000 0001 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 69 090 0479 0 69 000 0001 1 69 127 0959 0 69 000 0001 1 69 090 0479 0 69 000 0001 1 67 127 0959 0 67 000 0001 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 71 127 0959 0 71 000 0001 1 67 090 0479 0 67 000 0001 1 64 127 0479 0 64 000 0001 1 72 090 0479 0 72 000 0001 1 72 090 0479 0 72 000 0001 1 72 127 0959 0 72 000 0001 1 76 090 0479 0 76 000 0001 1 74 127 1919 0 74 000 0481 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 71 127 0959 0 71 000 0001 1 74 090 0479 0 74 000 0001 1 72 127 0959 0 72 000 0001 1 76 090 0479 0 76 000 0001 1 74 127 0959 0 74 000 0001 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 71 127 0959 0 71 000 0001 1 74 090 0479 0 74 000 0001 1 74 127 0479 0 74 000 0001 1 72 090 0479 0 72 000 0001 1 71 090 0479 0 71 000 0001 1 67 127 0959 0 67 000 0001 1 64 090 0479 0 64 000 0001 1 67 127 1919 0 67 000
End

This program is worth the effort of learning it.

To download the March 10 MIDItext 98 software and get instructions on how to use it click here

ABC format:

X:1
T:My Dearest Dear
M:3/4
Q:1/4=160
K:G
B| B2A|G2B|cBA|B2G |E2c|G2G|G3-|-GzB|
B2A|G2B|cBA|B2G |E2c|c2G|B3-|-BzB|
cBA|A2A|G2B|B2G |Ecc|c2e|d3-|-dzB|
B2d|c2e|d2B|B2d |dcB|G2E|G3-|-G ||




Wassail! V


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Snuffy
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 06:46 PM

A bit of that posting got lost. It should have said

Most of the tracks are "Trad. Arr. Woods/Irvine/Moynihan", but My Dearest Dear is given as just "Woods"

My guess is that this guy Woods was one of Sweeney's Men and he wrote the song.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 07 Mar 00 - 08:21 PM

Terry Woods, IIRC, later of Steeleye Span and The Pogues.  He certainly didn't write the song; there are earlier recordings of other versions of it.  (Shirley Collins in 1964, for one.)  He may well have given it the shape that Sweeney's Men used, of course.

Malcolm


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Subject: History of 'The Blackest Crow'
From: GUEST,phillwisor@hotmail.com
Date: 16 Jan 01 - 12:13 AM

hey there everybody -

me personally -I love to play and sing this song. don't know a darn thing about it though. are there any folk nerds out there who can shed some light on the past of this tune? Will exchange for info concerning shape-note songs and thier associated pasts. I also love to chew the fat about the claw-hammer banjo. Peace.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: harpgirl
Date: 14 Aug 02 - 11:25 PM

...I am about to go listen to Jeanne Ritchies's version of this song from "Oscar Brand and Jeanne Ritchie".

If kytrad sees this would she mind commenting on where it was learned and anything else of interst about this recording?

BTW, which part of England did Jame Ritchie hail from, if you don't mind my asking?

many thanks, hg


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Barbara Shaw
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 09:04 AM

I transcribed it from "Songs from the Mountain" and have it as:
'tis but I'd suffer for your sake

and the later line is:
the elements will mourn


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Subject: Lyr Add: MY DEAREST DEAR (from Cecil Sharp)
From: John Minear
Date: 15 Aug 02 - 12:35 PM

Cecil Sharp collected this song from Mary Sands on August 5, 1916
(ENGLISH FOLK SONGS FROM THE SOUTHERN APPALACHIANS, VOL. II, No. 77, p. 13)
Her version goes like this:

My dearest dear, the time draws near
When you and I must part;
And no one knows the inner grieves
Of my poor aching heart.
To see what I suffered for your sake,
You are who I love so dear,
I'd rather I could go with you
Or you could tarry here.

O my old mother's hard to leave,
My father's on my mind,
But for your sake I'll go with you
And leave them all behind.
But for your sake I'll go with you,
O mother, fare you well,
For fear I never see you any more
While here on earth we dwell.

I wish your breast was made of glass,
All in it I might behold;
Your name in secret I would write
In letters of bright gold.
Your name in secret I would write,
Pray believe in what I say,
You are the man that I love best
Unto my dying day.

But when you are on some distant shore,
Think on your absent friend,
And when the wind blows high and clear,
A line or two, pray send.
And when the wind blows high and clear,
Pray send it, love, to me,
That I may know by your own hand-write
How times has went with thee.
---

Mary Sands was Doug Wallin's great-aunt. He sings a version of this on Mike Yates' collection FAR IN THE MOUNTAIN, Vol. 3, see here. And Mary Sands was Sheila Kay Adams' great-great-aunt, and Sheila sings a very nice version of this on her CD MY DEAREST DEAR, see here. She leaves out Sands' second verse. Bobby McMillon, on his recording A DEEPER FEELING, sings a version that he learned from Sheila. Sheila's tune is the same as Mary Sands' tune. Bobby's tune is slightly different, and similar to that sung by Doug Wallin.


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE BLACKEST CROW (from M Henry)
From: John Minear
Date: 17 Aug 02 - 10:03 AM

Mellinger Henry collected an interesting version of this song from Mrs. Mary Tucker of Varnell, Georgia, in 1929. It is #84 in his FOLK-SONGS FROM THE SOUTHERN HIGHLANDS, pp. 269-270.

The time is drawing very near when I and you must part.
It little do you think or care for the grief of my poor heart,
For the grief of my poor heart, my love, for the grief of my poor heart.
It little do you think or care for the grief of my poor heart.

I wish my breast was made of glass, and in it you would behold
Your name in secret I would write in letters of bright gold.
In letters of bright gold, my love, in letter of bright gold.
Your name in secret I would write, in letters of bright gold.

The blackest crow that ever flew will surely turn to white,
If ever I prove false to you, bright days will turn to night,
Bright days will turn to night, my love, bright days will turn to night,
If ever I prove false to you, bright days will turn to night.

His eyes is of the sparkling blue; his lips is ruby be;
His conversation was so sweet till it charmed this heart of mine,
Till it charmed this heart of mine, my love, till it charmed this heart of mine.
His conversation was so sweet, till it charmed this heart of mine.

What have I suffered for your sake! For you I love so dear.
What would I care for all this world, if I was married to you!
If I was married to you, my dear! If I was married to you!
What would I care for all this world, if I was married to you!

I wish I was one hundred miles, ten thousand miles or more,
Among the Rocky Mountains so high, where the wild beast howls and wars,
Where the wild beast howls and wars, my love, where the wild beast howls and wars
Among the Rocky Mountains so high, where the wild beast howls and roars.

I have posted this as it was printed. There are some possible errors, such as "wars/roars" in the last verse. I doubt that "Rocky Mountains" ought to be capitalized either.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: RobbieWilson
Date: 01 Dec 04 - 08:03 AM

In England to do bird or serve bird is to do time in prison. This would seem to fit reasoably well in the context. It may not be that all of those other versions are more original or authentic than the version sung by black walnut but this would at least seem to make sense ofthat version.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: GUEST,tulip
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 08:19 PM

tim o'briens website says

tis but i suffer

www.timobrien.net


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 02:21 PM

Another (better?) thread on this song and some relatives, based on a different phrase  ;-)  is here:

Lyr Req: Breast of glass

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Scoville
Date: 09 Sep 06 - 02:50 PM

As I learned it, which is not much different:

I wish that you and I, my love, were on yonder shady rock,
And we had neither wealth nor care and riches were forgot,
I'd wish for every day a week, and every week a year,
How happy, happy, I would be in the comp'ny of my dear.

I wish my breast were made of glass, wherein you might behold,
For there your name lies wrote, my dear, in letters made of gold,
For there your name lies wrote, my dear, believe me what I say,
You are the darling of my heart until my dying day.

The blackest crow that ever flew would surely turn to white,
If ever I prove false to thee, bright day would turn to night,
Bright day would turn to night, my love, the elements would mourn,
If ever I prove false to thee, the seas would rage and burn.




I never saw any reason to think creatively about it; I just assumed it meant that the singer would be willing to give up material wealth to be with her lover, would rather be with her lover above all others, and that the crows changing colors and seas burning were an measure of the impossibility of her being untrue.

I've always assumed this was a distillation of an older, longer song, and wondered if it wasn't originally an actual ballad (i.e. with a coherent story line) that might have involved parents forcing young people to choose between love and inheritance.


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Subject: Origins: Blackest Crow - based on a letter?
From: GUEST,imagocorvi
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 11:44 AM

I think I have read all the threads involving this song - which mostly deal with misunderstood lyrics, but I did an internet search some time ago and came across a reference that said the song was originally based on an actual letter. I didn't (of course) record the site - so now I can't find it. Can anyone help me out with finding this reference?

Thanks in advance


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Subject: RE: Origins: Blackest Crow - origin
From: peregrina
Date: 26 Sep 07 - 12:05 PM

I think that 'The Blackest Crow' is related to the words and tune of Hick's Farewell.


When Doc Watson sings Hicks' Farewell on the Folkways CD 'Doc Watson and Clarence Ashley 1960-1962' he introduces the song by saying that Reverend Hicks of South Carolina wrote the words and music when he was off doing missionary work in Tennessee; he fell ill, thought he would die, and wanted the song sent back to his wife.



Mary


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: GUEST,Simple man
Date: 16 Dec 07 - 12:55 AM

This is simple. A man hates to see his love die.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: GUEST,Simpler man
Date: 16 Dec 07 - 12:57 AM

What the fuck are you all talking about?


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: GUEST,Ehm...
Date: 16 Dec 07 - 01:01 AM

perhaps she lives on and he dies...I'm not sure...whatever :)


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Dec 07 - 01:17 AM

i skimmed this 'un.

seems clear enough to me..

"'Tis bird I'd serve, for your sake...."


is clearly an early rip off of



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Would_Die_4_U


a simple heartfelt anguished death-bed song..


ie.. please take me not her God mate..

black bird crowe = death etc symbolism


[even though the police eventually found the arsenic bottle under the sink]


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: punkfolkrocker
Date: 16 Dec 07 - 01:50 AM

i spent more time reading this thread..

and i get a more focused sense of 'leaving/death' ambiguity in the various versions..


i like this song..

its well Goth Alt Country Folk


its a keeper..


dunno what the tune is..

but i can make one up in Dm


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: GUEST,pogoat
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 03:31 PM

The time is growing near, my dear, when you and I must part. no one can know the inward grief of my poor broken heart.
so give to me your hand my dear,
and love from every vein
and promise me that you'll be true until we meet again


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: foggers
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 04:16 PM

Spooky- I read this thread earlier today cos I am learning the song and wanted to research the background. I think it is so beautiful and sad: had to work on it lots before I could get through it without choking up.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 04:46 PM

1. As time draws near, my dearest dear,
When you and I must part,
What little you know of the grace and awe
Of my poor aching heart.
Each night I suffer for your sake,
You're the one I love so dear;
I wish that I was going with you,
Or you were staying here.

2. I wish my breast was made of glass
Wherein you might behold
Oh there your name I's wrote, my dear,
In letters made of gold.
Oh there your name I's wrote, my dear,
Believe me what I say,
You are the one I love the best
Until my dying day.

3. The crow that is so black, my love,
will surely turn to white
If ever I prove false to you,
Bright day return to night.
Bright day return to night, my love
The elements will mourn,
If ever I prove false to you
The seas will rage and burn.

4. And when you're on some distant shore,
Think of your absent friend,
And when the wind blows high and clear,
A line to me, pray send.
And when the wind blows high and clear,
Pray send a note to me,
That I might know by your handwrite
How time has gone with thee.

NOTE 1: Songs with glass breast / blackest crow imagery are to be found in:
Belden Ballads & Songs, MO Folklore Society, p. 484 (Banishment)
Brown North Carolina Folklore, vol. III, p. 262 (The Slighted Girl)
Randolph Ozark Folksongs, vol. IV, #760, (I Love You Well)
Sharp English Folksongs from S. Appalachians, Vol. II, #77 (p. 13) (My Dearest Dear)

NOTE 2 (10/1/2008): I received a message from a correspondent who prefers to remain anonymous that John Barleycorn Must Die is not Irish, but rather of English origin. A check with the Ballad Index (www.csufresno.edu/folklore/ballads/ShH84.html) shows that he is correct and I'm wrong (there are some Scottish versions, but no Irish). I swear there's an Irish accent in my mind when I think of the song, though, so perhaps I once heard the Chieftans or the Clancy Brothers sing the song. But forget I said anything about Irish.


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Desert Dancer
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 07:04 PM

Dick, where's that set from?

~ Becky in Tucson


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 07:46 PM

http://www.lizlyle.lofgrens.org/RmOlSngs/RTOS-BlackestCrow.html


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Richie
Date: 03 Mar 12 - 11:38 PM

It has the "elements will mourn" which I think should be the "elements will turn." I think I said this in a similar thread.

Richie


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Subject: RE: The Blackest Crow: meaning?
From: Brian Peters
Date: 04 Mar 12 - 10:32 AM

The American song - also known as The True Lovers' Farewell, Turtle Dove, Ten Thousand Miles and A-Roving On A Winter's Night, has its roots in a 17th century English broadside, in which it's a swan whose feathers will change from white to black. See Steve Gardham's article (scroll down and click on no. 20 in LH margin) for a discussion on the early history of this song.


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