DESCRIPTION: Johnny Todd ships out, leaving his sweetheart in Liverpool. She meets another sailor, who offers to marry her. She accepts; Todd returns to find his love married. The moral: "Do not leave your love like Johnny/Marry her before you go"
EARLIEST DATE: 1886 (Opie-Game)
KEYWORDS: infidelity marriage warning travel return sailor
FOUND IN: US(NE) Ireland Britain(England(North),Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (7 citations):
GreigDuncan8 1583, "Johnny Johnstone" (2 texts, 2 tunes)
Hammond-Belfast, p. 9, "Johnny Todd" (1 text, 1 tune)
Kidson-Tunes, pp. 103-104, "Johnny Todd" (1 text, 1 tune)
Opie-Game 23, "Johnny the Sailor Boy" (5 texts, 1 tune)
Silber-FSWB, p. 174, "Johnny Todd" (1 text)
Montgomerie-ScottishNR 106, "(Johnnie Johnson's ta'en a notion)" (1 text)
Bob Roberts, "Johnny Todd" (on LastDays)
cf. "John (George) Riley (I)" (lyrics)
NOTES [74 words]: I include the cross-reference because the verses in which the rival sailor courts the lady seem to be lifted from a broken-token song such as "John Riley (I)". - PJS
Interestingly, the Montgomerie text also has this bit, so it appears to be genuinely traditional.
The group Ossian has recorded a version of this in which Johnny Todd returns to his girl. They admit, however, to having rewritten the ending. To my mind, it doesn't add much.... - RBW
Last updated in version 3.0
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