> Shirley Collins > Songs > Black Joker / Black, White, Yellow and Green
> The Etchingham Steam Band > Songs > Black Joker
> The Albion Dance Band > Songs > Black Joke
> Martin Carthy > Songs > Black Joke

Black Joker / Black, White, Yellow and Green

[ Roud 9212 ; trad.]

Black Joke or Black Joker is a Morris Dance tune, more precisely a stick dance from Bledington. The Etchingham Steam Band played Black Joker live at the Norwich Folk Festival in 1974; this was published in 1995 on the CD The Etchingham Steam Band.

The Albion Morris Men performed Black Joker to Shirley Collins singing the children's rhyme Black, White, Yellow and Green on her and her sister Dolly's 1976 album Amaranth. She also sang it live in London in 1979; this was published in 2006 on the CD Snapshots.

The Albion Dance Band finished their song The Postman's Knock with the tune Black Joke in a John Peel / Top Gear BBC Radio 1 session recorded on May 31, 1977 and broadcast on June 8, 1977; this was published on their CDs The Albion Band Live in Concert, 1993, and The BBC Sessions, 1998. The Albion Dance Band also played both in 1977, Live at the Cambridge Folk Festival.

Dave Whetstone on concertina and Martin Carthy on guitar played Black Joke on the 1986 album An Hour with Cecil Sharp and Ashley Hutchings.

In 2002, Ashley Hutchings and chums recorded Black Joke for their CD Grandson of Morris On and Albion Morris with narrator Shirley Collins did it on their CD Still Dancing After All These Years.

Lyrics

There was an old woman who kept fat hogs,
She made plum puddings to poison the dogs,
They were black, white, yellow and green.

She took them, put them in the pot,
Boiled them until they were blazing hot,
They were black, white, yellow and green.

Chorus (after every other verse):
Black, white, yellow and green,
Black, white, yellow and green,
The crudest plum puddings that ever was seen,
They were black, white, yellow and green.

She took a pin and pricked the skin,
The gravy ran out and the maggots ran in,
They were black, white, yellow and green.

She took them, put them on the floor,
They each in turn ran out of the door,
They were black, white, yellow and green.

She put them on the fire to cook,
They did the black joke, were covered in soot,
Black, white, yellow and green.

She took them, put them up on the shelf,
If you want any more, you can see to yourself,
Black, white, yellow and green.