John Anderson, My Jo, John
DESCRIPTION: Singer upbraids her lover for rising so early and coming to bed so late, tells him he's aging and risking being cuckolded. She describes his attributes fairly explicitly, and her own, saying "'Tis all for your conveniency/John Anderson, my jo"
AUTHOR: Attributed to Robert Burns
EARLIEST DATE: 1765 (Percy)
KEYWORDS: age marriage sex husband bawdy
FOUND IN: Britain
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Percy/Wheatley II, pp. 131-133, "John Anderson My Jo" (1 text, short and probably bowdlerized; Percy's first and final editions have some differences)
Silber-FSWB, p. 155 "John Anderson, My Jo (II)
cf. "John Anderson, My Jo (I)"
cf. "Johnny Bull, My Jo, John" (tune)
cf. "Cruiskeen Lawn" (tune)
John Anderson, My Jo (I) (File: FSWB141B)
Johnny Bull, My Jo, John (File: SBoA118)
John Bull's Epistle (Huntington-Whalemen, pp. 172-174)
O Jimmy Fisk, My Jo, Jim (fragment in Cohen-LSRail, p. 91)
New Song ("James Madison my Joe, Jim, I wonder what you mean") (Lawrence, p. 220)
John Adams' son, my jo, John (Lawrence, p. 239)
Johnny the Broker ("O Johhny Q., my Jo, John, your father sought a crown") (Lawrence, p. 240)
The Black Lettered List ("John Quincy John my Joe, John") (Lawrence, p. 240)
Why Awa' So Lang at Nicht ("John, Anderson, my Jo, John") (WolfAmericanSongSheets, p. 178)
Will and Kate ("Now, Kate, fully forty years ha'e flown") (The Ulverston New Poetical Miscellany, p. 215)
NOTES: It's clear that "John Anderson, My Jo (I)" is a thoroughly bowdlerized version of this song, but their mood is so different that I've split them. - PJS
And properly; Burns reportedly had to clean it us to make the song singable in polite society.
There is still a third version, the Digital Tradition's JOHNAND5, which is a temperance song.
Burns may have had his hand in some versions even of the bawdy text, but it is not all his; the "official" version, in the Scots Musical Museum (filed in the Index as "John Anderson, My Jo (I)") is entirely Burns's work. - RBW
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