The Johnson Boys

Composer: Traditional

Jerry Garcia recordings

info Before The Dead, Jerry Garcia, 2018

Other recordings

info Instrumental Music Of The Southern Appalachians, Various Artists (Boone Reid), 1956
no info Shanty Boys, Shanty Boys, 195?
no info The Weavers At Home, The Weavers, 195?
info The New Lost City Ramblers, Vol. 3, The New Lost City Ramblers, 1961
info Frank Proffitt Sings Folk Songs, Frank Proffitt, 1962
info Folk Songs of Our Land, Flatt & Scruggs, 1962
info Traditional Music from Grayson and Carroll Counties, Virginia, Various Artists (Glen Smith), 1962
info The Springfields' Story, The Springfields, 1964
info 5-String Banjo Greats, Various Artists (David Lindley), 1964
no info Traditional Music Of Beech Mountain, NC, Vol II, Buna Hicks, 1965
info The Flat-Picker's Guitar Guide: An Advanced Instruction Record, Jerry Silverman, 1966
no info 5 String Banjo Greats, David Lindley, 196?
no info Instrumental Music Of The Southern Appalachians, Various Artists (Boone Reid), 196?
info Anthology Of The Banjo, Various Artists (David Lindley), 1970
no info An Old Time Southern Mountain String Band, Iron Mountain String Band, 1973
no info Snake Baked A Hoecake, Jody Stecher and Friends, 1974
info The Very Best of Country Banjo, Various Artists (David Lindley), 1975
no info Clawhammer Banjo, Vol. 3, Wade Ward, 1978
no info Comin' Round The Mountain, Henry Vanoy, 197?
info The Banjo: A Collector's Treasury, Various Artists (David Lindley), 197?
no info Clawhammer Banjo, David Johnson, 1983
no info Tom Dooley, Frank Profitt, Vol. 1, Frank Profitt, 1988
no info J.E. Mainer and The Mountaineers, Vol. 20 Old Time Favorites, J.E. Mainer and The Mountaineers, 1988
no info Greatest Stars Of Bluegrass, Various Artists, 1989
no info Music From The Mountain, Iron Mountain String Band, 1992
info Feuding Banjos, Various Artists (David Lindley), 1992
no info Masters Of The Banjo, Various Artists, 1994
info Best of Bluegrass: 18 Banjo Favorites, Various Artists (David Lindley), 1995
info Where'd You Come From Where'd You Go?, The Freight Hoppers, 1996
info Banjo Jamboree, Various Artists (David Lindley), 1996
info Over the Hills and Far Away, The Springfields, 1997
info Banjo Festival, Various Artists (David Lindley), 1997
no info Old-Time Banjo Project, John Cohen, 19??
no info Folk Songs Of Our Land, Flatt and Scruggs and The Foggy Mountain Boys, 19??
no info Instrumental Music and Songs Of The Southern Appalachians, Eric Darling, 19??
no info Bluegrass Music From The Southern Appalachians, Various Artists, 19??
no info The Hillbillies, 19??
no info Great Original Recordings 1927-28, The Tenneva Ramblers, 19??
no info The Asch Recordings, Vol. 2 - 1939 to 1945, Various Artists (Frank Warner, Pete Seeger and Bess Lomax Hawes), 19??
info Patchwork, Hesperus, 2000
info Mountain Breakdown: The Bluegrass Collection, Various Artists (David Lindley), 2002
info Going to the West, Ed Littlefield, Jr., 2003
info Feuding Banjos: Revenge of the Citybillys, Various Artists (David Lindley), 2005
info Traditional Banjo Music of the Ozarks, Various Artists (David Lindley), 2005
info Bluegrass Banjo, Various Artists (David Lindley), 2005
info Blockbuster Bluegrass, Various Artists (Trey Hensley), 2006
info Feuding Banjos: Bluegrass Banjo Of The Southern Mountains, Various Artists (David Lindley), 2006
info Classic Old-Time Fiddle from Smithsonian Folkways, Various Artists (Caleb Finch), 2007
info Mountain Frolic: Rare Old Timey Classics 1924-37, Various Artists (Al Hopkins and his Buckle Busters), 2008
info Folk Songs of Our Land/Fabulous Sounds of..., Flatt & Scruggs, 2009


Played by the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers in San Carlos on June 11th 1962.

Before this song on the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers tape Garcia says that they stole their songs from the Ramblers who had stolen the songs from the old hill musicians. The Ramblers (New Lost City Ramblers) source is certainly true for this song. Johnson Boys occurs in a number of variations many making fun of the Johnson boys but in the Ramblers versions they are heroes of the Civil War.

The lyrics used by the Sleepy Hollow Hog Stompers nearly exactly match those in the New Lost City Ramblers Songbook and are as follows; Have you heard of many a story,
Told by young and old 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,
Hop up pretty girls don't be afraid,
Hop up pretty girls don't be afraid.

They were lads of skill and courage,
And their sight was very far,
And they joined the country's service,
In that awful civil war.


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.


They were scouts for the rebel army,
And were known far and wide,
When the Yankees saw them coming,
They threw down their guns and hid.

Chorus... Sometimes occurs on recordings as Meet The Johnston Boys or Legend Of The Johnston Boys.