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Origins:Jickson Johnson/Johnson Jinkson/3 Butchers

DigiTrad:
DIXON AND JOHNSON
TWO BUTCHERS


Related thread:
Three Butchers: WHY the naked woman? (82)


SouthernCelt 22 Sep 07 - 10:39 AM
12-stringer 22 Sep 07 - 12:56 PM
Joe Offer 22 Sep 07 - 02:44 PM
Joe Offer 22 Sep 07 - 03:47 PM
Joe Offer 22 Sep 07 - 04:15 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Sep 07 - 06:12 PM
Malcolm Douglas 22 Sep 07 - 06:23 PM
SouthernCelt 22 Sep 07 - 08:30 PM
Richard Mellish 09 Aug 09 - 03:17 AM
cnd 12 Dec 15 - 09:34 PM
cnd 12 Dec 15 - 09:38 PM
cnd 12 Dec 15 - 09:51 PM
GUEST,Joe Tomrud 13 Dec 15 - 02:30 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: 'Jickson Johnson' by Ian & Sylvia
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 22 Sep 07 - 10:39 AM

The revived request on "National Hotel" reminded me of one I've been meaning to ask about

A bit of history: I & S had a committment to do two MGM albums. The first was Lovin' Sound which had Nat'l Hotel and a number of others that are fairly well-known among I & S fans. The second album called Full Circle, which Ian insisted be more under their control, probably had fewer songs that made it into fans' I & S favorites but did give Sylvia a chance to do a little more of her type of music. She went on to re-issue at least one ("Woman's World) of hers on a solo album after they split.

A really up-tempo, somewhat bluegrassy, folk-tale sounding song on the second album, "Jickson Johnson", is probably my favorite from the whole album. Sylvia sings the lyrics but the mix of instruments (heavy on the fiddle)overpowers a lot of the words making them hard to understand. I had forgotten all about this song until I got the double album reissue and heard it again. Anyone have the lyrics? I've done web searches a couple of times but never came up with more than a reference to the album containing the song, never lyrics.

The song begins:

Johnson he went riding as fast as he could ride
When he thought he heard a woman, he heard a woman cry...
after that every line has at least one difficult to understand word and trying to figure them out takes away from the enjoyment of the overall sound of the song.

Anyone?

SC


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Subject: ADD: Johnson Jinkson
From: 12-stringer
Date: 22 Sep 07 - 12:56 PM

Mine is on vinyl and I don't have a working phonograph, but cf the one in the 1964 "Peggy Seeger Songbook" (Oak), from which it derives. As I recall from last hearing it, the I&S lyrics are very close, if not quite identical, to these.

Johnson Jinkson

Johnson he was riding along
As fast as he could ride
When he thought he heard a woman,
He heard a woman cry.

Johnson getting off his horse
And proceeding to look all around
Till he came upon a woman
With her hair pinned to the ground.

Woman, dearest woman,
Who has brought you here for spite?
Who has brought you here this morning
With your hair pinned to the ground?

It were three bold and struggling men
With sword keen in hand
Who have brought me here this morning
With my hair pinned to the ground.

Johnson being a man of his own
And being a man in bold
He took off his overcoat
To cover her from the cold.

Johnson getting on his horse
And the woman getting on behind
Down that long and lonesome highway
Their fortunes for to find.

They rode on and further on
And nothing could they spy
When she put her fingers to her ears
And gave three shivering cries.

Out sprang three bold and struggling men
With swords keen in hand
who commanded Johnson
Commanded him to stand.

I'll stop then, said Johnson,
I'll stand then, said he,
But I never was in my life
Afraid of any three.

Johnson killing two of them
Not watching the woman behind
While he was upon the other one
She stabbed him from behind.

The day was clear and a market day
And the people all passing by
Who saw this awful murder
And saw poor Johnson die.

Ultimate source of this version is a late 1930s field recording, made at a migrant labor camp in Visalia, CA, of Troy Cambron, vocal with guitar. The original Cambron performance can be found in the "Voices from the Dust Bowl" program at American Memory and is worth the search.


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Subject: ADD Version: Johnson-Jinkson
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 07 - 02:44 PM

The American Memory Collection has two pages, a recording and a text, of the song: Good song.
-Joe-

Johnson-Jinkson
Singer: Troy Cambron
Arvin, California, 1940

Johnson he was riding along
As fast as he could ride
He thought he heard a woman
He heard a woman cry.

Johnson getting off his horse
And searching, looked all around
Until he came to a woman
With her hair pinned to the ground.

Woman, dearest woman
Who has brought you here for sin
Who has brought you here this morning
With your hair pinned to the ground.

It were three bold and struggling men
With swords keen at hand
Who have brought me here this morning
With my hair pinned to the ground.

Johnson bein' a man of his own
And bein' a man and bold
He put off his overcoat
To hug her from the cold.

Johnson getting on his horse
And the woman getting on behind
Down this lonesome highway rode
Fortune was for to find.

They were riding all along
As fast as they could ride
She drew her fingers to her ears
And give three shivering cries.

Out sprung three bold and struggling men
With sword keen at hand
Who did command that Johnson
Commanded him to stand.

I'll stop them, said Johnson
I'll stand them, said he
For I never worried in my life
Afraid of any of three.

Johnson killing two of them
Not watching the woman behind
While he was after the other one
She stabbed him from behind.

The day was free and a market day
And the people all passing by
Who did see this awful murder
And saw poor Johnson die.


Alternate title: "Two/Three Butchers."
Source: Voices from the Dust Bowl: The Charles L. Todd and Robert Sonkin Migrant Worker Collection, 1940-1941
My transcription is just a little different from that on the American Memory Collection Website.

Recorded as "Jickson Johnson" on the Ian & Sylvia Full Circle album, 1968; and as Jinkson Johnson on Mike Seeger's True Vine CD. Both recordings are very similar to the transcriptions 12-stringer and I posted.


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Subject: Origins: Three Butchers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 07 - 03:47 PM

I'm surprised we haven't had discussion on this song before. The Digital Tradition has at least two versions, and the Traditional Ballad Index has a long entry:

Three Butchers, The (Dixon and Johnson) [Laws L4]

DESCRIPTION: Three butchers are riding when they hear a woman calling out. They find her naked and bound. They free her; she blows a whistle which summons robbers. Two butchers yield, but Johnson fights and is close to winning when the woman stabs him from behind
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: c. 1678
KEYWORDS: outlaw trick death fight
FOUND IN: US(Ap,MA,NE,SE,So) Canada(Mar,Newf) Britain(England(South),Scotland) Ireland
REFERENCES (21 citations):
Laws L4, "The Three Butchers"
Randolph 97, "Dixon and Johnson" (1 text, 1 tune)
Randolph/Cohen, pp. 74-75, "Dixon and Johnson" (1 text, 1 tune -- Randolph's 97)
FSCatskills 111, "The Three Jolly Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kennedy 335, "Three Jolly Sportsmen" (1 text, 1 tune)
Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 254-255, "Young Butcher Boy" (1 text, 1 tune)
JHCox 86, "Jackison and Dickison" (1 text)
SharpAp 60, "The Three Butchers" (4 texts, 4 tunes)
SHenry H185, pp. 128-129, "The Three Huntsmen/Wilson, Gilmore, and Johnson" (1 text, 1 tune)
MacSeegTrav 24, "The Three Butchers" (1 text, 1 tune)
BrownII 80, "The Three Butchers" (2 texts)
Chappell-FSRA 46, "Good Woman" (1 fragment)
Creighton/Senior, pp. 120-122, "The Three Jovial Huntsmen" (2 texts, 2 tunes, with the first being a peculiar variant in which the huntsmen all resist and Johnson kills the deceitful woman)
Creighton-NovaScotia 97, "The Three Gallant Huntsmen" (1 text, 1 tune; this resembles the Creighton/Senior version in which the huntsmen win the battle)
Greenleaf/Mansfield 37, "Johnson" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Peacock, pp. 817-818, "Jolly Butchermen" (1 text, 1 tune)
Karpeles-Newfoundland 33, "The Three Butchers" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Leach-Labrador 59, "Three Boocher Lads" (1 text, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 223, "Johnson" (1 text)
BBI, ZN782, "Did you never hear of worthy butchers three"; ZN1365, "I'll tell you a story of lovely butchers three"
DT 325, BUTCHER2 BUTCHER3*

Roud #17
RECORDINGS:
Bob Scarce, "Three Jolly Sportsmen" (on FSB8)
Pete Seeger, "The Three Butchers" (on PeteSeeger16)

BROADSIDES:
Bodleian, Harding B 28(206), "The Three Butchers," W. Wright (Birmingham), 1820-1827; also 2806 c.16(200), Harding B 11(4230), Firth c.17(1), Harding B 11(876), Firth c.17(2), Harding B 25(1901), Harding B 15(330b), Harding B 16(288a), "[The] Three Butchers"; Harding B 11(1767), Firth c.17(3), "Ips, Gips, and Johnson" or "The Three Butchers[!]"
ALTERNATE TITLES:
Jinkson Johnson
The Three Riders
The Jolly Butchermen
File: LL04

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2007 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


A Roud Number Search (#17) brings up lots of results.
Vance Randolph collected Dixon and Johnson from Miss Mary Drain of Farmington, Arkansas, on December 9, 1941. The Digital Tradition transcription is a close copy of #97 from Randolph's Ozark Folksongs.


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Subject: ADD: The Three Butchers
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Sep 07 - 04:15 PM

John Roberts and Tony Barrand recorded "The Three Butchers" on their A Present from the Gentlemen: A Pandora's Box of English Folk Songs (1992). The notes say their version is from the singing of Henry Burstow. Lucy Broadwood noted it down from him in 1894, and included it in her English Traditional Songs and Carols.. I hope they don't mind if I post the lyrics from their Website:


The Three Butchers

A story I will tell to you concerning butchers three,
Gibson, Wilson and Johnson, mark well what I do say;
Now as they had five hundred pound, upon a market day,
As they had five hundred pound to spend upon their way.
     With a hey, ding, ding, and a ho, ding, ding,
     A high, ding, ding, high day,
     May Heaven keep good people from such bad company.

And as they rode along the road as fast as they could ride,
Spur on your horse, cries Johnson, for I hear a woman cry;
And as they rode into the wood, the scene they spied around,
There they found this woman, stark naked on the ground.

"O woman, woman," Johnson cries, "And woman, tell to me."
"And woman, woman," Johnson cries, "Have you got any company?"
"Oh, no, oh no," this woman cried, "However can it be
When there's been by ten swaggering blades who've robbed and beaten me."

Now Johnson being a valiant man, a man of valiant mind,
He's wrapped her up in his great coat, and he's pulled her on behind,
And as they rode into the wood, the woman he did not mind,
She put her fingers to her lips and gave a shivering cry.

Then out and stepped ten swaggering blades with rapiers keen in hand,
They stepped up to Johnson, and boldly bid him stand.
"Oh, I'll not stand," says Wilson, "I'm sure that I would die."
"No more will I," says Gibson, "For I will surely fly!"

"Come on! come on!" cries bold Johnson, "You are but ten to me,
And woman, stand you there behind, we'll gain the victory."
The very first pistol Johnson fires is loaded with powder and ball,
And out of these ten swaggering blades full five of them did fall.

"Come on! come on!" cries bold Johnson, "You are but five to me,
And woman, stand you there behind, we'll gain the victory."
And the very next pistol Johnson fires is loaded with powder and ball,
And out of these five swaggering blades another three did fall.

"Come on! come on!" cries bold Johnson, "You are but two to me,
And woman, stand you there behind, we'll gain the victory."
But as he fought these rogues in front, the woman he did not mind,
She drew his knife all from his belt and stabbed him from behind.

Now, the day it being a market day, there's people passing by,
They saw the awful murder, and raised a hue and cry.
So now she is condemned to die in iron chains so strong,
For killing the finest young butcher that ever the sun shone on.


Anything more you can tell us about the song, John?-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Origins:Jickson Johnson/Johnson Jinkson/3 Butchers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Sep 07 - 06:12 PM

Quite an old broadside song, appearing first as 'The Three Worthy Butchers of the North' in the latter part of the 17th century; the earliest dated copy being Brooksby's (West Smithfield, London, c.1672-9). It was re-issued under various titles well into the 19th, latterly in a more condensed form; the hero is always Johnson, but the names of his two companions change.

For various broadside copies under various names, see Bodleian Library Broadside Ballads:

The new ballad of the three merry butchers, and ten highway-men (etc)

Still turning up in oral currency in England, Ireland and the USA well into the 1970s, and quite probably still lurking about out there.


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Subject: RE: Origins:Jickson Johnson/Johnson Jinkson/3 Butchers
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 22 Sep 07 - 06:23 PM

Bother, I missed one out. Three jolly butchers and ten highwaymen

See also the Pepys Collection:

Pepys 2.176: A New Ballad of Three Merry Butchers AND Ten High-Way Men, how three Butchers went to pay Five Hundred Pounds away, and hearing a Woman crying in a Wood, went to relieve her, and was there set upon by these Ten High-Way Men, and how only stout Johnson fought with them all, who kill'd Eight of the Ten, and last was kill'd by the Woman whom he went to save out of the Wood


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Subject: RE: Origins:Jickson Johnson/Johnson Jinkson/3 Butchers
From: SouthernCelt
Date: 22 Sep 07 - 08:30 PM

Thanks everyone. Didn't realize this one was an old song; thought it was something I & S came up with to add a little variety to the album.

SC


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Subject: RE: Origins:Jickson Johnson/Johnson Jinkson/3 Butchers
From: Richard Mellish
Date: 09 Aug 09 - 03:17 AM

The story is pretty consistent in all versions, but has always puzzled me.

The fact that the woman eventually turns out to be on the robbers' side implies that she was some sort of decoy -- but why did they need a decoy?

Why did their plan require her to be naked?

And why was she tied down by her hair rather than by any more conventional method?

What purpose does her "shriekful cry" (in Henry Burstow's wonderful version, slightly different from the Roberts and Barrand version posted above) serve? The robbers could have seen the butchers riding down the road, and ambushed them, without her being involved at all.

Perhaps her role was to find out whether the butchers were carrying enough money to be worth robbing, but that is not mentioned; and what if they had had very little? Then all the palaver of her being stripped and tied down would have been a waste of effort.

If this is a fictional story, the original author might have been expected either to omit these implausible elements or to explain them, and the explanations might have been expected to survive in some versions.

The absence of such explanations makes me suspect that the story was based on a real incident.

Richard


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Subject: Ly Add: The Battle of King's Mountain
From: cnd
Date: 12 Dec 15 - 09:34 PM

From the liner notes:
"Despite its title, this ballad is not concerned with the celebrated American defeat, October 7, 1780, of the British by American frontiersmen. Rather, this is a version of the 17th century broadside, The Three Butchers, which is almost mock heroic in its lament for the death of Johnson, the brave butcher. The woman was originally a decoy for the robbers and summoned them by blowing a whistle. Ramsey's text is somewhat confusing in that the seventh of six robbers is put to flight and the identity of the person to be hanged is uncertain. It is certainly not accidental that a western North Carolina singer would associate a ballad with the Battle of King's Mountain, but the association may have been aided by the King's Mountain of a Brennan on the Moor variant or by the King's highway of anther ballad."

Source: http://allensarchiveofearlyoldcountrymusic.blogspot.com/2010/02/obray-ramsey-sings-folksongs-from-three.html

Note that I very specifically listen and made sure that he said "Dickson," not "Jickson" or "Jinkson," as in the other versions.

THE BATTLE OF KING'S MOUNTAIN
(Trad; "Laws #L4")

Johnson said to Dickson, one cold December day
"Let's go out on King's Mountain and while the time away"

Way out on King's Mountain, King's Mountain so high
Johnson said to Dickson "I heard a woman cry"

Then turning to his right and looking all around
He saw a naked woman chained to the ground

"Good woman, good woman, what is this awful crime?"
"The robber boys have robbed me and left me to die"

Johnson being good-hearted, and Dickson being kind
They rapped a coat around her and took her up behind

They had not gone so very far, two miles or three
The woman started screamin' "Lord have mercy on me"

Out stepped six robbers with daggers in their hands
They caught the horse's bridle, saying "Man your life must end"

Johnson fought to six o'clock, 'til the sun went down that night
He killed six of the robbers, then the seventh one took flight

Johnson being tired laid down to take a rest
The woman stole his dagger and stabbed him in the breast

Good woman, good woman, a-look what you have done
You've killed the bravest soldier Ol' England's ever sprung

I'm going back to England, I'm sentenced to be hung
I've fought in many-a battle, but this is my last one


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Subject: RE: Origins:Jickson Johnson/Johnson Jinkson/3 Butchers
From: cnd
Date: 12 Dec 15 - 09:38 PM

You can listen to it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qZIgSkkOACg


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Subject: RE: Origins:Jickson Johnson/Johnson Jinkson/3 Butchers
From: cnd
Date: 12 Dec 15 - 09:51 PM

Here is the description from George Malcolm Laws' American Balladry from British Broadsides: A Guide for Students and Collectors of Traditional Song:

Riding along with large sums of money to pay off their creditors, the butchers hear cries for help and come upon a naked woman, bound with chords, who says she has been robbed. Johnson frees her, and the four ride on together. The woman whistles a signal and ten thieves spring from hiding. Two of the butchers yield and are bound. Johnson fights gallantly and kills eight of the robbers, but the woman gives him his death blow from behind. The remaining thieves then murder the other two butchers and escape from England.

Source: http://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015031007852;view=1up;seq=186


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Subject: RE: Origins:Jickson Johnson/Johnson Jinkson/3 Butchers
From: GUEST,Joe Tomrud
Date: 13 Dec 15 - 02:30 PM

There is a version of this song on Matthews Southern Comfort album "Second Spring", in a contemporary setting, from 1970.

Ian (now Iain) Matthews was a big fan of Ian & Sylvia, and covered Sylvia Fricker's "Southern Comfort" on the same album.


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