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Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier

GUEST,gillymor 06 May 13 - 09:34 AM
Steve Gardham 06 May 13 - 11:05 AM
BrendanB 06 May 13 - 11:09 AM
GUEST,gillymor 06 May 13 - 11:24 AM
Steve Gardham 06 May 13 - 11:35 AM
GUEST,gillymor 06 May 13 - 12:13 PM
Steve Gardham 06 May 13 - 01:12 PM
YorkshireYankee 06 May 13 - 03:27 PM
Steve Gardham 06 May 13 - 04:02 PM
GUEST,gillymor 06 May 13 - 08:59 PM
Lighter 06 May 13 - 09:26 PM
Young Buchan 07 May 13 - 01:17 AM
BrendanB 07 May 13 - 07:45 AM
GUEST,gillymor 07 May 13 - 08:03 AM
Steve Gardham 07 May 13 - 01:33 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 06 May 13 - 09:34 AM

This should probably read Alt.Lyr Req. I love playing this melody that's commonly used for "Johnny Has Gone..." ( or Suil a Ruin) and would like to sing it but all the lyrics I've found in the DT and elsewhere are either a parody or sung from a female perspective, neither of which interests me. Does anyone know of a rewrite of this song to suit a male perspective or another set of lyrics entirely using the same tune?
Thanks, Dave.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 13 - 11:05 AM

Hmmm! So you want a song where a man is left at home while his girl goes off to fight in the wars. Good luck with this one!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: BrendanB
Date: 06 May 13 - 11:09 AM

There she sits on buttermilk hill
Who can blame her crying her fill
Every tear could turn a mill
Johnny has gone for a soldier

My o my how she loved him so
It broke her heart just to see him go
Only time may heal her woe
Johnny has.........

She's sold her rod and she's sold her reel
She's sold her only spinning wheel
To buy her love a sword of steel
Johnny has.........

She'll dye her dress and she'll dye it red
And in the street she'll go begging for bread
The one she loves from her is fled
Johnny has.......

As this in in the third person it can be sung by male or female.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 06 May 13 - 11:24 AM

Thank you Brendan, it's just what I was looking for.
And Steve, I'd gladly give up my place in the column for a lady conscript.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 13 - 11:35 AM

And back to first person again.....

My love she sits on yonder hill
She must sit and cry her fill
Tho every tear should turn a mill
Her Johnny has gone for a soldier.

I must confess she loved me so
It broke her heart to watch me go
I hope that time may heal her woe
Her ...

She sold her rock, she sold her reel
Likewise she sold her spinning wheel
To buy for me a sword of steel
Her .....

She now must dye her petticoat red
And in the streets go beg her bread
Now to the wars I must be led
her ....


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 06 May 13 - 12:13 PM

That works too, Steve. Thanks.

I'm still interested in any other songs set to this melody.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 13 - 01:12 PM

It's a beautiful Irish tune. I don't know what the original Scottish tune was like. I suspect very different but I might be wrong. Certainly Scottish versions seem to be older and at least some of the verses came across from Scotland. I would be surprised if the tune hadn't been appropriated for other pieces. I would guess it's probably a Gaelic tune originally but pure guesswork, probably clouded by the Macaronic versions. If it's any help the tune is more widely known as Suil Aroon (excuse my Irish)from the Irish chorus. There are probably other threads worth checking which will contain more information than I have to hand.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 06 May 13 - 03:27 PM

The version we learned in grade-school (in Michigan in the 60s):

Here I sit on Buttermilk Hill
Who could blame me cry my fill
And ev'ry tear would turn a mill
Johnny has gone...

Me oh my I loved him so
Broke my heart to see him go
And only time will heal my woe
Johnny....

I'll sell my flax. I'll sell my reel (wheel?)
Buy my love a sword of steel
That it in battle he may wield
Johnny...

That's all I remember; not sure if there was another verse or not, but the ones about dying her petticoat red do not ring a bell...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 06 May 13 - 04:02 PM

gillymor
In the search box at the top of the home page type 'shule aroon' and you will find a long list of old threads on this song under various titles
Suil a ruin
Shule Aroon
Johnny has gone etc.

I'm sure some of them will have discussion of the tune and its uses.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 06 May 13 - 08:59 PM

Yeah Steve I did a search before the OP and didn't find anything other than variations and parodies. I did find a few interesting tidbits on Wikipedia


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: Lighter
Date: 06 May 13 - 09:26 PM

Changing the sex of the speaker of a well-loved song to match your own!

What vanity! Sheer show-biz, and I've railed against it before.

It distances the action from first-person to third, thus draining off half the song's immediacy.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: Young Buchan
Date: 07 May 13 - 01:17 AM

I could not agree more with Lighter. When you sing a folksong you are not Gillymor or Dave or even Mary Hamilton. You are The Transmission Of The Song. Your responsibility is to tell the story - nothing more, nothing less. Close your eyes, watch the story go past and report to us what is happening.

I see far too many folk performances given by budding Slanislavskies; never mind all those men who apparently are so insecure that they can't sing a song from the mouth of a woman without a five minute preamble explaining that when they sing 'I love a lad' that does not mean they are gay.

I don't care if Siule Aroon is sung by a man or a woman, because if they are singing it properly I won't notice what sex they are. The one sure sure way to take my attention away from the song, is to start copulating around with the words.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: BrendanB
Date: 07 May 13 - 07:45 AM

May I point out that the version I supplied above is the only one that I have heard and is not, as far as I know, any form of bowdlerisation. Lighter and Young Buchan are obviously entitled to their view, I find it a bit fundamentalist.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: GUEST,gillymor
Date: 07 May 13 - 08:03 AM

All folk song lyrics that I've ever encountered have been subjected to intense copulation over decades and centuries and I don't have any problem screwing around with them myself. If there's a line I find awkward or nonsensical I shift it around to something that suits me. That to me is the essence of the folk
process and what makes these old ballads so vital and appealing. They've been burnished by many hands over time and the best versions survive but various permutations are also around for someone who wants to go a different way. Fortunately, these days I do my singing in living rooms and on lanais so the folk police have a hard time tracking me down.
Funny though, I can enjoy woman singing male roles, like Joan Baez doing Lily of the West, but am not too keen on males singing female roles (Andy Irvine singing The Blacksmith seems to work though). It doesn't feel right to me to go from "I shot a man in Reno, Just to watch him die." in one song to "Me oh my I loved him so..." but I'll listen to anyone sing anything and judge it on how it hits me viscerally.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 07 May 13 - 01:33 PM

Wow! It's not very often I disagree with Jon, but the essence of folk song is altering and adapting, not imitating verbatim. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. If you want to alter a song and your audience like the results I see no problem at all. Go for it, Gillymor.

My main grouse about altering folk song is those editors who alter and adapt and then try to pass off what they have created as something direct from oral tradition. This is sheer deception.

Jon,
I agree that changing a song from 1st to third person reduces its immediacy, but I don't see any vanity in altering a song to suit your own needs.


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