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Bonnie Bessie Logan

[ Roud 21824 ; trad.]

John Mearns sang Bonnie Bessie Logan in ca 1964-65 on his Scottish Records EP Folk-Songs of the North-East. Producer Douglas Gray commented in the sleeve notes:

Little is known of Bonnie Bessie Logan. This version was taken down from an old lady in Montrose by John Mearns himself. The lady, who was eighty, said that she heard her mother sing it sixty or seventy years before.

Ian Manuel sang Bonnie Bessie Logan on his 1977 Topic album of Scots traditional songs, The Dales of Caledonia. A.L. Lloyd commented in the sleeve notes:

Scotland has been specially prolific in lyrical songs that lie close to folk tradition but are nonetheless the compositions of educated author, whether amateur or professional, anonymous or known. This is one such, with stylised rural poetry set to a good tune that, brisked up, has also served as a march and has been adapted for one or two music hall ditties. Ian Manuel learnt it from the singing of the good Aberdeenshire singer John Mearns.

Bram Taylor sang Bonnie Bessie Logan in 1993 on his Fellside CD Further Horizons. He commented:

A traditional song which I have had for some time (grateful thanks to Paul [Adams] who found an extra verse for me). A beautiful song which may ring true to some men who have reached their middle age crisis!

Jean Redpath sang Bonnie Bessie Logan on her 2000 Greentrax CD Summer of My Dreams. She commented in her liner notes:

A long time favourite of mine, this elusive song was learned from Arthur Argo many years ago. All trails lead back to Aberdeenshire where I look for information. Although the oral tradition is laden with songs, comic and tragic, about arranged marriages and unions where the husband is many years his bride's senior, this is the only one of its kind that I have come across.

Gordon Easton sang Bonnie Bessie Logan, “an old song—one of his grannie's favourites”, at the Fife Traditional Singing Festival, Collessie, Fife, in May 2004. This recording was included in 2005 on the festival CD Here's a Health to the Company (Old Songs & Bothy Ballads Volume 1) and in 2007 on Easton's CD The Last of the Clydesdales.

Lyrics

Gordon Easton sings Bonnie Bessie Logan

Noo bonnie Bessie Logan she’s handsome, young an fair,
And the very wind that blaws, it lingers in her hair;
She’s aye sae fleet and bonnie as she steps ower the lea,
But bonnie Bessie Logan she’s ower young for me.

Noo bonnie Bessie Logan, aa the lads they like her style,
And convoy her up the pathway jist tae see her winning smile;
I fain wad be amang them but, oh na, that canna be,
For bonnie Bessie Logan, aye, she’s ower young for me.

Noo bonnie Bessie Logan, she's stown my hert awa,
And when I think upon her noo, the tears doon saftly fa;
But I'll hae tae live withoot her until the day I dee,
For bonnie Bessie Logan, aye, she’s ower young for me.

Noo bonnie Bessie Logan, I saw her late yestreen,
Wi a rosebud in her bosom, aye, and love-light in her een;
I wad fear the lad that pu'ed that rose he's gaun tae win his plea,
For bonnie Bessie Logan, aye, she’s ower young for me.

Jean Redpath sings Bonnie Bessie Logan

Bonnie Bessie Logan, she’s handsome, young and fair,
And ay the very wind that blaws, it lingers in her hair;
She’s lithesome, lang and lovely as she links o'er the lea,
Bonnie Bessie Logan is ower young for me.

Bonnie Bessie Logan, the lads are at the stile,
And halfway up the loanin' tae gain her winnin' smile;
I fain would be amang them but, ach! that cannae be,
Bonnie Bessie Logan is ower young for me.

Bonnie Bessie Logan, as braw as e'er was seen,
The rose was in her bosom, the lovelicht in her e'en;
And oh! the lad that pu's that rose must surely happy be,
Bonnie Bessie Logan is ower young for me.

Bonnie Bessie Logan, she stole my hert awa',
And when I think upon her, the tears they saftly fa';
But I'll lie wi' anither until the day I dee,
For bonnie Bessie Logan was ower young for me.

Links

See also the Mudcat Café thread Folklore: Bonnie Bessie Logan.