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Hey How Johnny Lad

[ Roud 7148 ; G/D 7:1351 ; Ballad Index BrHHJL ; Mudcat 25865 , 29962 ; trad.]

Hey How Johnny Lad is a song of courting and abandonment. The singer complains that Johnny had the opportunity to meet her as her parents were away, but he never arrives. She concludes she needs a more ardent lover.

Early printed version of Hey How Johnny Lad are in David Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc. (Edinburgh, 1870 (reprint of 1776)), Vol II, pp. 215-216, and in Johnson's Scots Musical Museum, IV, 1792, p. 368 (number 357).

Ewan MacColl sang Hey, How, Johnny Lad on his and Peggy Seeger's 1964 Folkways album Traditional Songs and Ballads. The album's booklet noted:

The version of this song given in the Scots Musical Museum contains an additional verse, probably the work of Burns. The text given here was collected by David Herd. The air is from a Scottish reel The Lasses o' the Ferry.

Learned from print: Herd and Scots Musical Museum.

Jean Redpath sang Hey How Johnie Lad in 1986 on her album The Songs of Robert Burns Volumes 2.

Andy M. Stewart sang Hey How Johnnie Lad on his 1989 album Songs of Robert Burns.

Patsy Seddon first heard Hey How My Johnny Lad sung by Andy M. Stewart. She recorded it with the Poozies for their 1995 CD Dansoozies, This track was also included in 2000 on their retrospective Raise Your Head. This video shows them at an unspecified venue, most probably in Germany in the mid-1990s:

Mick West sang Hey, How My Johnie Lad on the 1998 Linn anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 4.

See also Robert Tannahill's related song Och Hey! Johnny Lad (Roud V7525).


The Poozies sing Hey How My Johnny Lad

Hey how my Johnny Lad ye're no' sae kind's ye should ha'e been;
Gin yer voice I hadna kent, I couldna eithly trow ma een.
Sae weel's ye micht hae tousled me and sweetly prie'd my mou bedeen:
Hey how my Johnny Lad, ye're no' sae kind's ye should have been.

My faither he was at the pleugh, my mither she was at the mill,
My Billie he was at the moss, an' no ane near our sport tae spill.
The feint a body was therein, there was nae fear o' bein' seen:
Hey how my Johnny Lad, Ye're no' sae kind's ye should have been.

Wad ony lad wha lo'ed her weel hae left his bonny lass her lane,
Tae sigh an' greet ilk langsome hour and think her sweetest minutes gane?
O had ye been a wooer leal we would hae met wi' hearts mair keen:
Hey how my Johnny Lad, ye're no' sae kind's ye should have been.

But I maun get anither jo, wha's love gangs never oot o' sight,
And never lets the moments pass when to a lass he can be kind.
So gang yer wa's tae blinkin' Bess, nae mair for Johnny shall she green:
Hey how my Johnny Lad, ye're no' sae kind's ye should have been.