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Lyr Add: Betsy and I Are Out (Will Carleton)

Gene 09 May 10 - 04:59 PM
Jim Dixon 12 May 10 - 04:00 PM
GUEST,Gene 13 May 10 - 09:37 AM
Jim Dixon 16 May 10 - 02:17 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: BETSY AND I ARE OUT (Will Carleton)
From: Gene
Date: 09 May 10 - 04:59 PM

By Will Carleton

May have been recorded by alternate title.

Tex Ritter - Draw Up The Papers, Lawyer
Dave Landers - Same Title

Draw up the papers, lawyer, and make 'em good and stout;
For things at home are crossways, and Betsy and I are out.
We, who have worked together so long as man and wife,
Must pull in single harness for the rest of nat'ral life.

"What is the matter?" say you. I swan it's hard to tell!
Most of the years behind us we've passed by very well;
I have no other woman, she has no other man -
Only we've lived together as long as we ever can.

So I have talked with Betsy, and Betsy has talked with me,
And we've agreed together that we can't ever agree;
Not that we've catched each other in any terrible crime;
We' ve been a-gethering this for years, a little at a time.

There was a stock of temper that we both had for a start,
Altho we never suspected, 'twould take us two apart;
I had my various failings, bred in the flesh and bones;
And Betsy, like all good women, had a temper of her own.

The first thing I remembered whereon we disagreed
Was something concerning heaven - a difference in our creed;
We arg'ed the thing at breakfast- we arg'ed the thing at tea
And the more we arg'ed the question the more we didn't agree.

And the next thing that I remember was when we lost a cow;
She had kicked the bucket for certain, the question was only - How?
I held my own opinion, and Betsy another had;
And when we were done a-talkin' we both of us were mad.

And the next thing that I remember, it started in a joke;
But full for a week it lasted, and neither of us spoke.
And the next was when I scolded because she broke a bowl,
And she said I was mean and stingy, and hadn't any soul.

And so that bowl kept pourin' dissensions in our cup;
And so that blamed cow - critter was always a-comin' up;
And so that heaven we arg'ed no nearer to us got,
But it gave us a taste of somethin' a thousand times as hot.

And so the think kept workin', and all the self-safe way;
Always somethin' to arg'e and somethin' sharp to say;
And down on us came the neighbors, a couple dozen strong,
And lent their kindest service for to help the thing along.

And there has been days together - and many a weary week -
We was both of us cross and spunky, and both too proud to speak;
And I have been thinkin' and thinkin', the whole of the winter and fall,
If I can't live kind with a woman, why, then, I won't at all.

And so I have talked with Betsy, and Betsy has talked with me,
And we have agreed together that we can't never agree;
And what is hers shall be hers, and what is mine shall be mine;
And I'll put it in the agreement, and take it to her to sign.

Write it on the paper, lawyer - the very first paragraph -
Of all the farm and livestock that she shall have her half;
For she has helped to earn it, through many a weary day,
And it's nothing more then justice that Betsy has her pay.

Give her the house and homestead - a man can thrive and roam;
But woman are skeery critters, unless they have a home;
And I have always determined, and never failed to say,
That Betsy should never want a home if I was taken away.

There is a little hard money that's drawin' tol'rable pay;
A couple of hundred dollars laid by for a rainy day;
Safe in the hands of good men, and easy to get at;
Put in another clause there, and give her half of that.

Yes, I see you smile, Sir, at my given' her so much;
Yes, divorce is cheap, Sir, but I take no stock in such!
True and fair I married her, when she was blithe and young;
And Betsy was always good to me, exceptin' with her tongue.

Once, when I was young as you, and not so smart, perhaps,
For me she smittened a lawyer, and several other chaps;
And all of them were flustered, and fairly taken down,
And I for a time was counted the luckiest man in town.

Once when I had a fever - I won't forget it soon -
I was hot as a basted turkey and crazy as a loon;
Never an hour went by me when she was out of sight -
She nursed me true and tender, and stuck to me day and night.

And if ever a house was tidy, and ever a kitchen clean,
Her house and kitchen was tidy, as any I ever seen;
And I don't complain of Betsy, or any of her acts,
Exceptin' when we've quarreled, and told each other facts.

And so draw up the papers, lawyer, and I'll go home tonight,
And read the agreement to her, and see if it's alright;
And then, in the mornin', I'll send you to a tradin' man I know,
And kiss the child that was left to us, and out in the world I'll go.

And one thing put in the paper, that first to me didn't occur;
That when I'm dead at last she'll bring me back to her;
And lay me under the maples I planted years ago,
When she and I were happy before we quarreled so.

And when she dies I wish that she would be laid by me,
And lyin' together in silence, perhaps we will agree;
And if ever we meet in heaven, I wouldn't think it queer
If we loved each other better because we quarreled here.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Betsy and I Are Out (Will Carleton)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 12 May 10 - 04:00 PM

Brilliant! I've never heard that one before. It's a good 'un!

The Online 78-rpm Discography Project lists a record by Dave Landers: DRAW UP THE PAPERS, LAWYER -b/w- HOW MANY HEARTS DO YOU HAVE? (M-G-M 10682, 1950).

However, that might not be the same song. I found this message in The Steel Guitar Forum:
    Jerry Hayes from Virginia Beach, Va.
    Post Posted 30 Jun 2002 11:00 am
    Back in the fifties when I was a kid there was a song played a lot on the radio called "Draw Up the Papers, Lawyer". As I remember, the artist did vocal impersonations on the record of people like Roy Acuff, Tex Ritter, Ernest Tubb, Gene Autry, etc. The lyrics went like this:

    Draw up the papers, lawyer.
    What else is there to do?
    Although she knows I love her,
    She says that we are through.

    With no one here to love him,
    What's a man to do but roam?
    So give her the key to your homestead,
    For a woman needs a home.

    Maybe someday in Heaven,
    We hope can set things right,
    So draw up the papers, lawyer.
    I'll sign them all tonight.
Now that sounds to me as if it was inspired by BETSY AND I ARE OUT, if it's not the same song.

I can't find any discography anywhere that says Tex Ritter recorded it, under either title. Maybe Landers' imitations gave rise to someone's erroneous belief that it was really Ritter.

Watch this space for more information.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Betsy and I Are Out (Will Carleton)
From: GUEST,Gene
Date: 13 May 10 - 09:37 AM

I think you are right, Jim.

And, a variation, possibly, was recorded by Bennie Earl [?].


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Subject: Lyr Add: HOW BETSEY AND I MADE UP (Will Carleton)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 16 May 10 - 02:17 PM

The text of BETSEY AND I ARE OUT—as a poem, not a song—can be seen in Farm Ballads by Will Carleton (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1874), page 17.

The text is (at first glance) identical to that posted by Gene above, except for the spelling BETSEY [sic].

BETSEY AND I ARE OUT is the first poem in the book; the second is below.


Give us your hand, Mr. Lawyer: how do you do to-day?
You drew up that paper—I s'pose you want your pay.
Don't cut down your figures; make it an X or a V;
For that 'ere written agreement was just the makin' of me.

Goin' home that evenin' I tell you I was blue,
Thinkin' of all my troubles, and what I was goin' to do;
And if my hosses hadn't been the steadiest team alive,
They'd've tipped me over, certain, for I couldn't see where to drive.

No—for I was laborin' under a heavy load;
No—for I was travelin' an entirely different road;
For I was a-tracin' over the path of our lives ag'in,
And seein' where we missed the way, and where we might have been.

And many a corner we'd turned that just to a quarrel led,
When I ought to've held my temper, and driven straight ahead;
And the more I thought it over the more these memories came,
And the more I struck the opinion that I was the most to blame.

And things I had long forgotten kept risin' in my mind,
Of little matters betwixt us, where Betsey was good and kind;
And these things flashed all through me, as you know things sometimes will
When a feller's alone in the darkness, and every thing is still.

"But," says I, "we're too far along to take another track,
And when I put my hand to the plow I do not oft turn back:
And 'tain't an uncommon thing now for couples to smash in two;"
And so I set my teeth together, and vowed I'd see it through.

When I come in sight o' the house 'twas some'at in the night,
And just as I turned a hill-top I see the kitchen light;
Which often a han'some pictur' to a hungry person makes,
But it don't interest a feller much that's goin' to pull up stakes.

And when I went in the house the table was set for me—
As good a supper's I ever saw, or ever want to see;
And I crammed the agreement down my pocket as well as I could,
And fell to eatin' my victuals, which somehow didn't taste good.

And Betsey, she pretended to look about the house,
But she watched my side coat pocket like a cat would watch a mouse;
And then she went to foolin' a little with her cup,
And intently readin' a newspaper, a-holdin' it wrong side up.

And when I'd done my supper I drawed the agreement out,
And give it to her without a word, for she knowed what 'twas about;
And then I hummed a little tune, but now and then a note
Was bu'sted by some animal that hopped up in my throat.

Then Betsey she got her specs from off the mantel-shelf,
And read the article over quite softly to herself;
Read it by little and little, for her eyes is gettin' old,
And lawyers' writin' ain't no print, especially when it's cold.

And after she'd read a little she give my arm a touch,
And kindly said she was afraid I was 'lowin' her too much;
But when she was through she went for me, her face a-streamin' with tears,
And kissed me for the first time in over twenty years!

I don't know what you'll think, Sir—I didn't come to inquire—
But I picked up that agreement and stuffed it in the fire;
And I told her we'd bury the hatchet alongside of the cow;
And we struck an agreement never to have another row.

And I told her in the future I wouldn't speak cross or rash
If half the crockery in the house was broken all to smash;
And she said, in regards to heaven, we'd try and learn its worth
By startin' a branch establishment and runnin' it here on earth.

And so we sat a-talkin' three-quarters of the night,
And opened our hearts to each other until they both grew light;
And the days when I was winnin' her away from so many men
Was nothin' to that evenin' I courted her over again.

Next mornin' an ancient virgin took pains to call on us,
Her lamp all trimmed and a-burnin' to kindle another fuss;
But when she went to pryin' and openin' of old sores,
My Betsey rose politely, and showed her out-of-doors.

Since then I don't deny but there's been a word or two;
But we've got our eyes wide open, and know just what to do:
When one speaks cross the other just meets it with a laugh,
And the first one's ready to give up considerable more than half.

Maybe you'll think me soft, Sir, a-talkin' in this style,
But somehow it does me lots of good to tell it once in a while;
And I do it for a compliment—'tis so that you can see
That that there written agreement of yours was just the makin' of me.

So make out your bill, Mr. Lawyer: don't stop short of an X;
Make it more if you want to, for I have got the checks.
I'm richer than a National Bank, with all its treasures told,
For I've got a wife at home now that's worth her weight in gold.

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