Sweet Betsy from Pike

traditional

This is a song which I might have ignored, since it seemed like such a worn out chestnut, but I found some verses in my library of folk song books which gave the old gal quite a bit of spunk. What’s wonderful about the song is that it very accurately describes the trials of the trip west across the Oregon or California trails. Another interesting fact is that, although relatively few women actually went west in the Gold Rush, the two best-known songs about it are both about women, being this one and “My Darling Clementine,” which is also, sadly, seldom heard.

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