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Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny

Lighter 21 Sep 23 - 03:07 PM
Lighter 21 Sep 23 - 07:12 PM
cnd 21 Sep 23 - 08:15 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 21 Sep 23 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 21 Sep 23 - 11:02 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 21 Sep 23 - 11:05 PM
RTim 21 Sep 23 - 11:09 PM
Lighter 22 Sep 23 - 12:51 PM
cnd 22 Sep 23 - 01:39 PM
Lighter 22 Sep 23 - 02:31 PM
Lighter 22 Sep 23 - 03:30 PM
Lighter 22 Sep 23 - 05:25 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 21 Sep 23 - 10:58 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 21 Sep 23 - 11:02 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 21 Sep 23 - 11:05 PM
Lighter 21 Sep 23 - 03:07 PM
Lighter 21 Sep 23 - 07:12 PM
Lighter 22 Sep 23 - 12:51 PM
Lighter 22 Sep 23 - 02:31 PM
Lighter 22 Sep 23 - 03:30 PM
Lighter 22 Sep 23 - 05:25 PM
RTim 21 Sep 23 - 11:09 PM
cnd 21 Sep 23 - 08:15 PM
cnd 22 Sep 23 - 01:39 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 03:07 PM

One of the best known halliard chanteys. One version is in DT

Heard by Capt. David A McLeod (1857-1940) in the 1870s ("Cape Breton Captain," [1992, but apparently written ca1930]):


Oh Whiskey is the life of man,
Whiskey Johnny
I thought I heard the old man say
Whiskey for my Johnny

For we are bound away this very day
Whiskey Johnny
A dollar a day is a white man's pay
Whiskey for my Johnny

Oh stretch her belt and show her clew
Whiskey Johnny
For we are the boys to put her through
Whiskey for my Johnny

The whiskey is gone what shall I do
Whiskey Johnny
Oh whiskey's gone and I'll go too
Whiskey for my Johnny


(Half made up of floating verses.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 07:12 PM

Oakland Tribune (Sept. 26, 1909):

There is whiskey in the cabin,
And we can't get it out,
Whiskey, Joh9nnie!
There is whiskey in the cabin -
And we can't get it out,
Whiskey for my Johnnie!

For the old man says it gives you gout -
Whiskey, Johnnie!
For the old man says it gives you gout
Whiskey for my Johnnie!

The Sun (Vancouver) (Nov. 13, 1913):

"It awakens old memories and recalls a voyage taken on the Cunarder, Java (the 'jumping Java'), forty years ago. The favorite chantey aboard ship was the following one:

Whiskey is the life of man,
Whiskey hey, whiskey ho,
Whiskey is the life of man,
Whiskey for my Johnnie oh.
    Whiskey hey, whiskey ho,
    Whiskey for my Johnnie oh.

Whiskey is my friend and foe,
Whiskey hey, whiskey ho,
He knocked me down without a blow,
Whiskey for my Johnnie oh.
    Whiskey hey, whiskey ho,
    Whiskey for my Johnnie oh."


The Daily Province (Vancouver, B.C.) (Apr. 12, 1920):

Yes, whiskey made me sell my coat,
Oh, whiskey, my Johnnie!
Oh, whiskey's what keeps me afloat,
Oh, whiskey for my Johnnie!

Now, whiskey is a sailor's drink,
Oh, whiskey, my Johnnie!
We'll sell our payday for a drink,
Oh, whiskey for my Johnnie!


The Morning Press (Santa Barbara, Calif.) (Dec. 29, 1928):

"When I first went to sea sixty years ago the sailors used to sing --

A dollar a day is a sailor-man's pay!
O whiskey for my Johnnie!
I thought I heard the old man say,
More whiskey for my Johnnie!

Whiskey killed my sister Sue,
And whiskey killed the old man too!
More whiskey for my Johnnie!

When whiskey's gone, what will we do?
When whiskey's gone, then I go too!
More whiskey for my Johnnie!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: cnd
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 08:15 PM

As sung by Oscar Brand and Erik Darling on American Drinking Songs (Riverside Records RLP 12-630, 1965). Liner Notes:
Concerted effort once called for concerted singing aboard America’s proud clipper ships. Shorthaul shanties were chorused by the sailors while the shantymen sang out the verses. These last always included special references to the favorite topics of men abstinent perforce: wild escapades, whiskey, and wild, wild women.

My transcription:

WHISKEY JOHNNY

Now whiskey is the life of man
Whiskey Johnny
I'll drink whiskey when I can
Whiskey for my Johnny

Whiskey made me pawn my clothes
Whiskey Johnny
Whiskey give me a broken nose
Whiskey for my Johnny

Whiskey killed my poor old dad
Whiskey Johnny
Whiskey drove my mother mad
Whiskey for my Johnny

I got a girl, her name is 'Lize
Whiskey Johnny
She puts whiskey in her pies
Whiskey for my Johnny

I thought I heard the captain say
Whiskey Johnny
I'll treat the crew in a better way
Whiskey for my Johnny

A glass of grog for every man
Whiskey Johnny
And a bottle for the shantyman
Whiskey for my Johnny

It's whiskey stole my brains away'n
Whiskey Johnny
The boatswain pipes and I'll be layin' (possibly, belay 'n)
Whiskey for my Johnny

Now whiskey weak and whiskey strong
Whiskey Johnny
Give me whiskey, I'll sing a song
Whiskey for my Johnny


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 10:58 PM

Between “Yankee Ned” Clark, Capt. R.C. Adams &c &c &c, methinks it's been done as everything from a brake windlass chanty to a Christmas carol.

“...The men seemed of my opinion, for they went forward singing merrily one of those peculiar ditties that sailors always affect, and which you hear nowhere but in the forecastle, or else from the chanty-man when all hands are employed together doing heavy work.

The song in question ran, as nearly as I remember, as follows:

“Whiskey is the life of man––
                Whiskey, Johnnie,
Whiskey is the life of man,
So whiskey for my Johnnie, O!
Whiskey makes me work like fun––
                Whiskey, Johnnie,
Work from rise till set of sun,
With whiskey for my Johnnie, O!”

I wont give you any further infliction of this peculiar song, for, like the “Higgins story,” it takes a month of Sundays to get over the introduction; but I will add that if any reader wants to learn the air of this marine sonata, all he has got to do is to hum “Soapsuds over the Fence,” and then he can warble it to his satisfaction.
[Colonel Brevet, The Last of David Whippey, Ballou's Monthly Magazine, vol.40, no.2, August, 1874]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 11:02 PM

“No matter how long and arduous the men have worked, or how cold and exhausted they have become, they are all jolly now, and, holding on to their prize, they while the minutes away, until the vessel arrives, by singing some of their favourite songs, such as:––

“Whiskey is the life of man,
        Whiskey––Johnny––
We'll drink whiskey while we can,
        Whiskey for my Johnny.
Whiskey knocked my old dad down,
        Whiskey––Johnny––
Whiskey cost me many a crown,
        Whiskey for my Johnny.”
[Our North Land: Being a Full Account of the Canadian Northwest and Hudson's Bay Route, Together with a Narrative of the Experiences of the Hudson's Bay Expedition of 1884, Tuttle, 1885]

Note: In the “Northern Whales and Whaling chapter. Also:
Johnny come down in a high low.
Blow the man down.

More Tuttle here: Origin: Johnny Come Down to Hilo


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 11:05 PM

Bits of Brand and Darling:

“A favorite and familiar pulling song is Whiskey for my Johnny:––
        Whiskey is the life of man,
                Whiskey-Johnny!
        We'll drink our whiskey while we can,
                Whiskey for my Johnny!

        I drink whiskey, and my wife driks gin,
                                        Chorus.
        The way she drinks it is a sin,
                                        Chorus.
        I and my wife cannot agree,
                                        Chorus.
        For she drinks whiskey in her tea,
                                        Chorus.
        I had a girl; her name was Lize,
                                        Chorus.
        And she put whiskey in her pies,
                                        Chorus.
        Whiskey's gone, and I'll go too,
                                        Chorus.
        For without whiskey I can't do, etc.”
[Williams, Alfred M., American Sea Songs, The Atlantic Monthly, vol.69, no.414, April, 1892]

Note: And too many others to list.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: RTim
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 11:09 PM

Whisky For My Johnnie - Collected from James G. Bounds by George Gardiner
(GG/1/14/880) – Tune & Text –14 Aug 1907 Portsmouth Workhouse, Hampshire UK


Oh. Whisky is the life of Man,
Whisky, Johnnie
Whisky is the life of man,
Whisky for my Johnnie.

Oh, Whisky in an old tin can

Whisky stands behind the bar, etc

Whisky made my old girl drunk

Whisky killed my old dadda

Whisky made me pawn my clothes

Whisky got me a broken nose

Whisky made me go to sea

But I drink whisky when I can.

----------------------
Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 12:51 PM

Carter, I think Brand sings "away" and "belay." Bosun's pipes were commonly used only on naval vessels, so I think Brand naively inserted piping for calling, which was the general practice on merchant ships.

                              *

“Taffy Jack,” “Shipmate Will Brown,” in The Riverside Magazine for Young People (Sept., 1870) [referring to 1859]:

“Forty-eight hours after that we were off Sandy Hook with our jib-boom pointing toward the open sea, and all hands on the main topsail halliards, pulling away to the roaring chanty, —

“‘We all of us feel very sad,
        Whiskey, O Johnnie :
To leave our true loves is too bad,
        Whiskey for my Johnnie.’”
                     
                              *

Rutherglen Reformer and Cambuslang Journal (Feb. 24, 1882):

“The following ‘shantie’... is usually sung when setting sail....

Whisky is the life of man! – Whiskey, O! Johnny, O!
Whisky is the life of man! – Whiskey for my Johnny!

[Similarly:]

I’ll drink whisky while I can!...

Whisky killed my old mama!...

Whisky killed my old da-da!...

Whisky gave me a broken nose!...

Whisky made me ‘pop’ my clothes!..."

(To pop = to pawn.)

                            *

New York Daily Tribune (September 9, 1900):


Whiskey is the life of man,
   Whiskey, Johnny;
Whiskey is the life of man,
   Whiskey for me, Johnny!

Whiskey made me go to sea,        
   Whiskey, Johnny;
Whiskey made me go to sea,        
   Whiskey for me, Johnny!

“If the singer be of the common order, he would here tell what he would do were the ocean made of whiskey; how, if he had a ‘whiskey shop,’ he would hang it on a halyard block and haul the men up to it, and more of the same kind till the mate cries ‘Belay!’..."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: cnd
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 01:39 PM

I imagine the actions of the sailor, were the ocean made of whiskey, would be fairly similar to Charlie Poole's in Hesitation Blues -- he'd dive to the bottom and never come up.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 02:31 PM

John Masefield, "A Sailor's Garland" (1906):



O whiskey is the life of man,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
O whiskey is the life of man,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

I drink it out of an old tin can,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
I drink it out of an old tin can,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

I drink whiskey when I can,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
I drink whiskey when I can,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

I drink it hot, I drink it cold,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
I drink it hot, I drink it cold,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

I drink it new, I drink it old,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
I drink it new, I drink it old,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

Whiskey killed my poor old dad,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
Whiskey killed my poor old dad,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

Whiskey makes me pawn my clothes,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
Whiskey makes me pawn my clothes,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

Whiskey makes me scratch my toes (gout?),   [sic
    Whiskey! Johnny!
Whiskey makes me scratch my toes,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

O fisherman, have you just come from sea?
    Whiskey! Johnny!
O fisherman, have you just come from sea?
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

O yes, sir, I have just come from sea,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
O yes, sir, I have just come from sea,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

Then have you any crab-fish that you can sell to me?
    Whiskey! Johnny!
Then have you any crab-fish that you can sell to me?
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

O yes, sir, I have crab-fish one, two, three,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
O yes, sir, I have crab-fish one, two, three,
    Whiskey for my Johnny!

[Perhaps I should add "etc." Masefield goes no further.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 03:30 PM

Carter, when Capt. Leighton Robinson (1871-1956) sang "Whiskey, Johnny" for Sidney Robertson Cowell in California in 1939, it went like this:

Oh, whisky here and whiskey there,
   Whisky, Johnny!
Oh, whisky here and whisky there,
   Whisky for me Johnny!

[similarly:]

Oh, I'll drink whisky when I can,
Oh, I'll drink whisky while I can.
                                       
Oh, whisky gave me a broken nose....
And whisky made me pawn my clothes....

Oh, if whisky were a river and I were a duck....
I'd swim around till I got blind drunk....

Oh, whisky landed me in jail....
Oh, whisky in an old tin pail....

(Robinson was at sea from 1885 to 1905.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 05:25 PM

James H. Williams (1864-1927) went to sea in 1876. From "The Independent," July 8, 1909:

Oh whisky is the life of man!
Whisky! Johnny!
It always was since time began;
Oh, whisky for the [sic] Johnny!

[similarly, incl."the":]

Oh, whisky straight and whisky strong;...
Give me some whisky and I'll sing you a song;...

Oh, whisky made me wear old clo's,...
Oh, whisky gave me a broken nose,....

If whisky comes too near my nose;...
I tip her up and down she goes!...

I think I heard our Old Man say,...
"I'll treat my men in a decent way."

"I'll treat my men in a decent way!"...
"I'll grog them all three times a day!"...

Here comes the cook, with the whisky can!...
And a glass o' grog for every man;...

A glass of [sic] grog for every man!...
And a bottle full for the chantie man;...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 10:58 PM

Between “Yankee Ned” Clark, Capt. R.C. Adams &c &c &c, methinks it's been done as everything from a brake windlass chanty to a Christmas carol.

“...The men seemed of my opinion, for they went forward singing merrily one of those peculiar ditties that sailors always affect, and which you hear nowhere but in the forecastle, or else from the chanty-man when all hands are employed together doing heavy work.

The song in question ran, as nearly as I remember, as follows:

“Whiskey is the life of man––
                Whiskey, Johnnie,
Whiskey is the life of man,
So whiskey for my Johnnie, O!
Whiskey makes me work like fun––
                Whiskey, Johnnie,
Work from rise till set of sun,
With whiskey for my Johnnie, O!”

I wont give you any further infliction of this peculiar song, for, like the “Higgins story,” it takes a month of Sundays to get over the introduction; but I will add that if any reader wants to learn the air of this marine sonata, all he has got to do is to hum “Soapsuds over the Fence,” and then he can warble it to his satisfaction.
[Colonel Brevet, The Last of David Whippey, Ballou's Monthly Magazine, vol.40, no.2, August, 1874]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 11:02 PM

“No matter how long and arduous the men have worked, or how cold and exhausted they have become, they are all jolly now, and, holding on to their prize, they while the minutes away, until the vessel arrives, by singing some of their favourite songs, such as:––

“Whiskey is the life of man,
        Whiskey––Johnny––
We'll drink whiskey while we can,
        Whiskey for my Johnny.
Whiskey knocked my old dad down,
        Whiskey––Johnny––
Whiskey cost me many a crown,
        Whiskey for my Johnny.”
[Our North Land: Being a Full Account of the Canadian Northwest and Hudson's Bay Route, Together with a Narrative of the Experiences of the Hudson's Bay Expedition of 1884, Tuttle, 1885]

Note: In the “Northern Whales and Whaling chapter. Also:
Johnny come down in a high low.
Blow the man down.

More Tuttle here: Origin: Johnny Come Down to Hilo


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 11:05 PM

Bits of Brand and Darling:

“A favorite and familiar pulling song is Whiskey for my Johnny:––
        Whiskey is the life of man,
                Whiskey-Johnny!
        We'll drink our whiskey while we can,
                Whiskey for my Johnny!

        I drink whiskey, and my wife driks gin,
                                        Chorus.
        The way she drinks it is a sin,
                                        Chorus.
        I and my wife cannot agree,
                                        Chorus.
        For she drinks whiskey in her tea,
                                        Chorus.
        I had a girl; her name was Lize,
                                        Chorus.
        And she put whiskey in her pies,
                                        Chorus.
        Whiskey's gone, and I'll go too,
                                        Chorus.
        For without whiskey I can't do, etc.”
[Williams, Alfred M., American Sea Songs, The Atlantic Monthly, vol.69, no.414, April, 1892]

Note: And too many others to list.


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Subject: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 03:07 PM

One of the best known halliard chanteys. One version is in DT

Heard by Capt. David A McLeod (1857-1940) in the 1870s ("Cape Breton Captain," [1992, but apparently written ca1930]):


Oh Whiskey is the life of man,
Whiskey Johnny
I thought I heard the old man say
Whiskey for my Johnny

For we are bound away this very day
Whiskey Johnny
A dollar a day is a white man's pay
Whiskey for my Johnny

Oh stretch her belt and show her clew
Whiskey Johnny
For we are the boys to put her through
Whiskey for my Johnny

The whiskey is gone what shall I do
Whiskey Johnny
Oh whiskey's gone and I'll go too
Whiskey for my Johnny


(Half made up of floating verses.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 07:12 PM

Oakland Tribune (Sept. 26, 1909):

There is whiskey in the cabin,
And we can't get it out,
Whiskey, Joh9nnie!
There is whiskey in the cabin -
And we can't get it out,
Whiskey for my Johnnie!

For the old man says it gives you gout -
Whiskey, Johnnie!
For the old man says it gives you gout
Whiskey for my Johnnie!

The Sun (Vancouver) (Nov. 13, 1913):

"It awakens old memories and recalls a voyage taken on the Cunarder, Java (the 'jumping Java'), forty years ago. The favorite chantey aboard ship was the following one:

Whiskey is the life of man,
Whiskey hey, whiskey ho,
Whiskey is the life of man,
Whiskey for my Johnnie oh.
    Whiskey hey, whiskey ho,
    Whiskey for my Johnnie oh.

Whiskey is my friend and foe,
Whiskey hey, whiskey ho,
He knocked me down without a blow,
Whiskey for my Johnnie oh.
    Whiskey hey, whiskey ho,
    Whiskey for my Johnnie oh."


The Daily Province (Vancouver, B.C.) (Apr. 12, 1920):

Yes, whiskey made me sell my coat,
Oh, whiskey, my Johnnie!
Oh, whiskey's what keeps me afloat,
Oh, whiskey for my Johnnie!

Now, whiskey is a sailor's drink,
Oh, whiskey, my Johnnie!
We'll sell our payday for a drink,
Oh, whiskey for my Johnnie!


The Morning Press (Santa Barbara, Calif.) (Dec. 29, 1928):

"When I first went to sea sixty years ago the sailors used to sing --

A dollar a day is a sailor-man's pay!
O whiskey for my Johnnie!
I thought I heard the old man say,
More whiskey for my Johnnie!

Whiskey killed my sister Sue,
And whiskey killed the old man too!
More whiskey for my Johnnie!

When whiskey's gone, what will we do?
When whiskey's gone, then I go too!
More whiskey for my Johnnie!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 12:51 PM

Carter, I think Brand sings "away" and "belay." Bosun's pipes were commonly used only on naval vessels, so I think Brand naively inserted piping for calling, which was the general practice on merchant ships.

                              *

“Taffy Jack,” “Shipmate Will Brown,” in The Riverside Magazine for Young People (Sept., 1870) [referring to 1859]:

“Forty-eight hours after that we were off Sandy Hook with our jib-boom pointing toward the open sea, and all hands on the main topsail halliards, pulling away to the roaring chanty, —

“‘We all of us feel very sad,
        Whiskey, O Johnnie :
To leave our true loves is too bad,
        Whiskey for my Johnnie.’”
                     
                              *

Rutherglen Reformer and Cambuslang Journal (Feb. 24, 1882):

“The following ‘shantie’... is usually sung when setting sail....

Whisky is the life of man! – Whiskey, O! Johnny, O!
Whisky is the life of man! – Whiskey for my Johnny!

[Similarly:]

I’ll drink whisky while I can!...

Whisky killed my old mama!...

Whisky killed my old da-da!...

Whisky gave me a broken nose!...

Whisky made me ‘pop’ my clothes!..."

(To pop = to pawn.)

                            *

New York Daily Tribune (September 9, 1900):


Whiskey is the life of man,
   Whiskey, Johnny;
Whiskey is the life of man,
   Whiskey for me, Johnny!

Whiskey made me go to sea,        
   Whiskey, Johnny;
Whiskey made me go to sea,        
   Whiskey for me, Johnny!

“If the singer be of the common order, he would here tell what he would do were the ocean made of whiskey; how, if he had a ‘whiskey shop,’ he would hang it on a halyard block and haul the men up to it, and more of the same kind till the mate cries ‘Belay!’..."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 02:31 PM

John Masefield, "A Sailor's Garland" (1906):



O whiskey is the life of man,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
O whiskey is the life of man,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

I drink it out of an old tin can,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
I drink it out of an old tin can,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

I drink whiskey when I can,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
I drink whiskey when I can,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

I drink it hot, I drink it cold,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
I drink it hot, I drink it cold,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

I drink it new, I drink it old,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
I drink it new, I drink it old,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

Whiskey killed my poor old dad,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
Whiskey killed my poor old dad,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

Whiskey makes me pawn my clothes,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
Whiskey makes me pawn my clothes,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

Whiskey makes me scratch my toes (gout?),   [sic
    Whiskey! Johnny!
Whiskey makes me scratch my toes,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

O fisherman, have you just come from sea?
    Whiskey! Johnny!
O fisherman, have you just come from sea?
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

O yes, sir, I have just come from sea,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
O yes, sir, I have just come from sea,
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

Then have you any crab-fish that you can sell to me?
    Whiskey! Johnny!
Then have you any crab-fish that you can sell to me?
    Whiskey for my Johnny.

O yes, sir, I have crab-fish one, two, three,
    Whiskey! Johnny!
O yes, sir, I have crab-fish one, two, three,
    Whiskey for my Johnny!

[Perhaps I should add "etc." Masefield goes no further.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 03:30 PM

Carter, when Capt. Leighton Robinson (1871-1956) sang "Whiskey, Johnny" for Sidney Robertson Cowell in California in 1939, it went like this:

Oh, whisky here and whiskey there,
   Whisky, Johnny!
Oh, whisky here and whisky there,
   Whisky for me Johnny!

[similarly:]

Oh, I'll drink whisky when I can,
Oh, I'll drink whisky while I can.
                                       
Oh, whisky gave me a broken nose....
And whisky made me pawn my clothes....

Oh, if whisky were a river and I were a duck....
I'd swim around till I got blind drunk....

Oh, whisky landed me in jail....
Oh, whisky in an old tin pail....

(Robinson was at sea from 1885 to 1905.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: Lighter
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 05:25 PM

James H. Williams (1864-1927) went to sea in 1876. From "The Independent," July 8, 1909:

Oh whisky is the life of man!
Whisky! Johnny!
It always was since time began;
Oh, whisky for the [sic] Johnny!

[similarly, incl."the":]

Oh, whisky straight and whisky strong;...
Give me some whisky and I'll sing you a song;...

Oh, whisky made me wear old clo's,...
Oh, whisky gave me a broken nose,....

If whisky comes too near my nose;...
I tip her up and down she goes!...

I think I heard our Old Man say,...
"I'll treat my men in a decent way."

"I'll treat my men in a decent way!"...
"I'll grog them all three times a day!"...

Here comes the cook, with the whisky can!...
And a glass o' grog for every man;...

A glass of [sic] grog for every man!...
And a bottle full for the chantie man;...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: RTim
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 11:09 PM

Whisky For My Johnnie - Collected from James G. Bounds by George Gardiner
(GG/1/14/880) – Tune & Text –14 Aug 1907 Portsmouth Workhouse, Hampshire UK


Oh. Whisky is the life of Man,
Whisky, Johnnie
Whisky is the life of man,
Whisky for my Johnnie.

Oh, Whisky in an old tin can

Whisky stands behind the bar, etc

Whisky made my old girl drunk

Whisky killed my old dadda

Whisky made me pawn my clothes

Whisky got me a broken nose

Whisky made me go to sea

But I drink whisky when I can.

----------------------
Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: cnd
Date: 21 Sep 23 - 08:15 PM

As sung by Oscar Brand and Erik Darling on American Drinking Songs (Riverside Records RLP 12-630, 1965). Liner Notes:
Concerted effort once called for concerted singing aboard America’s proud clipper ships. Shorthaul shanties were chorused by the sailors while the shantymen sang out the verses. These last always included special references to the favorite topics of men abstinent perforce: wild escapades, whiskey, and wild, wild women.

My transcription:

WHISKEY JOHNNY

Now whiskey is the life of man
Whiskey Johnny
I'll drink whiskey when I can
Whiskey for my Johnny

Whiskey made me pawn my clothes
Whiskey Johnny
Whiskey give me a broken nose
Whiskey for my Johnny

Whiskey killed my poor old dad
Whiskey Johnny
Whiskey drove my mother mad
Whiskey for my Johnny

I got a girl, her name is 'Lize
Whiskey Johnny
She puts whiskey in her pies
Whiskey for my Johnny

I thought I heard the captain say
Whiskey Johnny
I'll treat the crew in a better way
Whiskey for my Johnny

A glass of grog for every man
Whiskey Johnny
And a bottle for the shantyman
Whiskey for my Johnny

It's whiskey stole my brains away'n
Whiskey Johnny
The boatswain pipes and I'll be layin' (possibly, belay 'n)
Whiskey for my Johnny

Now whiskey weak and whiskey strong
Whiskey Johnny
Give me whiskey, I'll sing a song
Whiskey for my Johnny


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Whiskey, Johnny
From: cnd
Date: 22 Sep 23 - 01:39 PM

I imagine the actions of the sailor, were the ocean made of whiskey, would be fairly similar to Charlie Poole's in Hesitation Blues -- he'd dive to the bottom and never come up.


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