Traditional English Folksong... Steve Winwood Version... (Traffic)

|D . . . .C . . Em/B Am :| x4                                           [Capo 5 (OR 6*Eb) for Flute in D]

D . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .Am . . . . . . .C . Em/B . Am . . . . . . .D . . . . .C Em/B Am
There were Three Men came out of the West, Their fortunes for to try
And these Three Men made a solemn Vow, John Barleycorn must die
. . . . . . . . C. . . . . . . . . . . . . .G . . . . . . . . . . . .Am . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .C . . . . D. . . . . . .E4 .3
They've plowed, They've sown, They've harrowed him in, Threw clods upon his head
. . . . . . Dm . . . . . . Am . . . . . . . .C . Em/B . Am. . . . . . . . . D . . .C . . Em/B Am
And these Three Men made a solemn Vow . . . John Barleycorn was dead

Full Lyrics:

There were three men came out of the West . . . Their fortunes for to try
And these three men made a solemn Vow. . . John Barleycorn must die
They've plowed, they've sown, they've harrowed him in. . .Threw clods upon his head
And these three men made a solemn Vow . . . John Barleycorn was dead

They let him lie for a very long time . . . 'Til the rains from Heaven did fall
And little Sir John sprung up his head . . . And so amazed Them all
They let him stand 'til Midsummer's Day . . . 'Til he looked both pale and wan
And little Sir John's grown a long, long beard . . . And so become a man

They've hired men with their scythes so sharp . . . To cut him off at the knee
They've rolled him and tied him by the way . . . Serving him most barb'rously
They've hired men with their sharp pitchforks . . . Who pricked him to the Heart
And the Loader has served him worse than that . . . For he's bound him to the cart

They've wheeled him around and around the field . . . 'Til They came unto a barn
And there they made a solemn Oath . . . On poor John Barleycorn
They've hired men with their crab-tree sticks . . . To cord him skin from bone
And the Miller has served him worse than that . . . For he's ground him between two stones

And little Sir John and his nutbrown bowl . . . And his brandy in the glass
And little Sir John and his nutbrown bowl . . . Proved the strongest man at last
The Huntsman, he can't hunt the fox . . . Not so loudly to blow his horn
And the Tinker, he can't mend kettles nor pots . . . Without a little Barleycorn




Album released July 1970

NOTES...(Adapted rom Wikipedia & Music Facts): An early version of the song is included in the Bannatyne Manuscript of 1568 [George Bannatyne 1545–1608], and other 17th century English single sheet printed "broadside" versions are common. Robert Burns published his own version in 1782, and other later versions abound, Steve Winwood's version is probably an early 18th century verson.

[Probably] The Robert Burns (1782) version:

There was three kings into the east, Three kings both great and high,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath John Barleycorn should die.
They took a plough and plough'd him down, Put clods upon his head,
And they hae sworn a solemn oath John Barleycorn was dead.

But the cheerful Spring came kindly on, And show'rs began to fall;
John Barleycorn got up again, And sore surpris'd them all.
The sultry suns of Summer came, And he grew thick and strong;
His head weel arm'd wi' pointed spears, That no one should him wrong.

The sober Autumn enter'd mild, When he grew wan and pale;
His bending joints and drooping head Show'd he began to fail.
His colour sicken'd more and more, He faded into age;
And then his enemies began To show their deadly rage.

They've taen a weapon, long and sharp, And cut him by the knee;
Then tied him fast upon a cart, Like a rogue for forgerie.
They laid him down upon his back, And cudgell'd him full sore;
They hung him up before the storm, And turned him o'er and o'er.

They filled up a darksome pit With water to the brim;
They heaved in John Barleycorn, There let him sink or swim.
They laid him out upon the floor, To work him farther woe;
And still, as signs of life appear'd, They toss'd him to and fro.

They wasted, o'er a scorching flame, The marrow of his bones;
But a miller us'd him worst of all, For he crush'd him between two stones.
And they hae taen his very heart's blood, And drank it round and round;
And still the more and more they drank, Their joy did more abound.

John Barleycorn was a hero bold, Of noble enterprise;
For if you do but taste his blood, 'Twill make your courage rise.
'Twill make a man forget his woe; 'Twill heighten all his joy;
'Twill make the widow's heart to sing, Tho' the tear were in her eye.

Then let us toast John Barleycorn, Each man a glass in hand;
And may his great posterity Ne'er fail in old Scotland!