Black Jack Davey

Traditional | Roud 1, Child 200, Laws O17, Ballad Index C200


Black Jack Davey came running through the woods
Singing so loud and gaily
Made the hills around him ring
And he charmed the heart of a lady
He charmed the heart of a lady

Come go with me my pretty little miss
Come go with me my honey
I’ll take you across the deep blue sea
Where you won’t want for money
You won’t want for money

She pulled off her high heeled shoes
Made of Spanish leather
She put on her low heeled shoes
And they went off together
They went off together

Would you forsake your house and home,
Would you forsake your baby?
Would you forsake your husband, dear
To go with Blackjack Davey
Go with the Blackjack Davey?

Last night I lay on a warm feather bed
Side my husband and baby
Today I lay on the cold, cold ground
Side of Black Jack Davey
Side of Black Jack Davey

Additional Verses

How old are you my pretty little miss
How old are you my honey
She answered him with a silly little grin
I’ll be sixteen next Sunday
Be sixteen next Sunday

Featured On:
Old Time American Music

• Recordings I Learned From Or Like •

About the Song:

Folk songs tend to not stay in one place for very long. “Black Jack Davey” is a great example of this. “Davey” evolved from an old Scottish border ballad (songs originating from the Anglo-Scottish border) called “The Gypsie Loddie” which was published in the Roxburghe Ballads c. 1720.

Variants of this song traveled with people from the British Isles as they continued to colonize America. It took root in the Appalachians as well as the Ozarks where it developed into “Black Jack (or Gypsy) Davey” and has since become a staple in old time repertoires all over the country.

Other titles include: “Gypsy/Gypsum Davey/Davy/David”

Related songs and variants: “Raggle Taggle Gypsy-O”, “Seven Yellow Gypsies”, “Gypsie Loddie”