Betsy Bell

Sheila Stewart from Blairgowrie: On Autumn Harvest ah010: Old Songs & Bothy Ballads: Hurrah Boys Hurrah! Live from the Fife Traditional Singing Festival May 2010.

A Dundee song that presumable derives from the music hall era and, no doubt, often printed on single sheets by the Dundee Poet's Box. One of the Stewart Family favourites, it was also in the repertoire of Dundee singer Annie Watkins (on SPR 1017: Coorse and Fine) and published in Nigel Gatherer: Songs and Ballads of Dundee with versions both from Belle Stewart and Annie Watkins.

1: Oh ma name is Betsy Belle in the Overgate I dwell,
Nae doot ye'll wonder what I'm daein here;
But if ye wait a wee, sure ma tale I'll tell tae thee,
It's a tale nae doot ye'll think it's very queer.

2: For I'm lookin for a lad an he may be good or bad,
I'm gaun tae tak the first yin that I see;
He may be young or auld or grey heidit, freens, or bauld,
It's onything that wears the breeks for me.

3: Noo, as I gaed oot last nicht, sure I met wi Sandy Wricht,
An he hauled me in as I wis passin by;
He asked if I'd wed and this is what I said,
"Man, if you are quite agreeable so am I."

4: Noo as was sae prood o the chance, sure, wi joy it made me dance,
The mairriage it wis tae be right there and then;
But when I got ma mairriage frock, ach! he said it wis aa a joke,
So I wonder what's a-dae wi aa the men.

5: Ah! but o lads I've had ma share, sure, I've had a score or mair,
But hoo they threw me up I dinna ken;
For I'm neither prood nor shy that the lads should pass me by,
Oh I wonder what's a-dae wi aa the men.

6: Noo as I gaed oot yestreen, man, I could scarce believe ma een,
For I met auld Janet Cooke wi a lad;
An as for husbands, she's had three, and there's no a chance for me,
Oh I wonder what's a-dae wi aa the men.

7: For I ken auld Janet Cooke and she drinks just like a jouk,
Her age it runs aboot three score an ten;
An as for husbands she's had three and there's no a chance for me,
Oh I wonder what's a-dae wi aa the men.

8: Ah! but o lads I've had ma share, sure, I've had a score or mair,
But hoo they threw me up I dinna ken;
For I'm neither prood nor shy that the lads should pass me by,
Oh I wonder what's a-dae wi aa the men.

9: But if there's ony laddie here that wad like a little dear,
A widdow or a bachelor though he be;
If on mairriage he is bent, then I'll gie him my consent,
It's no every day you'll get a chance like me;
For I can weave an I can wark, I can wash an mend a sark,
I'm as thrifty as ony lass I ken;
But on the nail I'll hing an I'll aye get leave tae sing,
I wonder what's a-dae wi aa the men.

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