> Folk Music > Songs > Johnny Lad

Johnny Lad

[ Roud 2587 ; G/D 4:755 ; Ballad Index Log443 ; Bodleian Roud 2587 ; trad.]

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger sang Johnny Lad in 1956 on their Tradition album Classic Scots Ballads and in 1962 on their Folkways album Popular Scottish Songs. He commented in the former album's sleeve notes:

This beautiful little song in strathspey rhythm is widely known throughout Banffshire and the Aberdeen district. In Glasgow, where it is a favourite with children, it has undergone considerable transformation; the lyric has become urbanised and the strathspey air abandoned in favour of a catchy, but much plainer, tune. I learned this version from the singing of Hamish Henderson.

Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor sang Johnny Lad in 1962 on their album Two Heids Are Better Than Yin!.

The Ian Campbell Folk Group sang Johnny Lad in 1963 on their Transatlantic album This Is the Ian Campbell Folk Group. Their album's sleeve notes commented:

This is a Glasgow street song which has been popular since the early days of the folk song revival in Britain. There are a great many existing verses—bawdy, satirical, and irreverent—and more being created all the time; we are constantly encountering new verses, often highly topical and sometimes unfit for public performance. Johnny Lad is one of the proofs that the oral tradition is not yet dead in Britain.

Nigel Denver sang Johnny Lad, a song “typical of the cheeky Glasgow spirit” (sleeve notes), in 1964 on his eponymous Decca album Nigel Denver.

Sarah McQuaid sang Johnny Lad in 1997 on her first album, When Two Lovers Meet. She commented in her liner notes:

I have no idea where I got this song, and I can't seem to find it in any book. I think I learned it off a tape that I made at a festival in the States, but the original cassette is long vanished. The song is almost certainly Scottish; I've taken a few liberties with the words and jazzed up the music.

Robyn Stapleton sang Johnnie Lad on the TMSA Young Trad Tour 2014. The liner notes commented:

Whilst there are many traditional songs that share the title Johnnie Lad, this particular version can be found in Ewan MacColl's Scotland Sings collection (1953). The song is credited to the singing of Hamish Henderson and was passed on to Robyn from Gordeanna McCulloch.

Lyrics

Ewan MacColl sings Johnny Lad

Oh, ken you my love Johnny, he'd doon on yonder lea
He's lookin' and he's joukin' and he's aye watchin' me.
He's pu'in and he's teasin' but his meanin's nae sae bad,
Gin it ever gaun tae be, tell me noo, Johnnie lad.

Chorus:
Tell me noo, my Johnnie laddie, tell me noo me, my Johnny lad,
Gin it ever gaun tae be, tell me noo, Johnnie lad.

When the sheep are in the fauld and the kye are in the byre,
An' ither lads an' lassies sittin' roond a roarin' fire;
There's me, a glaiket lassie, just like's gin I was mad
Through the nooks and barley stooks, jinkin' you, Johnny lad.

Chorus:
Jinkin' you, my Johnny laddie, jinkin' you, my Johnny lad;-
Through the nooks and barley stooks, jinkin' you, Johnny lad.

O Johnny's blythe and bonnie, he's the pride o' a' yon lea,
And I lo'e him best o' ony, though he's aye teasin me.
Though he teases me an' squeezes me and tickles me like mad,
Nane comes near me that can cheer me like my ain Johnny lad.

Chorus:
Aye, it's you, my Johnny laddie, aye, it's you, my Johnny lad;
Nane can tease me an' can please me like my ain Johnny lad.

O Johnny's nae a gentleman, nor yet he is a laird,
But I would follow Johnny lad although he was a caird.
O Johnny is a bonnie lad, he wis aince a lad o' mine,
An' I've never had a better lad, though I've had twentynine.

Chorus:
An' wi' you, my Johnny laddie, an' wi' you, my Johnny lad,
An' I'll dance the buckles off my shoon wi' you, Johnny lad.

Robyn Stapleton sings Johnnie Lad

O ken ye my love Johnnie, he is doon on yonder lea?
He’s lookin an he’s joukin and he’s aye watchin me,
He’s pullin an he’s teasin but his meanin’s no sae bad.
Gin it’s ever gaun tae be tell me noo Johnnie lad.

2× Chorus:
Tell me noo Johnnie laddie, tell me noo my Johnnie lad,
Gin it’s ever gaun tae be, tell me noo Johnnie lad.

When the sheep are in the fauld and the kye are in the byre
An other lads an lassies runnin roond a roarin fire,
There’s me a glaiket lassie, just like’s gin I wis mad,
Through the nooks an barley stooks I’m jinkin you Johnnie lad.

2× Chorus:
Jinkin you Johnnie laddie, jinkin you my Johnnie lad,
Through the nooks an barley stooks I’m jinkin you Johnnie lad

O Johnnie’s blythe an bonnie, he’s the pride o a’ yon lea,
An I loe him best o ony though he’s aye teasin’ me.
Though he teases me an pleases me an tickles me like mad,
Nane can tease me an can please me like my ain Johnnie lad.

2× Chorus:
Aye it’s you Johnnie laddie, aye it’s you my Johnnie lad,
Nane can tease me an can please me like my ain Johnnie lad.

O Johnnie’s nae a gentleman nor yet is he a laird,
But I wad follow Johnnie lad although he wis a caird.
O Johnnie is a bonnie lad, he is a lad o mine
An I’ve never had a better lad though I’ve had twenty nine.

2× Chorus:
An wi you Johnnie laddie, an wi you my Johnnie lad
I’ll dance the buckles aff my shoon wi you Johnnie lad.