Subscribe to our Newsletter

Billy Johnson's Ball

Back to browse page
Performer: Hartland, Ray
Place Collected: Tirley
Date collected: 1980 (5 Jan)
Roud Number: 2139

This jolly ditty was composed by G W Hunt (1839-1904). Versions have turned in oral tradition in both England and Ireland, but rarely such as Mrs Merry’s Ball or Tommy Suet’s Ball. Both the tune and the structure of the song bear a close resemblance to the Willie Kemp song “The Wedding o’ McGinnis to his cross-eyed Pet”, which has this chorus:

Tootle, tootle went the flute. Diddle, diddle went the fiddle,
And the jig-a-ring went up and doon the back and through the middle
And the jing-a-ring went roond aboot like sheelicks in a riddle*
At the wedding o’ McGinnis to his cross-eyed pet.

*Like grain in a sieve.

 It is not known which song was composed first.

Notes by Gwilym Davies

Media & Downloads

Hear the song/tune as collected (mp3 stream):

See the song/tune as collected (PDF file)
Hear the song/tune (midi file)
Version to sing (PDF file)
Hear a version to sing (midi file)

Modern recording performed by: Green Willow

Song/tune as collected (abc file)
Version to sing (abc file)