Traffic: John Barleycorn | Song-Factsheet


Song «John Barleycorn» von Traffic.


Veröffentlichungsdaten: 1970 07 (Album)
Label: Island ILPS 9116
Songwriter Traditional & Steve Winwood (arr.)
Produktion: Chris Blackwell & Steve Winwood
Genre: Rock - Folkrock - British-Folkrock


Ein alter Song, der im 16. Jahrhundert erstmals belegt ist. Die Figur John Barleycorn personifiziert das Korn und die Getränke, die aus ihm gewonnen werden, Bier und Whisky. Was diese Figur im Song erlebt und erleidet repräsentiert zum einen den Verarbeitungsprozess des Korns beim Herstellen von Getränken, zum anderen klingt auch die Verdrängung des Paganismus durch das Christentum mit an. Diese religionsgeschichtliche Bedeutung ist bei Traffic verloren: Die Version von Robert Burns aus dem Jahr 1782 hiess: «There was three kings into the east / Three kings both great and high / And they hae sworn a solemn oath / John Barleycorn should die» (zitiert nach Wikipedia, am 13.1.17).

Personen und Querverweise

Steve Winwood (arr.)
Chris Blackwell
Steve Winwood


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 ploughed, 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've let him lie for a very long time Till the rains from heaven did fall And little Sir John sprung up his head And so amazed them all They've let him stand till midsummer's day Till 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 the scythes so sharp To cut him off at the knee They've rolled him and tied him by the way Serving him most barbarously They've hired men with the sharp pitchforks Who pricked him to the heart And the loader he has served him worse than that For he's bound him to the cart They've wheeled him around and around the field Till they came unto a barn And there they made a solemn oath On poor John Barleycorn They've hired men with the crab-tree sticks To cut him skin from bone And the miller he has served him worse than that For he's ground him between two stones And little Sir John and the nut-brown bowl And his brandy in the glass; And little Sir John and the nut-brown bowl Proved the strongest man at last The huntsman, he can't hunt the fox Nor so loudly to blow his horn And the tinker he can't mend kettle nor pot Without a little Barleycorn