Song for Boxcar Betty

I’ve got no time for the aisles of fashion
Or the bikinis of Malibu Beach
Don’t take me to where the pool water’s splashing
Where everybody’s skin is soft as a peach
The woman for me doesn’t live in a mansion
Taking baths in a hot tub, drinking whiskey and cream
The woman for me is a fighter with passion
Boxcar Betty is the woman of my dreams

She was a hobo and a tramp
And a rebel through and through
Boxcar Betty, I am yours
For the OBU

She refused to marry rich
Or kiss anybody’s ass
She was proud to be a union woman
And a leader of the working class
She hopped the freights from state to state
With revolution in her eyes
‘Cause she couldn’t stand to hear the sound
Of a hungry child’s cries


Boxcar Betty didn’t give a damn
About what some people said
They called her a free lover
They called her a dirty red
But if I could do anything in life
I would hope to make my stand
Hanging around the jungles
As Boxcar Betty’s right-hand man


Sheet music for this song may be found in Songbook Vol I (1997-2004).

“Song for Boxcar Betty” originally appeared on the 1998 CD, We Just Want the World, and the following year on the CD, Live at Club Passim.

In the course of reading about the IWW and the life of Joe Hill, I came across Boxcar Betty, and wrote this song based in part on stuff I read about her, and in part on my fantasies.