Hanging Johnny


Jon Calls this, “A great shanty.  I used to sing this with my good friend Henry Timms when drunk.”

Another of The Young Tradition’s shanties form the same session as Fire Marengo (Maringo) that we had back in November. Mainly Norfolk covers that with a note that this could be lengthened at will, with all manner of people being a candidate for Johnny’s rope. I’m sure the same applies to most of these nautical work songs, depending on the task in hand. Some feature whole floating verses, but the simple formula of this only requires a rhyme to be found and I daresay the tune is robust enough to stand some drunken abuse too. The song’s a bit confusing and doesn’t have much lyrical sense but I suppose that’s not the point, rhythm here is king.

Bonus track: Hanging Johnny (Live at Kings Place, London, 10th Feb 2011)

You can buy the February digital album now from all good download stores.



18 Responses to “Hanging Johnny”

  1. Jane Ball says:

    Thanks for a great time last night. I hope the recording of the massed ranks is good enough quality to go up here.

  2. Jane Ball says:

    So it did – thanks!

  3. Reinhard says:

    Yup, great chorus!

  4. Pippa says:

    Thanks for brilliant time ‘there’ and later – what great voices. Loved the a capella 4tet best…….and string 5tet…..and squeeze box 4tet ……and…….and……and

  5. Mike New says:

    You cannot beat a good sea shanty -nice one Jon- and the live version delivers. What about Mingulay Boat Song? Have R Thompson on Rogues Gallery giving this some stick!Would like to hear your version please.

  6. Fiona says:

    Thanks for last night, both the concert and (especially) the singing after, I enjoyed it a lot and am still grinning today. Really pleased to have been part of the recording and delighted at how good it sounds.

    Enjoyed all of the people who took the floor and I was really impressed by the quality of all of them. Maybe they were all professional singers but I hope not – I like the idea that there are all these people with amazing voices who do “ordinary” (no offence) jobs and none of their colleagues know that when they open their mouths this fantastic sounds comes out. Like superheroes! or something.

    THe whole project is amazing, thank you all

  7. Piers Cawley says:

    I’m one of the singers from the floor (sang the “A Child of the Library) and “Knife (lay your leg over me do”) and I’m certainly not a professional singer. Most colleagues probably don’t realise I’m a singer, no.

  8. Iggy says:

    Having mentioned them previously with regard to “Cold Blows the Wind”, this was also sung by The Band of Holy Joy (http://www.bandofholyjoy.co.uk/) on their terrific 1987 Rosemary Smith EP.

  9. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by davidmatthews, Jon Boden. Jon Boden said: Latest Post: Hanging Johnny http://www.afolksongaday.com/2011/02/11/hanging-johnny/ […]

  10. Diana says:

    I do like these sea shanties and I would have loved to have heard the version being raved about above.

  11. Diana says:

    Have just discovered the link. It just goes to show you should always read the small print.

    So everyone had a great time belting it out and it sounds really good.

  12. Jan says:

    I must have missed this one first and second time around, as I am now wondering if Jon’s mate Henry is a distant relative of mine – my maiden name is Timms, and there aren’t that many of us about.

  13. Muzza (NW Surrey-UK) says:

    @Jan……Timms..the name made famous by ‘Larkrise to Candleford’…
    “Ernest Timms-that’s my name'”…
    There are a few of ’em live round here in Surrey as well..they are Geordies …so you all like a drink eh!

  14. Jan says:

    I was born in Yorkshire and thought the family had been there forever, but a cousin did some research and found records of us having come from the Midlands. On my mother’s side I have one set of great grandparents who were Welsh and spoke no English, and a great grandfather who was Swiss French, so I’m a bit of a mixture really. Does one need an excuse to like a drink?

  15. Diana says:

    Still like the shanties.

  16. John Bryson says:

    Great to hear this again. My wife Jane and I were there in 2011 and no, we can’t hear ourselves! We did meet Piers (entry above). Several of the numbers I first heard on this site, or knew and then heard Jon’s version, I have susequently had a go at on Singers Nights (Jane is a choral person and a big fan of Jon, I am the folkie!). This is one I first heard at the after show sing at Kings Place and has become a favourite of mine at aforesaid Singers Nights. The lyrics are somewhat interesting (!) but great to hear those in the room join in. Another one is Donkey Riding

  17. Linda says:

    Hey Muzza where’ve you been…. been using the archive for Feb some of my favourites this month…especially the 31st…

  18. John Bryson says:

    Ten years ago – where does the time go?!

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