Lyrics & Knowledge Personal Pages Record Shop Auction Links Radio & Media Kids Membership Help
The Mudcat Cafemuddy

Post to this Thread - Sort Descending - Printer Friendly - Home


Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker

DigiTrad:
JOHNNY BOOKER
JOHNNY BUCCA


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Dig a hole to put the devil in (16)
Lyr Req: Old John Pigger (7)
Old Johnny Pucker/Booker/Bugger/Bucker/Bucca (24)
Lyr Req: Old Johnny Booger (8)
Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bugger (3) (closed)
Help: Johnny Booker assistance requested (5)


In Mudcat MIDIs:
Johnny Booker (from the Old-Time String Band Songbook)
Mister Booger (Johnny Booker) (from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs)
Mister Booger (Johnny Booker) (from Randolph, Ozark Folksongs)


GUEST,WindsweptWillie 21 Feb 04 - 07:51 AM
Dave Sutherland 21 Feb 04 - 08:28 AM
Tam the Bam (Nutter) 21 Feb 04 - 08:37 AM
GUEST,WindsweptWillie 21 Feb 04 - 10:22 AM
Flash Company 21 Feb 04 - 10:44 AM
Malcolm Douglas 21 Feb 04 - 11:29 AM
breezy 21 Feb 04 - 11:41 AM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 04 - 03:50 PM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 04 - 05:54 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Feb 04 - 05:55 PM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 04 - 06:02 PM
GUEST,Dodgyfolk 21 Feb 04 - 06:11 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Feb 04 - 06:29 PM
Joe Offer 21 Feb 04 - 06:39 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 21 Feb 04 - 07:16 PM
Joe Offer 27 Feb 04 - 02:16 AM
Mrs.Duck 27 Feb 04 - 01:50 PM
GUEST,ClaireBear 27 Feb 04 - 02:18 PM
Lighter 18 Oct 04 - 12:27 AM
GUEST,Benita Sutton 16 Dec 05 - 01:12 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 06 Aug 07 - 09:04 PM
Azizi 06 Aug 07 - 09:45 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Aug 07 - 01:42 AM
Azizi 07 Aug 07 - 07:42 AM
GUEST,Bob Coltman 07 Aug 07 - 07:54 AM
GUEST 07 Aug 07 - 10:54 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 07 Aug 07 - 11:13 AM
MMario 07 Aug 07 - 11:32 AM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Aug 07 - 12:03 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 07 Aug 07 - 12:13 PM
GUEST,flashfolly 17 Oct 10 - 02:57 AM
Steve Gardham 17 Oct 10 - 03:23 PM
Share Thread
more
Lyrics & Knowledge Search [Advanced]
DT  Forum
Sort (Forum) by:relevance date
DT Lyrics:









Subject: Lyr Req: Old Johhny Bucker
From: GUEST,WindsweptWillie
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 07:51 AM

Heard a song a few weeks ago that i hadn't heard in a while called old Johhny Bucker, Chourus goes

I do believe, Oh I do believe
That old Bucker was a gay little *ucker
and a gay little Bucker was he.

Cant find the words anywhere so after using this site for nearly a year now i finally have an excuse to post a thread!!!!!

Any help catters??


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johhny Bucker
From: Dave Sutherland
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 08:28 AM

It is in the forum under "Old Johnny Booker". It started life as a minstrel song called "Old Johnny Bigger" with the politically incorrect chorus "Old Johnny Bigger was a gay old nigger". It later changed to Booker and was a favourite among soldiers in both the first and second world wars. Jack Elliott of Birtley was perhaps best known for purveying the song to the folk scene, Both he and Bob Davenport have recorded the song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johhny Bucker
From: Tam the Bam (Nutter)
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 08:37 AM

And also the spinners did it as well


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johhny Bucker
From: GUEST,WindsweptWillie
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 10:22 AM

Ta! have it now. you were right it was the spinners i heard doing it back in their heyday! god i haven't taken out any of their recordings in a while. must go rummaging for a blast from the past.......


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD Version: Old Johhny Bucker
From: Flash Company
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 10:44 AM

I alwys understood that this was a Yorkshire song. Here goes anyway

Old Johnny Bucker he lived by himself
Aslong as he had perfect health,
Then he took himsif a wife
To look after him for the rest of his life

Ch, And it's I do believe, I will believe,
    Old Johnny Bucker was a rare old bugger
    And a rare old bugger was he.

Old Mrs Bucker she had a bad leg
And the doctor ordered her to bed
He told Johnny when he came in
That he'd have to rub his wife's bad leg with gin!

Ch...

Old Johnny Bucker he thought it was a sin
To rub his wifes bad leg with gin
He took the gin and poured it down his throttle
And he rubbed her bad leg with the bottle!

Ch...

Old Johnny Bucker went walking one day
Down by the river he chanced to stray
He fell in and he began to shout
But there was no bugger there for to pull the bugger out

Ch....

Can't where i first heard it but a guy named Frank O'Reilly used to sing it


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johhny Bucker
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 11:29 AM

Substantially the same lyric, with some additional verses, is in the DT: JOHNNY BUCCA. Whoever posted it, though, chose an unusual spelling for the title, and jumped from that to the bizarre assumption that "This song may have come from the old days when the 'bucca' were the little folk 'piskies'as we now call them"... (!)

Spelled like that, it's hardly surprising that people have trouble finding it; though you should never rely on a search of the DT alone, as there is far more material in the Forum now. Neither can a search by title be relied upon, for obvious reasons. Searching for old johnny, on the other hand, would find you quite a lot of relevant stuff.

I have an idea that it was Mike Harding who started calling the song Old Johnny Bugger, and of course it caught on. There is a set in Harding's Folk Songs of Lancashire, but he doesn't say where he got it. This may have been dealt with in one or more of the earlier discussions. I expect that a list of links will appear at the top of this page before long.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johhny Bucker
From: breezy
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 11:41 AM

Mervyn Vincent from St Issey

So how did he come by it?

Sing yer buggers


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Johnny Booker
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 03:50 PM

The Traditional Ballad Index has this entry:

Johnny Booker (Mister Booger)

DESCRIPTION: About the troubles experienced by a teamster/sailor along the way: A broken yoke, a stalled cart, etc. Chorus something like "Do, Johnny Booker, oh do, do me do, Do, Johnny Booker, oh do" or "So walk a Johnny Booger to help that nigger...."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1926
KEYWORDS: work travel
FOUND IN: US(So)
REFERENCES (4 citations):
Randolph 268, "Mister Booger" (1 text plus a fragment, 2 tunes)
Lomax-FSNA 258, "Knock John Booker" (1 text, 1 tune)
Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 194, "Johnny Booker" (1 text, 1 tune)
DT, JNBOOKER

Roud #3441
RECORDINGS:
Cousin Emmy [Cynthia May Carver], "Johnny Booker" (Decca 24214, 1947; on CrowTold01)
New Lost City Ramblers, "Old Johnny Booker Won't Do" (on NLCR17, NLCRCD2)
Walter Smith, "Old Johnny Bucker Wouldn't Do" (Gennett 6825/Supertone 9407 [as Jerry Jordan], 1929)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Poor Old Man (Poor Old Horse; The Dead Horse)" (lyrics)
cf. "Went to the River (I)" (floating lyrics)
Notes: "Johnny Booker" includes key verses from "Poor Old Man": "Said an old man come riding by/Said, young man, your mule's gonna die/If he dies I'll tan his skin/If he lives I'll ride him again." This probably entered minstrel tradition via African-American sailors -- or entered the shanty tradition from minstrel shows. - PJS
File: R268

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

The Ballad Index Copyright 2003 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


There are also two entries at folktrax.org, although I have to admit I have trouble deciphering the folktrax information:
    JOHNNY BOKER (BOWKER or BOOKER) - "Do, my JB, come rock and roll me over" - Shanty - ROUD#353 - DAVIS-TOZER 1887 #33 - SMITH MOW 1888 p14 - WHALL 1910 p115 - BULLEN-ARNOLD 1914 38 p30 (1 v only) - SHARP 1914 #40 p45 from John Short, Watchet, Somerset for "Bunting sail" - GRAINGER Ms #87 Tom Roberts, Chelsea, London 1908 - JFSS 20 1916 p313 coll Piggott from John Oerring, Dartmouth "Johnny Poker or Polker" - SHAY 1925 p97 (words only) - TERRY - HUGILL SSS 1961 p289 - GREENLEAF NFL 1933 p339 "Jolly Poker" - ED&S 42:2 1980 p4 Capt John Robinson from "The Bellman" 14 Jul- 4 Aug 1917- see OLD JOHNNY BIGGER -- (a) Alex BLUE, Greenock (b) George SIMPSON, Dundee rec by James M Carpenter, c1928: 141 (4 other rec by Carpenter) - Stanley SLADE rec by PK, Bristol 1950: RPL 17604/ 207 (2v only) -USA - Capt Leighton ROBINSON rec by Sam Eskin, Mill Valley, California, 1951; American Library of Congress AAFS-L26 - Caribbean -- Walter ROBERTS (chantyman) with 4 crew rec by AL, Newcastle, Nevis July 1962: ROUNDER 1731 2002 "Do, my Jolly Boy"

    OLD JOHNNY BOOKER - ".. was a helpless old nigger" - Minstrel Song - ROUD#1329 - Broadsides "Old Johnny Boker"- WILLIAMS FSUT 1923 p304 1v (w/o) "Johnny Bowker" - O SHAUGHNESSEY LLL pp8-9 Bryan Dawson: Harry Blackburn, Washingborough, Lincolnsh 1973 "Johnny Poker" - see also JOHNNY OCHRE -- Ted LAMBOURNE rec by Seamus Ennis, North Marston, Buckinghamsh 25/6/52: RPL 18139 - Bob & Mrs HEWETT rec by Bob Copper, Mapledurwell, Hampsh 1955: 426 - Ruth SHERGOLD rec by PK, Bampton, Oxon 26/11/61 - MUCKRAM WAKES (with piano, trombone etc): LEADER LER-2093 1976 "Old Joe Biggin" (Bugger) coll by Frank Sutton - Jack ELLIOTT: TOPIC TSCD-664 1998 "O J Booger" --- Tom PALEY (+ fid & gtr): ARGO ZFB-3 1969 "Johnny Booker" from Cousin Emmy & Jerry Jordan


Note this thread (click) about the Johnson Boys/Johnson Gals and the possible connection with Johnny Biooker. Richie's post in that thread is worth repeating:

Thread #52945   Message #813044
Posted By: GUEST,Richie
28-Oct-02 - 08:21 AM
Thread Name: Origins: Johnson Boys/Johnson Gals
Subject: Lyr Add: JOHNNY BOOKER

I was wondering about the Mister Booger (Randolph) Johnny Booker connection to Johnson Boys. Here are two sets of lyrics (the Cousin Emmy set is in the DT):

JOHNNY BOOKER: Cousin Emmy

I saw an old man come walkin' by
I said, "Old man, your hog's gonna die"
Says," If he dies, I'll eat the meat
And give Johnny Booker the head and the feet."

chorus: Do, Johnny Booker, oh do, do me do
       Do, Johnny Booker, oh do.

Old Johnny Booker is a fine old man
Washed his face in an old tin can
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel,
Died with a toothache in his heel.^^^

Johnny Booker: From Max Hunter Collection

VERSE 1: I drove down to Lickburg town
I broke my yoke to th collar of th ground
Drove from there to ole Ike's shop
I hallered at my driver an' told 'em t' stop
Do, Johnny Booker won't you help this nigger
Do, Johnny Booker, do.

There's a connection with Old Dan Tucker but any connection to Johnson Boys here? Does anyone have lyrics for Mister Booger?
Anyone have "Kentucky Boys" by Joe Hicks?
-Richie


Also note the connection with Long John/Lost John, again in a post from Richie:
    Thread #54642   Message #847172
    Posted By: Richie
    14-Dec-02 - 01:20 AM
    Thread Name: Lyr. and Origin: Long John/Lost John
    Subject: RE: Lyr. and Origin: Long John/Lost John

    Stewie,

    Thanks for the detailed info. The Johnny Booker connection is fascinating here's two excepts of Johnny Booker lyrics, the first the original minstrel lyrics and teh second Jerry Jordan's version that was used by the New Lost City Ramblers and is similar to the way I play Johnny Booker.

    Here's an example of the lyrics by J.W. Sweeny from 1840:

    As I went up to Lynchburg town,
    I broke my yoke on de coaling ground;
    I drove from dare to bowling spring,
    And I tried for to mend my yoke and ring.

    Chorus: O Jonny Boker, help dat nigger do,
    Jonny Boker, do.

    Here are the lyrics to Old Johnny Buker from Jerry Jordan:

    (Instrumental)

    There was a *young man and he went to school
    And he made his living by drivin' a mule,

    And a what, Johnny Booker, won't you do, do, do,
    And a what, Johnny Booker won't you do?

    I drove him up to the foot of the hill
    And I holler at the mule and the mule stopped still.

    And a-what, Johnny Booker, won't you do, do, do,
    And a-what, Johnny Booker won't you do?

    Without creating a thread drift, I'd like to help but I don't have the recording of De Ford Bailey. I'd wager that it's really just a version of Johnny Booker.

    -Richie


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD Version: Johnny Booker
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 05:54 PM

I listened to versions of this song by Walter Smith, Cousin Emmy, and the New Lost City Ramblers. All three recordings are hard to hear, but I can tell the Cousin Emmy recording sure doesn't match anything we have in the DT. Here are the lyrics I found in the Old-Time String Band Songbook, which seems to be a pretty good compilation of the verses from Smith & NLCR. the Cousy Emmy version is completely different, and it will be a challenge to transcribe.
-Joe Offer-


JOHNNY BOOKER

There was an old man* and he went to school,
And he made his living by driving a mule.

CHORUS
And what Johnny Booker wouldn't do- do-do,
And what Johnny Booker wouldn't do.

I drove him up to the foot of the hill,
And I hollered at the mule and the mule stood still,
(Chorus)

I put my shoulder ag'in' the wheel,
And back in the mud I stuck my heel.
(Chorus)

I put my shoulder against the cart,
And I hollered at the mule and the mule wouldn't start.
(Chorus)

I drove him up to the blacksmith shop,
I hollered at the mule and the mule didn't stop.
(Chorus)

I asked that fireman to mend my yoke,
He hopped to the bellows and blowed up the smoke.
(Chorus)

He fixed my yoke, he mend my ring,
He never charged me nary a thing.
(Chorus)

Said an old man come riding by,
Said, 'Young man, your mule's gonna die."
(Chorus)

If he dies, I'll tan his skin,
If he lives, I'll ride him again,
(Chorus)

I had an old mule, his name was Pete,
He walked on his head to save his feet.
(Chorus)

I had an old mule, his name was Bill,
I worked him on the holler and he died on the hill.
(Chorus)

I rode him to the river and I couldn't get him in,
I knocked him on the head with a buck car limb.
(Chorus)

I went to the river and I couldn't get across,
I hopped on a bull frog, thought he was a horse.
(Chorus)


Notes: From Jerry Jordan, Supertone 9407.
According to Randolph (Vol. II as Mister Booger) this song comes from an ante-bellum Negro reel (Scarborough, On Trail of Negro Folk Songs) Versions are reported from minstrels and medicine show comedians up until 1910, most of them using a tune derived from "Turkey in the Straw." There are also some sea shanteys about Johnny Booker. and Cousin Emmy (Kentucky) recorded a lively banjo version of this song.
Guitar and fiddle.


*Walter Smith says "coon"

Click to play


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: JONNY BOKER OR THE BROKEN YOKE
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 05:55 PM

"Jonny Boker or the Broken Yoke" is the title of the sheet music, at the Levy sheet music coll., as sung by J. W. Sweeney. From Sweeney's Virginia Melodies, ca. 1840 (see post by Richie, above).

The complete lyrics were posted by Dicho 27 Apr. 02 in thread 47009, (Tune required, LYNCHBURG TOWN): Jonny Boker
Masato posted the details.


Thread #47009   Message #699359
Posted By: masato sakurai
26-Apr-02 - 09:29 PM
Thread Name: Tune Req: LYNCHBURG TOWN
Subject: RE: Tune Req: LYNCHBURG TOWN

The version in the Levy Collection Click here and on page number below):

Title: Sweeny's Virginia Melodies. Jonny Boker, or, De Broken Yoke in de Coaling Ground. The Original Banjo Song.
Composer, Lyricist, Arranger: na
Publication: Boston: Henry Prentiss, 33 Court St., 1840.
Form of Composition: strophic with chorus
Instrumentation: piano and voice
First Line: As I went up to Lynchburg town, I broke my yoke on de coaling ground
First Line of Chorus: O Jonny Boker help dat nigger do Jonny Boker do
Performer: As sung with great applause at the Tremont Theatre, By J.W. Sweeny
Engraver, Lithographer, Artist: R. Cooke, del. B.W. Thayer's Lith. Boston

~Masato


Thread #47009   Message #699430
Posted By: Dicho
27-Apr-02 - 12:16 PM
Thread Name: Tune Req: LYNCHBURG TOWN
Subject: RE: Tune Req: LYNCHBURG TOWN

In reverse order- it does seem that this is the same Sweeney, but I haven't looked it up.
Here is the entire song, which doesn't say whether he was hauling coal or charcoal with his steers and cart. It sheds light on the times (1840) and is more of a "story" song than most minstrel pieces.

Lyr. Add: JONNY BOKER OR THE BROKEN YOKE

As I went up to Lynchburg town,
I broke my yoke on de coaling ground;
I drove from dare to bowling spring,
And I tried for to mend my yoke and ring.

Chorus:
O Jonny Boker, help dat nigger do,
Jonny Boker, do.

I drove from dare to Wright's ole shop
Hollered to my driver and told him to stop;
Says I, Mr Wright, have you got a yoke?
He seized his bellows and blew up a smoke
O Jonny Boker, etc.

Says I, Mr Wright, habn't long to stay
He cotched up his hammer, knocked right away;
Soon as he mended my staple and ring
Says I, Mr Wright, do you charge any thing?
O Jonny Boker, etc.

Says he to me I neber charge
Unless de job is werry large;
For little jobs dat is so small
I neber charge any ting at all
O Jonny Boker, etc.
(Save three cents dat time)

I drove from dar to Anthony's mill
And tried to pull up dat are hill
I whipped my steers and pushed my cart
But all I could do, I couldn't make a start
O Jonny Boker, etc.
(Dat ole nigger was fast stalled dat time)

I put my shoulder to the wheel
Upon de ground I placed my heel;
Den we make a mighty strain
But all our efforts prove in vain
O Jonny Boker, etc.

Dare come a waggoner driving by
I sat on de ground and 'gan to cry;
Says me to him some pity take
And help me up for conscience sake
O Jonny Boker, etc.

Says he to me, I will help thee
He tak out his horses No. 3;
I wiped from my eyes the falling tears
He hitched his horses before my steers
O Jonny Boker, etc.,

Den to me he did much please
He pulled me up with so much ease
His horses were so big and strong
De way dey pulled dis nigger along
O Jonny Boker, etc.

@minstrel @work
Details on publication are given by Masato Sakurai, in a post above, with a click to the Levy Collection where the sheet music is shown.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: JOHNNY BOOKER (from Max Hunter)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 06:02 PM

I see that Richie's post didn't include the complete text from Max Hunter (click to see original and to play recording. For the sake of completeness, it should be posted here.

Johnny Booker

Cat. #1065 (MFH #263) - As sung by Raymond Sanders, Mountain View, Arkansas on May 12, 1970



VERSE 1
I drove down to Lickburg town
I broke my yoke to th collar of th ground
Drove from there to ole Ike's shop
I hallered at my driver an' told 'em t' stop
Do, Johnny Booker won't you help this nigger
Do, Johnny Booker, do

VERSE 2
Sighed, Mr. Wright can you mend my yoke
He jumped to th bellow an' e' built up a smoke
Sighed, Mr. Wright, no time t' stay
He piked up a hammer an' he banged right away
Do, Johnny Booker won't you help this nigger
Do, Johnny Booker, do

VERSE 3
Sighed, Mr. Wright, do you charge anything
Fer mendin' my yoke an' ring
No, says he, I never charge
Without th work is very large
Do, Johnny Booker won't you help this nigger
Do, Johnny Booker, do

VERSE 4
I drove from there to Andy's mill
There t' pull that little hill
I whipped my steers an' I rolled my cart
An' all I could do an' couldn't start
Do, Johnny Booker won't you help this nigger
Do, Johnny Booker, do

VERSE 5
I whipped my steers an' there I stayed
Till twelve a'clock, way next day
I said t' th driver, this won't do
I must push an' so must you
Do, Johnny Booker won't you help this nigger
Do, Johnny Booker, do

VERSE 6
I set my shoulder again th wheel
An' in th ground I screwed my heel
Then I give a mighty strain
An' all my efforts was in vain
Do, Johnny Booker won't you help this nigger
Do, Johnny Booker, do

VERSE 7
I set down, begin to cry
Team an' th driver, come drivin' by
Said to th driver, o pity take
Won't you help this nigger for your consense sake
Do, Johnny Booker won't you help this nigger
Do, Johnny Booker, do

VERSE 8
Yes, says he, will help thee
Took out his horses one, two, three
Wiped from my eyes, th fallin' tears
An' he hitched two horses, before my steers
Do, Johnny Booker won't you help this nigger
Do, Johnny Booker, do

OTHER COLLECTIONS:
Randolph: II-268 Mister Booger


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: OLD JOHNNY BUCKER
From: GUEST,Dodgyfolk
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 06:11 PM

Hi.
I also had trouble when trying to find the lyrics for this a couple of years ago. I first heard the song when I went camping (as a kid) with my family in Cornwall way back in the 1980s. One of the attendants on the campsite also did a folk duo thing and it was one of his songs that really stuck in my mind. I eventually tracked down these lyrics through someone I met on a concertina weekend.

OLD JOHNNY BUCKER.

G
Old Johnny Bucker he lived by himself,
G                       D
As long as he had perfect health.
D
Then one day he got himself a wife,
D                               G
To look after him for the rest of his life.
G       D                 G
I do believe, I do believe,
G                                    C
That old Jonnny Bucker was a gay old bucker,
        D                       G
And a gay old bucker was he.

Old Mrs Bucker she had a bad leg,
The doctor ordered her to bed.
Johhny came in, the doctor said to him,
"You'll have to rub your wife's left leg with gin.
I do believe, I do believe……

Old Johnny Bucker he thought it was a sin,
To rub his wife's left leg with gin.
So he poured the gin right down his throttle,
And rubbed his wife's left leg with gin.
I do believe, I do believe……

Old Johnny Bucker went walking one day,
Beside the river he happened for to stray,
He tripped and fell in then gave a shout,
But there was no bugger there to pull the bucker out.
I do believe, I do believe……

Now God made man and man made money,
God made bees and the bees made honey.
God made the devil and the devil made sin,
We'll have to dig a hole to put the bucker in.
I do believe, I do believe……

Old Johnny Bucker he went up to heaven,
He reached there about 10 past 7.
St Peter he met him at the gate,
He said "You'll have to go below because your 10 minutes late.
I do believe, I do believe……

Various sources including Bampton Morris, Ken from Trewan Hall, and Anne from the Kilve weekend.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 06:29 PM

No relationship to the 19th c. songs, "The Boker's Daughter (song about Mary Ann Boker, a rich man's daughter and her lover John Dean) or "A Brief History of the Marriage of John Dean and His Own Mary" (both in American Memory).


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD Version: Johnny Booker
From: Joe Offer
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 06:39 PM

Dodgyfolk or somebody else familiar with the UK versions, could you listen to the American version at Max Hunter (click) and tell us if it's the same tune?

I came across this page in the Bangj-L archive which gives an almost exact transcription of the Cousin Emmy recording. Glad I didn't take the time to transcribe it myself. The source said he got the lyrics from George Sprung's "Notebooks" - but couldn't cite the original source. I'd say it has to be directly from this recording by cousin Emmy.

JOHNNY BOOKER
(as sung by Cousin Emmy)

1
Asked Johnny Booker for a crock of salt,
He gimme half a bushel of his old mean jaw.

CHORUS
Do Johnny Booker oh do, do-me-do,
Do Johnny Booker, oh do. (twice)


2
Said a little man "I'm almost dead,
Hand me down my pone of bread,
Open the gate and I'll be gone,
Give me a stick and I'll trot on.


3
Said a little man came riding by,
Says, "Little man, your pigs'll die."
"If they die I'll eat their meat,
And send John Booker their head and feet."


4
Flour goes over the boilin' cloth
Water pours over the dam,
The old mean man with the red shirt on
Stole your Julie Ann.


5
Raccoon married the monkey's sister
Give her a hug and then he kissed her.
[added-not on recording]
Kissed so hard he raised a blister
Poor little monkey's sister


6
Old Johnny Booker was a mean old man,
Washed his face in a frying pan,
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel,
Died with a toothache in his heel.


Cousin Emmy recording from the Yazoo CD, The Story That the Crow Told Me


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 21 Feb 04 - 07:16 PM

The version in Randolph, Ozark Folksongs, vol. 2, # 268, pp. 344-345, "Mister Booger," adds little to material previously posted. Just the last verse, where Arkansas is mentioned:

It's now I've ended my old song,
I'll start to Arkansas a-rackin' along,
So walk a Johnny Booger to he'p that nigger,
An' do Mister Booger to he'p him along.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: ADD: Mister Booger
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 02:16 AM

I suppose that Q is correct in saying that the version in Randolph's Ozark Folksongs isn't much different from other versions posted above, but I still think it's worthwhile to post the whole thing, especially since Randolph has a tune.
-Joe Offer-

Mister Booger

I hitched my team to drive to Wright's shop
An' there I hollered for the driver to stop,
So walk a Johnny Booger to he'p that nigger,
An' do Mister Booger to he'p him along.

Says I to him, can you mend my yoke?
He stepped to the bellows an' blowed up smoke,
So walk a Johnny Booger to he'p that nigger,
An' do Mister Booger to he'p him along.

An' I drove from there to Anthony's Mill
An' there I stalled a-goin' up hill.
So I placed my shoulder ag'in the wheel,
An' on the ground I placed both heels.

An' there I shoved an' there I strained,
But all my help it proved in vain,
So I set right down an' begun to cry,
Along come a wagoner a-passin' by.

Says I to him caint you-all he'p me?
He unhitched his horses, one-two-three,
An' while I was a-wipin' the fallin' tears
He hitched his horses afore my steers.

It's now I've ended my old song,
I'll start to Arkansas a-rackin' along,
So walk a Johnny Booger to he'p that nigger,
An' do Mister Booger to he'p him along.


Click to play


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Mrs.Duck
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 01:50 PM

Johnny Booker - he lives in Barnsley!


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr Add: JOHNNY BOKER
From: GUEST,ClaireBear
Date: 27 Feb 04 - 02:18 PM

Hmmm...

A partner of mine used to sing the following at chanty sings (can't remember where he got it). Same overall concept; entirely different cultural idiom. Is it close enough to be a variant of the same song?

(Clones: I didn't find this version in the DT or the Forum, but I can't really believe it's not there so I'm not putting a "Lyr Add" in the subject line)


JOHNNY BOKER

Johnny Boker is a good old man.
Do, Johnny Boker, do!
And he plays with the girls whenever he can.
Do, Johnny Boker, do!

Chorus:
Do, Johnny Boker, do, do, do!
Do, Johnny Boker, do!
Do, Johnny Boker, do, do, do
Do, Johnny Boker, do!

He went down to the dock to find him a ship.
Do, Johnny Boker, do!
And he found an old log tied up to a slip.
Do, Johnny Boker, do!

Chorus

He climbed aboard and he asked for a job;
Do, Johnny Boker, do!
Now old Johnny Boker shipped aboard a log!
Do, Johnny Boker, do!

Chorus

About twenty miles out of sight of the land
Do, Johnny Boker, do!
He found out he was the only hand.
Do, Johnny Boker, do!

Chorus

Now old Johnny Boker, he's got him an oar,
Do, Johnny Boker, do!
And he's rowed that log right back to the shore.
Do, Johnny Boker, do!

Chorus

Then he climbed on a ship and he sailed away.
Do, Johnny Boker, do!
He said "The work's a lot harder, but I get more pay!"
Do, Johnny Boker, do!

Chorus


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Lighter
Date: 18 Oct 04 - 12:27 AM

Guest ClaireBear's song seems to derive from what's sung by Oscar Brand on his LP "Rollicking Sea Shanties," ca.1962. I know of no other text.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: GUEST,Benita Sutton
Date: 16 Dec 05 - 01:12 PM

The reference to the song Old Joe Biggin is my father's Frank Sutton. He sadly died in 2003. I'd love to know if anyone is singing it and if anyone is interested in the lyrics, those that I can't remember, I believe are in his archive.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: Lyr. Add: Johnny Bowker
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 06 Aug 07 - 09:04 PM

Lyr. Add: JOHNNY BOWKER
Davis and Tozer 1887 (1916)

Solo.
Oh, do, my Johnnie Bowker,
Come rock and roll me over,
Chorus:
Do, my Johnnie Bowker, do.

Solo.
Oh do, my Johnnie Bowker,
Come roll me down to Dover,
Chorus:
Do, my Johnnie Bowker, do.

Solo.
Oh do, my Johnnie Bowker,
From Calais unto Dover,

Solo.
Oh do, my Johnny Bowker,
You say you are no rover,

Solo.
Oh do, my Johnnie Bowker,
Come rock and roll me over,

With score, no. 33, p. 64.
Song for setting sail; also used for furling sail.

Davis, Frederick J. and Ferris Tozer, 1887, "Sailors' Songs or 'Chanties,' Boosey & Co., Ltd., London. Revised Edition, 1916.

Lyr. Add: JOHNNY BOWKER (Hugill)

1. Oh! do my Johnny Bowker, come rock 'n' roll me over,
Chorus:
Oh, do me Johnny Bowker do!

2. O do, Johnny Bowker, come roll me down to Dover,
Chorus:
Oh, do me Johnny Bowker do!
3. O do, me Johnny Bowker, let's all go on a jamboree,
4. O do, me Johnny Bowker, the watches are cala-la-shee,
5. O do, me Johnny Bowker, the chief mate he's a croaker,
6. O do, me Johnny Bowker, the Old man he's a soaker.
7. O do, me Johnny Bowker, the bosun's never sober.
8. ---                     I bet ye are a rover.
9. ---                     the sails he's a tailor.
10 ---                     the chips he ain't no sailor.
11. ---                   come roll me in the clover.
12. ---                   come rock an' roll 'er over.
13. ---                   from Calais down to Dover.
14.----                   in London lives yer lover.
15. ---                   the packet she is rollin'.
16. ---                   come haul away the bowline.
17. ---                   we'll either break or bend it.
18. ---                   we're men enough to mend it.
19. ---                   get round the corner, Sally.
20. ---                   let me an' you live tally.
21. ---                   we'll haul away an' bend 'er.

p. 213, with one line of music. Foresheet song for sweating up, i. e., to give the final drag on a halyard; sometimes for bunting.
Alternative titles, Johnny Polka, Johnny Poker.
Perhaps from the old minstrel song, Johnny Boker.
Stan Hugill, 1961, "Shanties From the Seven Seas," Mystic Seaport reprint 1994.      

Lyr. Add: JOHNNY BOKER (Whall)

O do, my Johnny Boker,
Come rock or roll me o-o-ver
O do, my Johnny Boker, do!
With score. Song for short pulls.
W. B. Whall and R. H. Whall, 1910, "Sea Songs and Shanties," Brown, Son & Ferguson, Ltd., Glasgow. 1963 reprint.

Doerflinger (Shantymen and Shantyboys) says "Johnny Boker was one of the many characters shanghaied into shanty lore from the songs of the blackface minstrels, or possibly from Negro folksong, to which both sailors and minstrels were indebted."
"Johnny Boker" was published in "The Ethiopian Glee Book, II, ed. Gumbo Chaff (Elias Howe), Boston, 1848.

In Newfoundland, the chanty was heard as "Jolly Poker." With score, no. 168, p. 339. E. B. Greenleal and G. Y. Mansfield, 1933. "Ballads and Sea Songs of Newfoundland," 2004 facsimile reprint by Memorial University of Newfoundland, St. John's, NFLD.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Azizi
Date: 06 Aug 07 - 09:45 PM

Somewhat off-topic:

Q, I'm curious if this is the earliest use of the phrase "rock and roll" that you have found in a song.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 01:42 AM

Rock and roll in the chanty has to do with the sweating or tightening of the sails, as well as the sexual connotation. As such, it probably is old.
Rock, in the sense of to sway under some impact or stress, is listed in the OED with quotations from 1398. As to the sexual connotation, I dunno- couldn't find any early uses, although it is mentioned, but I think the double meaning is there in this chantey.

In the Caribbean (Nevis), "Johnny Bowker" is sung as "Do My Jolly Boy." Roger D. Abrahams, "Deep the Water, Shallow the Shore." It was used in house-moving, and lacks the rock and roll lines; 'shub' (shove) is the operative action.
In another chanty,, more allied to the sea, the 'Calais to Dover' or 'Calais to Halifax' line appears in this verse:
The whores on shore love sailor' man money
Roll, roll, roll and go.
Roll and go from Calais to Dover,
(I) spend my money on the whores on shore.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Azizi
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 07:42 AM

That's interesting. Thanks, Q.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: GUEST,Bob Coltman
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 07:54 AM

Couple of notes:

My aural impression has always been that first line of Cousin Emmy's version as "Asked Johnny Booker for a crosscut saw." Could be wrong, but it does rhyme.

Also, Jerry Jordan on Supertone IS Walter Smith, the Virginia singer of the 20s and 30s who also recorded as Kid Smith and Kid Williams. So the two are by one singer.

Bob


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 10:54 AM

Seems as if we have approximately 2.4 different songs.

Dodgyfolk's version is pretty much verbatim the one that I'm familiar with from an army environment in the late 1960s, though I didn't have the last stanza, and in the third stanza, as is clear from the rhyme scheme, it should be
"And rubbed his wife's left leg with the bottle".

And, as also suggested by the rhyme, we sang
"Old Johnny Bucker was a rare old f*****". But maybe I'm stating the obvious there...


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 11:13 AM

Guest above was yours truly, now recookified. Why do our IT people always lose so much stuff when they give us a new PC?????


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: MMario
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 11:32 AM

(normally it is the end users responsibility to preserve data when a pc is switched)


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 12:03 PM

The chorus, with "do me," or "do, Johnny," links two songs that differ, one being a chantey, the other about an broken wagon yoke, or an old man of peculiar nature, a "gay old bucker"- another dichotomy. The story about the yoke is a known minstrel song, the latter also may be rooted in minstrel variations and rewrites. Popular minstrel songs often were rewritten to produce a fresh version, or were changed when 'borrowed by another of the minstrel companies.

When the song came into chantey use with words suited to shipboard use would likely be in the 1850s-1860s.
Interesting to speculate about.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 07 Aug 07 - 12:13 PM

Soldier versions have only been touched upon. I remember something my father used to sing; a Johnny Booger in WW1. Can't recall any lyrics. Can anyone add lyrics for these versions?


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: GUEST,flashfolly
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 02:57 AM

The version I know - with the chorus I do believe ... - was recorded on an LP by Bob Davenport in the 60s ... a great version


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate

Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Old Johnny Bucker /Johnny Booker
From: Steve Gardham
Date: 17 Oct 10 - 03:23 PM

Two people have already pointed out that this thread is discussing almost independently of each other at least 3 totally separate songs with only parts of a title in common. Old Joe Biggin makes it a fourth. It seems to me it would make sense to put them into at least 3 separate threads if that is possible, Joe.

Only trying to be helpful.


Post - Top - Home - Printer Friendly - Translate
  Share Thread:
More...

Reply to Thread
Subject:  Help
From:
Preview   Automatic Linebreaks   Make a link ("blue clicky")


Mudcat time: 19 June 6:25 PM EDT

[ Home ]

All original material is copyright © 1998 by the Mudcat Café Music Foundation, Inc. All photos, music, images, etc. are copyright © by their rightful owners. Every effort is taken to attribute appropriate copyright to images, content, music, etc. We are not a copyright resource.