Betsy Brennan's Blue Hen
DESCRIPTION: The singer bought "my beautiful little blue hen" from the widow McKenny for a penny. It was swiped by "some dirty crawler." The song is a set of curses on "the villain" who stole the hen, e.g. "And may he have bunions As big as small onions"
AUTHOR: Johnny Burke (1851-1930)
EARLIEST DATE: 1924 (England, Vikings of the Ice)
KEYWORDS: theft humorous chickens curse
FOUND IN: Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
Doyle4, p. 76, "Betsy Brennan's Blue Hen" (1 text)
Doyle5, p. 58, "Betsy Brennan's Blue Hen" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: George Allan England, _Vikings of the Ice: Being the Log of a Tenderfoot on the Great Newfoundland Seal Hunt_ (also published as _The Greatest Hunt in the World_), Doubleday, 1924, pp. 130-131, "Betsy Brennan's Blue Hen" (1 text)
Johnny Burke (John White, Editor), _Burke's Ballads_, no printer listed, n.d. (PDF available on Memorial University of Newfoundland web site), p. 52, "Betsey Brennan's Blue Hen" (1 text)
Johnny Burke (William J. Kirwin, editor), _John White's Collection of Johnny Burke Songs_, Harry Cuff Publications, St. John's, 1981, #36, pp. 58-59, "Betsy Brennan's Blue Hen" (1 text)
Johnny Burke, _Burke's Christmas Songster 1926_, self-published, 1926 (PDF copy avallable on the Memorial University of Newfoundland web site), [no page number], "Betsy Brennan's Blue Hen" (1 text)
Omar Blondahl, "My Little Blue Hen" (on NFOBlondahl02, NFOBlondahl05)
Raymond Noseworthy, "Blue Hen" (on MUNFLA/Leach)
cf. "Nell Flaherty's Drake" (theme, many lines of text, and references there)
NOTES [143 words]: NFOBlondahl02, NFOBlondahl05: This is a version of "Betsy Brennan's Blue Hen" attributed to Johnny Burke in Old-Time Songs and Poetry of Newfoundland 4th ed (1966) p. 76, 5th ed (1978) p. 58 pub by Gerald S Doyle Ltd. [It's also in the 1927 edition - RBW]
Also see "Blue Hen" on the MacEdward Leach and Songs of Atlantic Canada site, copyright owner Memorial University of Newfoundland Folklore and Language Archive. That site refers to Roud #9053, "The Bonny Brown Hen," which shares the theme but is not the same song.
Not related to Bodleian, Harding B 11(402), "The Bonny Brown Hen," Walker (Durham), n.d.
This may have been written by Johnny Burke, but, if so, he must have been singing "Nell Flaherty's Drake" while he was writing "Betsy Brennan's Blue Hen." - BS
For a brief biography of Johnny Burke, see the notes to "The Kelligrew's Soiree." - RBW
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