Old Johnny Booger
DESCRIPTION: Johnny Booger takes a wife. Doctor tells Johnny to rub her bad leg with gin. He thinks that a sin so he drinks the gin and rubs her leg with the bottle. Johnny falls in the river and there is no one to pull him out. He dies but can't get in heaven.
EARLIEST DATE: 1923 (Williams-Thames)
KEYWORDS: drink humorous wife death river drowning
FOUND IN: Britain(England(North,South))
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Williams-Thames, p. 304, "Johnny Bowker" (1 fragment) (also Wiltshire-WSRO Mi 660, "Old Johnny Bowker")
Jack Elliott, "Old Johnny Booger" (on Voice14)
NOTES: Yates, Musical Traditions site Voice of the People suite "Notes - Volume 14" - 8.9.02: "When I first came across this song, from a singer in Oxfordshire, the title was 'Old Johnny Bigger', the final word rhyming with the now unacceptable word 'nigger'. I presume that the song comes from the American Minstrel stage of the mid-19th century."
Jack Elliott's chorus on Voice14 is "Singing I do believe; I will believe. That old Johnny Booger was a gay old bugger And a gay old bugger was he."
It is tempting to lump this [Roud #1329] with "Johnny Booker" [Roud #3441] but the verses and tune here have nothing in common with what I've read and heard. Yet another complication is the relationship of this song to "Johnny Boker" (I) [Roud #353]; for tune, text and structure's sake, I would keep it separate as well. - BS
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