> Anne Briggs > Songs > Maa Bonny Lad

Maa Bonny Lad

[ Roud 204 ; Ballad Index RcMBL ; trad.]

Isla Cameron sang My Bonny Lad on Alan Lomax's 1955 anthology The Columbia World Library of Folk and Primitive Music - Volume III: England. Isla Cameron and Bob Davenport sang My Bonny Lad in 1964 on their album Northumbrian Minstrelsy, and Bob Davenport sang it in 1997 on the Fellside CD The Red Haired Lad.

In 1971, Anne Briggs sang Maa Bonny Lad unaccompanied on her first solo album Anne Briggs. This recording was reissued on her Fellside and Topic compilation CDs, Classic Anne Briggs and A Collection. A.L. Lloyd commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

Sir Richard Runciman Terry, member of a Northumbrian shipping family and a good collector of sailing-ship shanties dredged up this song from childhood memory and gave it to W.G. Whittaker who published it in North Countrie Ballads, Songs and Pipe-Tunes in 1922. In the song, “keel” means a sea-going boat, not the flat-bottomed coal-barges usually associated with the Tyne.

Folly Bridge sang My Bonny Lad in 1991 on their WildGoose cassette All in the Same Tune. Claire Lloyd learned it from Anne Briggs' album.

Marie Robson sang My Bonny Lad on the 2002 Free Reed anthology This Label Is Not Removable: A Celebration of 25 years of Free Reed.

Rachel Unthank & The Winterset sang Ma Bonny Lad in 2007 on their second CD, The Bairns.

Lyrics

Anne Briggs sings Maa Bonny Lad

Have you seen ought of my bonny lad?
Are you sure he's well-o?
He's gone o'er land with a stick in his hand,
He's gone to row the keel-o.

Yes I have seen your bonny lad,
'Twas on the sea I spied him.
His grave is green but not wi' grass
And you'll never lie beside him.

Have you seen ought of my bonny lad?
And are you sure he's well-o?
He's gone o'er land with a stick in his hand,
He's gone to row the keel-o.