From The Traditional Tune Archive
The tune dates from the 16th century and is a member of a very large tune family. Henry Playford first printed it in 1698 in his Dancing Master (under the title "Mad Moll (1)", a dance named for Mary "Moll" Frith, and amateur actress and professional pickpocket), and later in his 1703 edition with another dance under the title "Virgin Queen." In 1705 Dean Swift adapted a nursery song to it beginning "Here my kitten, my kitten" ("O my Kitten"). The title "Yellow Stockings" for the tune appear in dancing master Daniel Wright's North Country Frisks (1713) and (as "Yallow Stockings") in his Extraordinary Collection of Pleasant and Merry Humour's never before Published, Containing Hornpipes, Jiggs, North Cuntry Frisks', Morris's, Bagpipe Hornpipe's, & Round's with Severall Additonal fancis added. fit for all those that play Publick" (c. 1715). John and William Neal printed it in their Choice Collection of Country Dances (Dublin, 1726).
As a vocal melody it can be heard in Charles Coffee’s ballad opera Boarding School (1733), The Cobler of Preston (1732), and it was published in a folio of songs from Henry Brooke’s Jack the Gyantqueller (London, 1749). Thomas Moore used it as the vehicle for his lyric "Fairest Put On Awhile." Sir John Hawkins mentioned the tune in this quote regarding tavern entertainment from his 1576 A General History of the Science and Practice of Music:
...Fidlers and others, hired by the master of the house; such as
in the night season were wont to parade the city and suburbs
under the title of Waits...Half a dozen of fidlers would scrape
"Sellenger's Round", or "John Come Kiss Me", or "Old Simon
the King" with divisions, till themselves and their audience were
tired, after which as many players on the hautboy would in the
most harsh and discordant tones grate forth "Greensleeves,"
"Yellow Stockings," "Gillean of Croydon," or some such common
dance tune, and the people thought it fine music.
There are two main versions of “Yellow Stockings,” both sharing the first strain. One version follows the “Yellow Stocking,” “Mad Moll,” “Peacock Follows the Hen” versions, predominant in England, while the other follows “Yellow Stockings,” “The Kitten,” “Hey My Kitten” titles, predominant in Ireland. The version given in Ryan’s Mammoth Collection/Cole’s 1000 belongs to the Irish strain. The collector George Petrie included an untitled Irish version in his collection of 1855 (Stanford/Petrie, No. 101, p. 25). R.D. Cannon, in his article “English Bagpipe Music” (Folk Music Journal, 1972) suggests the progenitor of this very large tune family is the Scots “Up with Aley.” Other variant titles include “Brose and Butter,” “Drops of Brandy/Whiskey,” “The Faraway Wedding,” “The Honeymoon,” “Jerry Houlihan,” “The Dusty Miller,” and “Hey My Nanny/Nancy.”
YELLOW STOCKINGS full Score(s) and Annotations and Past Featured Tunes
B | c>BAAEAAEB | cA/B/cAEABGB | c>BAAEAAEA | B2GG>AGBG ||
B | c/B/c/d/eB2AAEA | c/B/c/d/e B2A BGB | c>deB2AAEA | BdgBdgBG ||
B | c>dagaA2B | c/B/c/d/egfgG2A | c>de/f/agaA2B | c>de/f/ g2dBG ||
B | c/d/c/B/A GEG C2B | cBAGEFG2B | c/d/c/B/AGE/F/GC2c | B2gd>ed/c/BG ||
B | cegc/d/e/f/gBGB | cegga/g/f/e/fdB | cegcegBGB | cBAGEGA,2 ||