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Broadside ballad entitled 'Och Hey, Johnnie Lad'


This ballad begins: 'Och hey, Johnnie Lad! / Ye're no sae kind's ye should ha'e been, / Och hey, Johnnie lad!' Included at the top of the sheet is a woodcut illustration of a well-dressed man holding a sword behind his head.

As with many traditional folk songs, there are a number of different versions of this ballad in existence, including one featured in Volume IV of the 'Scots Musical Museum' (1792), under the title 'Hey, how my Johnie Lad'. It begins: 'Hey, how my Johnie lad, / ye're no sae kind's ye sud hae been / Gin your voice I had na kent, / I cou'd na eithly trow my een.' Long before they were ever written down and recorded, traditional ballads and stories were passed down through the generations by word of mouth. A consequence of this was that variations naturally crept in with each telling.

Broadsides are single sheets of paper, printed on one side, to be read unfolded. They carried public information such as proclamations as well as ballads and news of the day. Cheaply available, they were sold on the streets by pedlars and chapmen. Broadsides offer a valuable insight into many aspects of the society they were published in, and the National Library of Scotland holds over 250,000 of them.

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Probable period of publication: 1830-1850   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(110)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Och Hey, Johnnie Lad'
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