Johnny Lad
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Malcolm Littlemore


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Lyrics
Johnny Lad appeared in Peter Buchan's Ancient Ballads and Songs (1828).* It was printed on a broadside which is undated that appears in the Broadside Ballads Online collection.

In The Singing Island, Ewan MacColl says, Johnny Lad was "originally a very beautiful pastoral song in the tempo of a slow (minor) strathspey. Johnny Lad moved to Glasgow during the late 19th century and was transformed into a children's street song. The lyrics became urbanized and the original air was abandoned in favor of a catchy but much plainer tune."**

I bought a wife in Edinburgh for a bawbie;
And then I got a farthing back to buy terbaccer wi'
And wi' you, and wi' you, and wi' you, my Johnny lad,
I'll dance the buckles off my shoes wi' you my Johnny lad.


As I was walkin' Sunday, 'twas there I saw the Queen,
A-playin' at the football wi' the lads on Glasgow green,
And wi' you, and wi' you, and wi' you, my Johnny lad,
I'll dance the buckles off my shoes wi' you my Johnny lad.


The captain 'o the other side was scorin' wi' great style,
The queen, she called a policeman, and had him thrown in jail.
And wi' you, and wi' you, and wi' you, my Johnny lad,
I'll dance the buckles off my shoes wi' you my Johnny lad.


Samson was a mighty man, and he fought wi' the cuddy's jaw,
He fought a thousand battles wearing crimson flannel drawers.
And wi' you, and wi' you, and wi' you, my Johnny lad,
I'll dance the buckles off my shoes wi' you my Johnny lad.


Napoleon was an emperor, and he ruled on land and sea,
He ruled all France and Germany, but he didn't rule Jock McGhee.
And wi' you, and wi' you, and wi' you, my Johnny lad,
I'll dance the buckles off my shoes wi' you my Johnny lad.


Now Johnny is a bonny lad, he is a lad of mine,
I've never had a better lad and I've had twenty-nine.
And wi' you, and wi' you, and wi' you, my Johnny lad,
I'll dance the buckles off my shoes wi' you my Johnny lad.



Related Links
From *Steve Roud's Folksong Index and
**from The Mudcat Cafe.