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John Anderson My Jo

[ Roud 16967 ; Ballad Index FSWB141B ; Bodleian Roud 16967 ; Robert Burns]

Margarte S. Tait sang John Anderson My Jo in Winnipeg in a recording made by the Canadian Broadcasting Company and broadcast on the radio in 1950. It was included in 2016 on her grauddaughter Louise Bichan's reminiscing album Out of My Own Light. Unfortunately this broadcast was cut off before the end of the first verse.

Jimmy McBeath sang a bawdy version of John Anderson, My Jo to Alan Lomax in London on 14 November 1953. This recording was included in 2002 on his Rounder anthology Tramps and Hawkers.

Cilla Fisher sang John Anderson, My Jo in 1986 on her and Artie Trezise's album Reaching Out. This video shows her at Burns Night 2015, accompanied by Michael Marra on piano:

Mairi Campbell sang John Anderson, My Jo in 1996 on The Cast's Culburnie album Colours of Lichen. She noted:

This meditation on love, ageing and death is one of the finest songs that Burns ever wrote.

Eddi Reader sang John Anderson, My Jo in 1996 on her EP Medicine and in 2003 on her CD The Songs of Robert Burns. She noted:

This is Robert's celebration of fidelity and affection through the years. I want to be able to sing this to someone and mean it, when I'm around eighty-nine years of age.

Gordon Mooney played the tune of John Anderson My Jo on his 1998 Temple album of music of the Scottish Borders played on the cauld wind pipes, O'er the Border.

Elspeth Cowie sang John Anderson My Jo in 1999 on the Linn anthology The Complete Songs of Robert Burns Volume 6.

Shona Donaldson sang John Anderson My Jo in 2009 on Pūr's CD of Robert Burns songs, The Lassies' Reply.

Robyn Stapleton sang John Anderson My Jo on her 2017 album Songs of Robert Burns. She noted:

This song portrays a lifetime of love in just two verses.

Dila Vardar sang John Anderson, My Jo at the Band of Burns' concert on 29 January 2017 at Union Chapel, Islington, London. A recording of this concert was released in the following year on their double CD Live from the Union Chapel.

Fiona Ross sang John Anderson My Jo, John in 2020 on her and Shane O'Mara's CD Sunwise Turn. She noted:

I’ve long had a soft spot for this well known song by Robert Burns. A simple, moving expression of a love that endures from youth through to old age and beyond. The subject of the poem, John Anderson, was a close friend of Burns. He was a carpenter to trade, and is said to have built Burns' coffin in 1796. This most tender of love songs is a re-working by Burns of a very entertaining bawdy song of the same name!

See also the abstinence song John Anderson My Jo (Roud 6050; G/D 3:600), John Anderson My Jo in Herd's Ancient and Modern Scottish Songs, Heroic Ballads, etc. (Roud 8716, first line 'Tis not your beauty nor your wit), and John Anderson My Jo (no Roud number) from Burns' Merry Muses of Caledonia.

Lyrics

Jimmy McBeath sings a bawdy John Anderson, My Jo

John Anderson ma jo, John
You are a dirty devil,
Ye've muckle need tae wash yer airse
And caimb yer hairy pizle.
The crabs are crawlin roon aboot em
And that ye'll soon find noo,
For they're richt up through yer shite bag,
John Anderson ma jo.

John Anderson ma jo, John
We've climbt the hills the gither,
And mony's a canty rovin ride
We've hit at [name] anither.
Bot noo ye're turnin auld, John,
Come, hand in hand we'll go,
And we'll fuck and fart till death depart,
John Anderson ma jo.

Mairi Campbell sings John Anderson My Jo

John Anderson, my jo, John,
When we were first acquent;
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonny brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snaw;
Ah, but blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson, my jo!

John Anderson, my jo, John,
We clamb the hills thegither;
And mony's the canty day, John,
We had wi ane anither;
Nw we maun totter doon, John,
And hand in hand we'll go;
And sleep thegither at the fit,
John Anderson, my jo.

Elspeth Cowie sings John Anderson My Jo

John Anderson my jo, John,
When we were first acquent;
Your locks were like the raven,
Your bonie brow was brent;
But now your brow is beld, John,
Your locks are like the snaw;
But blessings on your frosty pow,
John Anderson my jo!

John Anderson my jo, John,
We clamb the hills the gither;
And mony a canty day John,
We've had wi ane anither;
Nw we maun totter doon, John,
And hand in hand we'll go;
And sleep the gither at the foot,
John Anderson my jo.