Yo Ho, Yo Ho
DESCRIPTION: In this formula song, the singer tells of placing his hand successively on a woman's toe, knee, thigh, etc., and the results of his quest.
EARLIEST DATE: The type appears in 1661, in Merry Drollery, as "There Were Three Birds"; then in the 1838 chapbook The Fancy! A Fanciful Collection of Fancy, Flash, and Amatory Songs as "Billy Go Leary"
KEYWORDS: bawdy seduction sex
FOUND IN: Australia Canada Britain(England) US(Ap,So,SW)
REFERENCES (2 citations):
Cray, pp. 318-323, "Yo Ho, Yo Ho" (1 text, 1 tune plus 1 text for "Billy Go Leary")
Thomas-Makin', p. 31, (no title) (1 short text, which might or might not be this, but it is suggestive that it breaks off just as the sailor promises to tell a tale)
cf. "There Were Three Birds"
cf. "Drive It On"
cf. "Gently, Johnny, My Jingalo" (Cecil Sharp's rewrite)
cf. "He Kept A-Kissin' On"
cf. "He Gave Her Kisses One"
cf. "How Ashamed I Was"
cf. "The Girl in Portland Street" (plot, theme)
I Laid My Hand upon Her Knee
NOTES: This song, as old as any in the English-language canon, survives in multiple variants sung to a variety of melodies. - EC
It appears Roud lumps this with "Gentry Johnny My Jingalo." That song has been so heavily redacted by Sharp that I can't lump them despite their, um, points of contact. - RBW
Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography
The Ballad Index Copyright 2016 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.