Johnnie's Gray Breeks
DESCRIPTION: When the singer was 17 she loved handsome Johnny and made him fine grey breeches. Now she would make him breeches of patches "for a' the ill he's done me." Though he's left her with a baby she hopes he'll come back.
AUTHOR: William Tytler(?) (source: GreigDuncan7)
EARLIEST DATE: 1829 (Chambers)
KEYWORDS: clothes nonballad baby rake
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
GreigDuncan7 1279, "Johnnie's Gray Breeks" (1 text plus 7 fragments, 4 tunes)
Whitelaw-Song, pp. 446-447, "Johnnie's Grey Breeks" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: Robert Chambers, The Scottish Songs (Edinburgh, 1829), Vol II, pp. 335-336, "Johnie's Gray Breeks"
I'll Clout My Johnnie's Grey Breaks
NOTES: The description follows GreigDuncan7 1279A; the other GreigDuncan7 texts are fragments.
The story in Chambers and Whitelay has no mention of a baby or desertion. The fine breeches the singer made for Johnny "when the lad was in his prime" are threadbare now and she works to keep them patched. If she had time she would make him a new pair." There are so many shared lines that I consider these two versions of the same song.
Whitelaw: "We cannot give the original version of the song, some of which might be considered rather coarse for 'modern ears polite,' but we give a modified set of it, which is still of considerable antiquity, and used to be popular at our country firesides." - BS
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