> Folk Music > Songs > Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk

Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk / Mickey's Warning

[ Roud 6333 ; Ballad Index RcBlBlBl ; trad.]

Sheila Stewart sang this song as Mickey's Warning in 1985 on the Stewart Family's Lismor album, The Stewarts of Blair. She also sang in to Doc Rowe in Blairgowrie, Perthshire, on October 15, 1998. This recording was included as Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk in 2000 on her Topic CD From the Heart of the Tradition. A recording from Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in January 2001 was released a year later on the Celtic Connections album on the Greentrax label, Scots Women. Doc Rowe commented in the Topic album's booklet:

Another of Sheila's songs—sometimes referred to as Mickey's Warning—from her mother [Belle], who, in turn, had learned it from an old ploughman she met at the annual tattie-lifting. It has been said that his version originally started with what is here verse two and Belle made up the first verse herself.

It is somewhat unusual to have a song with a woman as a drunkard—but, interestingly, there is created a “moral justification” for the wife battering, in that she married the husband only for his money. Sheila sang this in Birmingham and was approached by battered women's refuge to use as a “… theme song” A final verse was added by them to establish a stronger women's viewpoint.

Cilla Fisher sang Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk in 1979 on her and Artie Trezise's eponymous Topic album Cilla & Artie. This track was also included in 2009 on Topic's 30th anniversary album, Three Score and Ten. They commented in their album's liner notes:

We first heard this song by Sheila Stewart at Kinross Festival a number of years ago. Cilla’s brother Archie suggested she add it to her repertoire and we eventually picked up the words from an assistant at the Library of Congress in Washington DC.

Lucky Bags sang Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk in 1998 on their Fellside album Delight in Disorder. Their liner notes say:

A chorus song with strong sentiment, first learned from the singing of Cilla Fisher. If only the subject were less relevant today as it was when first written.

Rachel Unthank & The Winterset sang Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk in 2007 on their album The Bairns, and, in a later incarnation as The Unthanks, on their 2012 collaboration with Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band, Diversions Vol. 2. This video shows them live at Abbey Road Studios in 2008:

Linda Thompson added another verse to Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk when she sang it on her 2013 Topic album, Won't Be Long Now. She noted in the album's booklet:

Growing up in Glasgow, I knew a lot of women like this one. I was related to some of them! It's traditional—Belle Stewart reputedly wrote the first verse, I wrote the fourth. This was recorded live in America [at the Bottom Line, New York City], some years back. I was touring, which is most unlike me.

Katarina Juvančič and Karine Polwart sang a Slovenian-Scottish version called Svarilo Janezu on the former's 2014 album with Dejan Lapanja, Hope's Beautiful Daughter. They commented:

Abuse of women knows no linguistic barriers and neither does the courage to leave.

Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton sang Bleezin' Blind Drunk on their 2015 CD Declaration. They noted:

Inspired by Linda Thompson, and including a verse she penned herself, this song addresses the (sadly) very relevant topic of violence against women. It comes from Scottish singer Sheila Stewart who learned it from her mother, who in turn adapted the song after learning it from a local ploughman. We have re-interpreted this song to speak to what is being described as a modern epidemic; that of domestic and family violence. It is not a song that offers solutions or moral conclusions. Instead, it tells the story from the perspective of the victim; whose only ‘revenge’ is to turn to the bottle in desperation. It also challenges us to try to understand why women suffering such abuse find it so hard to simply ‘leave’ the situation.

Lyrics

Sheila Stewart sings Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk Cilla Fisher sings Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk

Chorus (after each verse):
I'll go an' I'll get blue bleezin' blind drunk,
Just to give Mickey a warning.
And just for to spite I'll stay out all night
And come rollin' home drunk in the morning.

Oh friends I have a sad story,
A very sad story to tell:
I married a man for his money
But he's worse than the devil himsel'.

Now friends I have a sad story,
A very sad story to tell:
I married a man for his money,
And he's worse than the devil himsel'.

For when Mickey comes home I get battered,
He batters me all black and blue;
And if I say a word I get scattered
From the kitchen right ben tae the room.

For when Mickey comes home in the evening
He batters me all black and blue;
He knocks me about from the kitchen
To the bedroom right through to the room.

So I'll go and I'll get blue bleezin' blind drunk,
Just to give Mickey a warning.
And, just for to spite, I will stay out all night
And come rolling home drunk in the morning.

Oh, but whisky I ne'er was a lover
But what can a poor woman do?
I'll go and I'll drown all my sorrows;
How I wish I could drown Mickey too.

For of whisky I ne'er was a lover,
But what can a poor woman do?
I'll go and I'll drown all my sorrows,
But I wish I could drown Mickey too.

(repeat verse 3)

Linda Thompson sings Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk

My friends I have a sad story,
A very sad story to tell:
I married a man for his money,
But he's worse than the devil himself.

For when Mickey gets drunk I get battered,
He batters me all black and blue;
And if I say a word I get scattered
From the kitchen right ben to the room.

So I'll go and I'll get blue bleezin' blind drunk,
Just to give Mickey a warning.
And, just for spite, I will stay out all night
And come rolling home drunk in the morning.

Of whisky I ne'er was a lover
But what can a poor woman do?
I'll go and I'll drown all my sorrows;
But I wish I could drown Mickey too.

All my friends and all my relations,
They tell me that I should leave home.
But as frightened as I am of Mickey
I'm more frightened of being alone.

(repeat verse 3)

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: Blue Bleezin' Blind Drunk.