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Broadside ballad entitled 'Blythe Johnny Drummond'


Verse 1 begins: 'Wha hasna heard tell o' blythe Johnny Drummond, / Wha hasna heard tell o' blythe Johnny Drummond, / If you search a' the warl' frae Lanark to Lunnon, / Ye'll no find the equal o' blythe Johnny Drummond.' The woodcut at the top of the sheet depicts a rather roguish and chirpy gentleman standing on rough ground. The illustration at the bottom is of a well-dressed man in a city street.

This short and catchy song is a bit of a double joke. The impressive opening lines, when performed by a street entertainer, must have caught the audience's attention. The song, however, is about a famed and loved entertainer, who always engages the audience's attention, called Blythe Johnny Drummond. The scenes described in the song, are about performing a broadside song for an audience and so it is an interesting picture for the modern reader. Johnny Drummond himself, unfortunately, is now largely untraceable.

Broadsides are often crudely illustrated with woodcuts - the earliest form of printed illustration, first used in the mid-fifteenth century. Inclusion of an illustration on a broadside increased its perceived value, especially among the illiterate. To keep costs down, publishers would normally reuse their limited stock of generic woodcuts.

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Probable period of publication: 1860-1890   shelfmark: L.C.Fol.178.A.2(114)
Broadside ballad entitled 'Blythe Johnny Drummond'
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