Mrs Dempsey (Johnny Burke)

You may talk about your singers
that come here from near or far,
But just listen to Mrs Dempsey
and you'll say she is a star;
She can rise from "L" to "W",
her voice it is that strong,
And you'd walk to Isle o' Valen
for to hear her sing a song.

The high notes she can take them
with no effort, none at all,
And when she starts a solo
you could hear a building fall;
Her voice is loud and also sweet,
her time is measured well,
And she'd sing till Easter Sunday
without trying to take a spell.

Well her voice is not a tenor,
a contralto or a bass,
But when you hear her in the block
the spot you cannot pass;
The stars will shiver in the sky,
the moon turn upside down,
When she warbles at the finish,
and the house is coming down.

Men that travelled through
Australia, Philadelphia and elsewhere,
Say the like of Betsy Dempsey
they are prepared to swear;
In fancy shows or theatres
in Spain or Santa Fe,
They can't come near her hinder heel
when she starts on high G.

She can also take the highest note
with range both sweet and low,
That you can hear her in a cellar
when she takes the octave low;
You may talk about Ann Kennedy,
Bridge Mansfield or Sue Long,
But they're only pigeons' livers
with sweet Betsy in a song.

####.... Johnny Burke [1851-1930] of St John's, NL ....####
Published in Burke's Ballads, p.25, c.1960, compiled by John White and archived at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Libraries, Centre For Newfoundland Studies - Digitized Books collection.

See more songs by Johnny Burke

From Dictionary.net:
Hinder - of or belonging to that part or end which is in the rear, or which follows; as, the hinder part of a wagon; the hinder parts of a horse. [1913 Webster].

From Wikipedia:
Isle of Valen - island off St Leonard's in the Western Channel of Placentia Bay established in 1856. The Way Office was changed to Post Office in 1891. The name was changed to its present calling of Isle Valen or Valen Island sometime before 1968. It was a small place with only 23 families and was officially depopulated on September 17, 1968.


Index Page
GEST Songs Of
Newfoundland And Labrador


~ Copyright Info ~

~ Privacy Policy ~

Confirm Valid XHTML 1.0 Transitional Here