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Do Johnny Booker, Do ...with banjo

musician/member name: Music
Duration: 00:03:08
I recorded this video in 2013. Played on a reproduction 1848 "Henry Stichter" model fretless minstrel banjo, made by Bell Banjos. Briggs' "low bass" minstrel tuning for key of A. I love this banjo!
This song, Johnny Booker, or Do Johnny Boker Do (with different lyrics), was popular in the mid 1800s and is found in surviving American songbooks and banjo tutor books from that time. I learned this banjo version from the 1858 Phil Rice banjo instructional tutor. These lyrics may be later, but some lines are recognizable from Black American and Caribbean folksongs and tales published around 1900, so some version of these words was likely from the 1800s as well.
Wish i could have recorded this a bit faster, but i am not very good at singing and playing at the same time. I put a little tambourine under my foot just for fun.
02/15/24 11:07:15PM @dtortorich:

Dear Strumelia, Enjoyed your banjo playing.

Cindy Stammich
02/10/24 10:47:22PM @cindy-stammich:

This is so fun Strumelia!  I love banjo and that tambourine is a neat little addition!

Jim Dickens
01/27/24 09:55:34PM @jim-dickens:

Excellent! I love those old tunes. Nicely done!

01/26/24 03:08:58PM @strumelia:

Robin, you're right about Dan Tucker.  As we know from older hymns, popular songs, and ballads, certain tunes/melodies were used in more than one song, and many lyrics were used with more than one melody or in more than one song. There are terms such as "traveling verses", or "tune families". Melodies (tunes), verses, and lyrics were often swapped around, reused, and changed over time. When you get into music and song that is older than 1900, it's common that there's more than one version. 

Robin Thompson
01/26/24 02:45:10PM @robin-thompson:

Nicely done, Strumelia!  If memory serves, some of these lyrics overlap with "Old Dan Tucker" though it's been many years since I heard the song.  

01/26/24 01:25:46PM @strumelia:

The traditional lyrics I use for this tune are:

I saw an old man come walkin' by
I said, "Old man, your hog's gonna die"
He said," If he dies, I'll eat the meat
And give Johnny Booker the head and the feet."
Do, Johnny Booker...

Old Johnny Booker was a fine old man
Washed his face in an old tin can
Combed his hair with a wagon wheel,
Died with a toothache in his heel.

Donkey married the baboon's sister
First he hugged her, then he kissed her
Kissed so hard he raised a blister
Do, Johnny Booker, do.

He kissed so hard he couldn't kiss faster
Stuck on like a mustard plaster
Wasn't that a sad disaster?
Do, Johnny Booker, do.