Johnson Boys

Boys in the rebel army

Depending on which version of this song you hear either the Johnson boys were Civil War heroes (Flatt and Scruggs, NLCR) or complete idiots (Frank Proffit, J.E. Mainer). One theory has it that the heroic version was popular with sourthern troops and the idiot version came from northern soldiers who satirized the song.

I'm not partial so I gathered some of my favorite verses from both tranditions.


Have you heard the many a story,
Told by old and young with joy,
About the many deeds of daring
That was done by the Johnson boys ?

Hop up, pretty girls, don't be afraid
Hop up, pretty girls, don't be afraid

The Johnson boys were boys of honor,
They knew how to court the maids,
They knew how to hug and kiss them,
Hop up, pretty girls, don't be afraid

Hop up . . .

Johnson Boys went to the Mountain
They did not reckon long to stay
Met up with some high borned ladies
Didn’t get back til the break of day

Hop up . . .

Johnson boys, went a-huntin'
Took two dogs and went astray
Tore their clothes and scratched their faces
Didn't come home till the break of day,...

Hop up . . .

Johnson boys they come a-courtin'
The Coon Creek girls so pretty and sweet
They couldn't make no conversation.
Did'nt know where to put their feet.

Hop up . . .

They were lads of skill and courage
And their sight was very far
And they joined their country's service
In that awful Civil War,

Hop up . . .

They were scouts in the rebel's army
And were known far and wide
When the Yankees saw them coming
They’d throw down their guns and hide.

Hop up . . .

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