The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #23183   Message #2252850
Posted By: GUEST,Woody Thomas
03-Feb-08 - 09:16 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: That Old Tattooed Lady
Subject: RE:That Old Tattooed Lady, aka Scotch Tattoed Lady
On 21 Feb 01, Don Firth wrote:

I remember Walt Robertson singing a thing called The Scotch Tattooed Lady, which starts out

I paid a bob to see
A Scotch tattooed lad-ee
She was a sight to see
Tattooed from head to knee

and winds up with

. . . But what I like best
Was right across her chest:
My home in Tennessee!

I have a recording of this song sung by Walt Robertson at a Swarthmore College folk festival in the late 1940s. It has three verses, but unfortunately, Walt bobbled a line in the third verse, and I have been trying to find the lyrics off and on for a number of years to learn what the word he messed up is upposed to be.

The line with the lost word runs,
"She was good to see
You can take it from me,
Both for like? minds and for _______s."

The last word is slurred or mumbled or something. I think he forgot what he was supposed to sing at that moment. I'm not sure that the questioned word was "like" -- it might have been "light" or something else.

The first verse might have gone something like this (many of the lines are interchangeable from one verse to another):

"I gave (or paid) a bob to see
A Scotch tattooed la-dee.
She was a sight to see,
Tottooed from head to knee.
And all that she wore
Was the flag of Singapore,
While around her thighs
Hung the Bridge of Sighs,
Neath the Royal Flying Corps.
And runnin round her neck
Was a bobby or two, by heck,
And painted on her nose
Was two big Hindu toes,
And over her liver
Was a bottle of Green River,
But what I liked best,
Right across her chest
Was my home in Tennessee.

The second verse, as Walt sang it, began,
"I'd give 10 pounds to see
Once more that Scotch la-dee.
Tattooed from head to knee,
She was a sight to see."

The third verse began,
"Now wouldn't you like to see
That Scotch tattoed la-dee.
She was a sight to see,
Tattooed from head to knee."

The other two penultimate lines are
"Over her tummy was an old Egyptiam mummy."
"Over her kidney was a birdeseye view of Sydney."

I found this site in one more attempt to solve the problem of the missing word, but so far no success.

If anyone has an answer, I can be reached at