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Origins: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier

11 Oct 97 - 08:58 PM (#14497)
Subject: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: philpod@axionet.com

Does any one know any history behind this song, the author's name,where & when it was written ?


11 Oct 97 - 09:30 PM (#14499)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: Joe Offer

There are five (count 'em, FIVE) versions of this song in the database [search under SHULARN* ]. There are a few tidbits of information with the song texts, but not much. This is a song that has always puzzled me, too. There's gotta be a good story behind it. Anybody know?
-Joe Offer-


11 Oct 97 - 10:33 PM (#14501)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: Bruce

This is best know as "Shule Agra/Aroon", and there are versions in DT, but the song may not be Irish at all. There is a short Scots version, "Dicky Macphalion" in C. K. Sharpe's A Ballad Book, 1823.

One of the most characteristic verses occurs in a English broadside ballad of about 1660. This (1/2) verse goes:

I'll sell my Rock and eke my Reel,
And after that my Spinning wheel,
To buy my love a cap of Speel,
And follow my Cavalilly man:

..... [also--]

I'le pawn my Kirtle and eke my Gowne,
Which cost my Mother many a Crowne,
And goe with thee from Town to Town,
Then prethee le me gang with thee Man:

In this ballad she does not lament her soldier lad in the Scottish army going off to war, she goes with him. This ballad "The North-country Maid's Resolution, and Love to her sweetheart", (tune, "Cavallily Man") is in The Euing Collection, #257. The English broadside is probably based on a Scots song of the civil wars. A 17th century Scots copy of the tune "Cavallily Man" was called "Roger the Cavalier".

So the original was probably by some Scotsman abround 1645, but it has been reworkred several times since.

For some notes on Irish versions see Donal O'Sullivan's edition of the Bunting MSS in 'The Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society'. 1927-39.


12 Oct 97 - 06:48 AM (#14515)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: alison

Hi

The Shule Aroon version, (basically the same as the others), tells of a woman's love for a soldier who has fled to France after the final surrender in 1691 of the Catholic armies to William of Orange's Protestant forces at Limerick in Ireland.

These soldier's were known as "The Wild Geese", and fought for Ireland in the armies of France and Spain.

Hope this helps.

Slainte

ALison


12 Oct 97 - 07:01 AM (#14518)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: Alan of Australia

G'day Alison,
And it was nice helping you sing it at The Western Suburbs Folk Music Club on Friday.

Cheers,
Alan


12 Oct 97 - 03:25 PM (#14540)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: Philippa at Sabhal Mor Ostaig, Isle of Skye

I concur with Alsion. There is a line in 'Siul A Ruin' (Shule Aroon): "Ach cuireadh air Ri Sheamais ruaig" - King James was put to flight. There are versions of this song completely in Irish Gaelic, completely in English, and with a mixture of the two. One version 'Buttermilk Hill' came from a battle in the American Civil War, I think (my mmory and the century could be wrong, the American War of Independence?/ I think I heard it sung by Ronnie Gilbert, once of the Weavers?) and I believe refers to someplace in Pennsylvania


12 Oct 97 - 03:59 PM (#14546)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: Bruce

According to a note in 'Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society' (where the Gaelic text is given) the line you quoted is from a translation by Dr. Douglas Hyde of a rewritten version of 'Shul Agra' by A. P. Graves.


13 Oct 97 - 02:51 AM (#14583)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: alison

hi,

The Buttermilk Hill bit is from "Gone the Rainbow" as recorded by Peter, Paul and Mary.

Slainte

Alison


13 Oct 97 - 06:37 PM (#14646)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: Nonie Rider

Isn't there a version of Shule Aroon on the LONG BLACK VEIL compilation? Or had I been listening to overmany Weavers at that point?

I'll admit it does sound odd from a male singer...

The song does also provide a few good lines for parodies, like Anne Passovoy's "The False Young Man with the Microphone": "I'll sell my rack, I'll sell my reel/I'll buy a steel guitar."

(That's the one about musical copyright theft that ends "So never trust a roving man, whoever he may be,/If his hand's upon a microphone and not upon your knee."


13 Oct 97 - 07:38 PM (#14663)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: alison

hi

It's not on the Long Black Veil but it is on Lord of the Dance.

slainte

alison


10 Apr 05 - 09:24 PM (#1457646)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: GUEST,David

James Taylor did a version i know.


11 Apr 05 - 04:17 AM (#1457791)
Subject: RE: Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
From: GUEST,Allen

As did John Tams. Funny, I thought this was an English/Scottish song.


22 Apr 05 - 12:03 AM (#1467644)
Subject: RE: Origins: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: GUEST,Karin

What does "Shule Agra" mean in the song? (Song also known as Johnny has gone for a soldier.)


22 Apr 05 - 05:22 AM (#1467761)
Subject: RE: Origins: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: GUEST,Declan

Súil a Grá - means walk my love. Súil a Rúin means more or less the same thing. In the Gaelic version of the song it is an encouragement to his love to walk to the door and elope with the singer - "Súil go doras agus éalaigh liom"


24 Apr 05 - 02:16 PM (#1469433)
Subject: RE: Origins: Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier
From: GUEST,robertgrgg@yahoo.com

I think this is very close to at least the version that James Taylor sings. Enjoy

Intro: D C Asus Em

G         D         C Asus Em      
There she sits on Buttermilk Hill.

   Em7       Bm7      C      Asus Em
Oh who could blame her crying her fill.

Em    G          Asus    C         C      G   D    Asus Em
Every tear would turn a mill… Johnny has gone for a soldier

Interlude1
   G            D         C Asus       Em   

G      D    C Asus    Em      Em7         Bm7          C Asus Em
Me oh my, she loved him so      Broke her heart just to see him go.

Em    G       Asus    C         C      G   D   Asus Em
Only time will heal her woe.    Johnny has gone for a soldier

Interlude2
   G       D         C Asus       Em   
Em7           Bm7       C Asus       Em
Em       G         Asus          C C9 D Em

G            D             C   Asus Em    Em7          Bm7 C Asus   Em
She sold her rock and she sold her hill.She sold her only spinning wheel

Em         G       Asus    C            C      G   D    Asus Em
To by her love his sword of steel   Johnny has gone for a soldier



   G            D         C Asus      Em   
She'll die her dress, shell die in red

    Em7                    Bm7       C       Asus   Em
And in the streets go begging for bread

Em    G                Asus    C
The one she loves from her has fled

C            G   D    Asus         Em
Johnny has gone for a soldier