In the UK just after the war the National Health Service instituted a programme for the benifit of young children which involved the distribution of cod liver oil (did they know about Omega-3 back then) and orange juice (vitamin C). Perhaps they were items for the underprivileged and the people growing up in the slums of glasgow like the Gorbals.
Cod liver oil and orange juice was what a woman who was expecting a baby got, free. That was in the days before Margaret Thatcher became minister of health. She also stopped free distribution of milk to school children and became known as "Thatcher Thatcher the baby's milk snatcher"
This song was made by Hamish Imlach and takes a wry look at the "hard man" from Brigton a predominately protestant area and "Hairy Mary who most likely was a catholic from the Gorbals.
The dialogue between Mary and her "hard man" is what you would encounter at the Denistoun Palais or even the Locarno ballroom or up the Barrowlands and it uses lots of Glasgow slang and consists of Mary rebuffing the protestant "Billy Boy" from Brigton.
Sectarianism is rife in Glasgow as is still evidenced at the ol' Firm football matches between protestant/Rangers/Blue and Catholic/Celtic/Green
"So don't wear a green scarf in Brigton
Or a blue scarf in Cumberland Street
No unless your a heavy weight champion
Or hell o a quick on yer feet"
Cumberland Street was located in the Gorbals slums which which provides further evidence that "Hairy Mary" was Catholic. The frisson that exists in the dance hall captures the dichotomy that endures between Catholic/Protestant "what a hell of a mixture" VP/Cider.
You have to listen to Hamish Imlach singing the song and his comic timing is superb and with all good folk songs from the 60's it had to have a chorus for audience participation.
But he did have a serious side also have a listen to his Macpherson's Farewell
Here are the words of the song with some annotation provided mostly by Hamish himself.
Or there is an interesting discussion in the mudcat cafe