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Braw Sailin' on the Sea

[ Roud 5537 ; G/D 6:1217 ; Ballad Index Ord203 ; Mudcat 31031 ; trad.]

Bothy Songs and Ballads

Ossian sang Braw Sailin' on the Sea in 1982 on their album Dove Across the Water. Tony Cuffe learned it from John Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads and set it to his own tune.

Simon Haworth & Tina Cooper sang Braw Sailing on the Sea in 1994 on their Fellside cassette The First Shift.

Mick West sang Braw Sailin' on the Sea in 1995 on his Lochshore album Fine Flowers and Foolish Glances. He noted:

This song I first heard recorded by the Glasgow band Ossian, the text can be found in Ord’s Bothy Songs and Ballads, the lovely melody was written by Tony Cuffe.

Kris Drever sang Braw Sailin' on the Sea on his 2007 CD Black Water.

Old Blind Dogs sang Braw Sailin' on their 2007 album Four on the Floor. They noted:

A classic from the Old Blind Dogs' north-east song bible, Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads. […] First heard performed by Ossian then relearned from Orcadian Kris Drever at the sessions in Edinburgh's Central Bar.

2Duos (now Litha; with Old Blind Dogs' Aaron Jones) sang Braw Sailing in 2009 on their CD Until the Cows Come Home. This video shows Litha at the Institute of Musical Traditions, Takoma Park, Maryland, USA on 8 April 2013:

Lynne Heraud and Pat Turner sang Braw Sailing in 2010 on their WildGoose CD Tickled Pink. They noted:

We can’t find any information on this song, but it was given to us by a dear friend, Brian Westcott.

Maalstroom & Jo Freya sang Braw Sailing in 2010 on their No Masters album Meet.

Lori Watson sang Braw Sailin in 2016 on Boreas' CD Ahoy Hoy.

Hannah Rarity sang Braw Sailin' on the Sea, “[a] take on one of my favourite well-known Scots songs”, on her 2018 CD Neath the Gloaming Star.

Lyrics

It's Braw Sailin' on the Sea in Ord Ossian sing Braw Sailin' on the Sea

There cam’ a letter late yestreen,
Our ship maun sail the morn;
Alas, says the honnie lass,
That ever I was born,
To sit so late wi’ my true love,
And part wi’ him the morn.

Oh, there cam’ a letter late yestreen,
Our ship maun sail the morn;
Alas, says the honnie lass,
That ever I was born.

Chorus (after each verse):
And it's braw sailing on the sea
When wind and weather's fair.
It's better to be in my love‘s arms,
And oh gin I were there.

When he cam’ to her father’s gate,
At twelve o’clock at noon,
This girlie, being proud-hearted,
She widna lat him in;
This girlie, being proud-hearted,
She wadna lat him in.

And when he cam’ tae her father’s hoose,
At twelve o’clock at noon,
This lassie, being proud-hearted,
She wadna lat him in.

It’s braw sailin’ on the sea,
When wind and weather’s fair;
It’s better being in my love’s arms,
And O gin I were there;
It’s better being in my love’s arms,
And O gin I were there.

It’s braw drinkin’ Glasgow beer,
It’s better drinkin’ wine;
But it’s better being in my love’s arms,
Where I’ve been mony’s the time;
But it’s better being in my love’s arms,
Where I’ve been mony’s the time.

He’s taen the ring from his pocket,
Which cost him guineas three;
Says, “Tak’ ye that, ye weel-faur’d maid,
And aye think weel o’ me.”
Says, “Tak’ ye that, ye weel-faur’d maid,
And aye think weel o’ me.”

And he’s ta'en a ring frae his pocket,
It cost him guineas three;
Saying, “Tak’ ye that, my bonny lass,
And aye think weel o’ me.”

She’s taen the ring frae her pocket,
Which cost him shillin’s nine;
Says, “Tak’ ye that, my bonnie lad,
For I hae changed my min’.”
Says, “Tak’ ye that, my bonnie lad,
For I hae changed my min’.”

And she’s taen a ring frae her pocket,
It cost him shillin’s nine;
Saying, “Tak’ ye that, my bonny lad,
For I hae changed my mind.”

And it’s braw drinkin’ Glasgow beer,
It’s better drinkin’ wine;
It’s better being in my love’s arms,
Where I’ve been mony’s the time.

Old Blind Dogs sing Braw Sailin' Hannah Rarity sings Braw Sailin' on the Sea

There came a letter yesterday,
Our ship it will sail at morn.
“Alas!” cried my bonny lass,
“That ever I was born.”

There cam a letter late yestreen,
Oor ship maun sail the morn
“Alas,” cried the bonnie lass,
“That ever A was born.”

Chorus (after each verse):
And it's braw sailing on the sea
When wind and weather's fair.
But it's better to be in my love‘s arms,
I wish that I were there.

Chorus:
And it's braw sailin’ on the sea
When wind and weather's fair.
Oh it's better tae be in my love's airms,
And Oh, gin I were there.

So when he went to her farm house,
At twelve o'clock at noon.
The lassie being proud hearted,
She would not let him in.

He’s cam untae her faither’s hoose
At twelve o'clock at noon.
Oh, the lassie bein prood hertid,
She widna let him in.

(Chorus)

So she's ta'en the ring from her pocket,
It cost her shillings nine,
Sayin', “Take this ring, my bonnie lad,
For I have changed my mind.”

But he’s taen a ring frae his pocket,
It cost him guineas three,
Sayin’, “Tak ye that, my bonnie lass,
And aye think weel o me.”

So he's ta'en the ring from his pocket,
It cost him guineas three,
Saying, “Take this ring, my bonnie lass,
And aye think well of me.”

But she’s taen a ring frae her pocket,
It cost her shillings nine,
Sayin’, “Tak ye that, my bonnie lad,
For A hae changed my mind.”

And it's braw drinking Glasgow beer,
It's better drinking wine,
But it's better to be in my love‘s arms,
Where I have been many's the time.

(Chorus)