Bogie's Bonnie Bell

Title - Bogie's Bonnie Bell
Contributors - Stanley Robertson
Reporters - Peter R. Cooke
Item Person - Morison, Isabel; Morison, Alexander; Stephen, James

Summary - In this bothy song, a man goes to Huntly where he is fee'd [hired] for six months. Bogie, the farmer, has a beautiful daughter, Isabel, and they go out walking one day, and end up sleeping together. The girl bears a son. Bogie sends for the man to see what can be done. The man admits what has happened, and offers to marry Bell the next day and give the child his name. Bogie refuses, saying that the man is no match for his daughter. He is dismissed from the farm without his fee. The girl eventually marries Souter John, a tinsmith who sells his goods near Foggieloan [Aberchirder]. The man says that the tinsmith may be a better match for Bell, but he takes comfort in the knowledge that is was he who took her maidenhead.

Preceded by an introduction from Stanley Robertson referring to Hamish Henderson's earlier performance of 'Rhynie', at the same cèilidh, and Stanley's dislike of the people around that area. It is based on an incident with a woman on a farm there who would not hire them as they did not have a car, in spite of them having waited hours for buses to get there. He says the song is about the hardships of farm workers who could easily be dismissed without their fee.

Track Duration (h:m:s) - 00:07:27
Date Recorded - 1979.02.15
Date of Content - 1843 to 1843
Language - Scots
Genre - Song, Story, Information
Collection - School of Scottish Studies

Track ID - 68643
Original Tape ID - SA1979.019
Original Track ID - SA1979.19.3
Audio Quality - Good
Audio Format - R2R

Classification - GD1396; R2155;

Recording Location:
  County - Midlothian
  Parish - Edinburgh
  Village - Edinburgh

Item Location:
  County - Aberdeenshire
  Parish - Cairnie
  Village - Boghead Farm

Item Notes - 8 verses.
Peter Hall (Greig-Duncan vol. 7, p. 518) has identified Isabel Morison (b. 20th September 1823 at Boghead Farm, Cairnie) as the heroine of this song. She gave birth to the illegitimate child of James Stephen on 16th June 1843, and the child was named after his father. 'Bogie' was Isabel's father, Alexander Morison (known by the name of his farm).
The song was possibly written by John Geddes, grieve at Boghead farm, Cairnie, in 1865. A related song called 'Adieu to Bogieside' (Roud Folk Song Index no. 4593) would appear to have been submitted to song-collectors of the early 20th century as a more literary version of this original song.
Greig-Duncan vol. 7, pp. 223-231, no. 1396
'Come Gie's a Sang' (S. Douglas, 1995) pp. 86-87
'Folksongs of Britain & Ireland' (P. Kennedy, 1975) p. 766
'A Collection of Scots Songs' (A. Munro & H. Henderson, 1972) p. 15
'Till Doomsday in the Afternoon' (E. MacColl & P. Seeger, 1986) pp. 233-234
'Travellers' Songs from England and Scotland' (E. MacColl & P. Seeger, 1977) pp. 261-262

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