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Annachie Gordon

[ Roud 102 ; Child 239 ; G/D 5:1021 ; Ballad Index C239 ; trad.]

Nic Jones sang the ballad Annachie Gordon on his 1977 album The Noah's Ark Trap. This track was also included on the Trailer anthology Never the Same. He also recorded it twice for a BBC Radio 1 John Peel Session on July 8, 1976, broadcast July 23, 1976, and on April 19, 1977, broadcast April 26, 1977. Probably one of these versions is on his CD Unearthed but the liner notes didn't mention the actual source of the recording. Nic Jones commented though:

For Annachie Gordon I adapted the tune found in Christie's Traditional Ballad Airs and collated verses from Lord Saltoun & Auchanachie (Buchan's Ballads of the North of Scotland), Young Annochie (Murison MS), and Lord Saltoun & Annachie (Christie's Traditional Ballad Airs).

John Wesley Harding also sang Annachie Gordon on his Nic Jones tribute album, Trad Arr Jones.

June Tabor and the Oysterband also performed Anachie Gordon for a BBC Radio 1 John Peel Session recorded on November 27, 1990 and broadcast January 5, 1991. According to the Always sleeve notes, they weren't satisfied with this performance though and didn't use it again. June did perform it again in a duo with Mark Emerson playing drone and viola. A live recording from McCabe's Guitar Shop, Santa Monica on March 21, 1991 can be found on her 4CD anthology Always.

Joe Ray sang Achnachie Gordon on his 2001 Musical Tradition anthology of ballads, songs and stories from Ayrshire, The Broom Blooms Bonny. Rod Stradling noted in the accompanying booklet:

This ballad, from the far north-east of Scotland—the Gordon family estate was near Elgin, while the Frasers of Saltoun lived at Philorth, near Fraserborough—tells a story that is relatively common in folksong and folklore; namely the forced marriage of a young girl to a rich suitor, so that her family may benefit from the family’s estate. In this case the girl dies, as does her truelove when he returns from sea and is shown her corpse. John Rogerson, Joe’s grandfather, learnt the ballad in South Africa, where it was sung by a fellow Gordon Highlander sometime during the Boer War.

According to Sheila Douglas: “The pronunciation of Auchanachie has to be seen in the context of Gaelic, from which it comes. A broad vowel must be followed by a broad vowel in the spelling of a word (and a narrow vowel by a narrow) and these extra vowels are not pronounced. The pronunciation today is Annachie—often aspirated consonants disappear in spoken Gaelic.”

Corrina Hewat sang Annachie Gordon at Celtic Connections at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in January 2001. A recording of this was included in the following year on the festival's anthlogy on the Greentrax label, Scots Women. This video shows them in an unnamed TV show in 2012 or earlier:

The Unthanks sang Annachie Gordon in 2009 on their CD Here's the Tender Coming. Becky Unthank sang lead and commented in the CD notes:

This is a song I've loved for years. The words are just heartbreaking and it's one of the stories that captured me growing up listening to Nic Jones. I got this version from him.

Jon Boden sang Anachie Gordon as the January 29, 2011 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

In this video, Jackie Oates sings Annachie Gordon accompanied by Belinda O'Hooley on piano as s part of the “In Search of Nic Jones” concert at the Ham Marquee, Sidmouth, on August 5, 2010:


Nic Jones sings Annachie Gordon Joe Ray sings Achnachie Gordon

Buchan, it's bonny, oh and there lives my love;
My heart it lies on him, it will not remove.
It will not remove for all that I have done,
Oh never will I forget my love Annachie.

For Annachie Gordon, oh he's bonny and he's braw,
He'd entice any woman that ever him saw.
He'd entice any woman and so he has done me,
Oh never will I forget my love Annachie

Achnachie Gordon is bonny and braw,
He would tempt ony woman that ever he saw.
He would tempt ony woman, sae has he tempted me,
And I’ll dee if I getna my love Achnachie.

Down came her father, standing on the floor,
Saying, “Jeanie, you're trying the tricks of a whore.
You care nothing for a man who cares so very much for thee;
You must marry with Lord Saltoun and leave Young Annachie.

In comes her faither skipping on the floor,
Says, “Jeannie, you are trying the tricks of a whore.
Ye’re carin for them that cares naething for thee.
Ye maun mairry Saltoun, forget Achnachie.”

“For Annachie Gordon he's only but a man
Although he may be pretty but where are all his lands?
Saltoun's lands are broad and his towers they stand high;
You must marry with Lord Saltoun and forget Young Annachie.”

“Achnachie Gordon he is but a man,
Although he be pretty, whaur lies his free land?
Saltoun’s houms they lie bonny, his toors they stand hie,
Ye maun mairry Saltoun, forget Achnachie.”

“With Annachie Gordon oh I'd beg for my bread
Before that I'd marry Saltoun with gold to my head.
With gold to my head and with gowns fringed to the knee,
Oh I'll die if I don't get my love Annachie.

“And you that are my parents, oh to church you may me bring,
Ah but unto Lord Saltoun, oh I'll never bear a son.
Oh, A son or a daughter, oh I'll never bow my knee,
Oh, I'll die if I don't get my love Annachie.”

“Ye that are my parents to church may me bring,
But unto young Saltoun I‘ll ne’er bear a son.
For son or for daughter I’ll ne’er bow my knee,
And I’ll dee if I getna my love Achnachie.”

When Jeanie was married and from church she was brought home,
And she and her maidens so merry should have been.
When she and her maidens so merry should have been
Oh, she's gone to a chamber and she's crying all alone.

When Jeannie was mairrit from church was brocht hame,
When wi aa her maidens sae merry should hae been.
When wi aa her maidens sae merry should hae been,
She’s called for a chamber to weep there her lane.

“Come to bed now Jeanie, oh my honey and my sweet,
For to style you my mistress it would not be meet.”
“Oh it's mistress or Jeanie, it's all the same to me,
For it's in your bed, Lord Saltoun, I never shall be.”

“Come to your bed, Jeannie, my honey and my sweet,
For to style you mistress, I do not think it meet.”
“Mistress or Jeannie, it is aa yin tae me,
For it’s in your bed, Saltoun, I never will be.”

And up and spoke her father and he's spoken with renown,
“All you who are her maidens won't you loosen off her gown.”
But she fell down in a swoon, so low down by their knees,
Saying, “Look on, for I'm dying for my love Annachie.”

Then oot spak her faither, he spak with renown,“
Some o’ you that are her maidens, ye’ll loose aff her goun.
Some o’ you that are her maidens, ye’ll loose aff her goun,
And I’ll mend the mairriage wi ten thousand croon.”

Then yin o’ her maidens they loosed aff her goun,
But bonny Jeannie Gordon she fell in a swoon.
She fell in a swoon low down by their knee,
Sayin, “Look on, I dee for my love Achnachie.”

The day that Jeanie married was the day that Jeanie died
That's the day that young Annachie come rolling from the tide

That very same mornin Miss Jeannie did dee,
Aye and hame come Achnachie, hame frae the sea.
Her faither and mither welcomed him at the yett,
He said, “Where’s Miss Jeannie that she’s nae here yet?”

And down came her maidens and they're wringing of their hands,
Saying, “Woe to you, Annachie, for staying from the sands.
So long from the land and so long upon the flood,
Oh they've married your Jeanie and now she is dead.”

Then forth come her maidens all wringing their hauns,
Sayin, “Alas for your staying sae lang frae the land.
Sae lang frae the land and sae lang frae the fleed,
They hae wadded your Jeannie and noo she is deid.”

“All you that are her maidens, won't you take me by the hand?
Won't you lead me to the chamber that my love lies in?”
And he's kissed her cold lips until his heart turned to stone,
And he's died in the chamber where his true love lay in.

“Some o’ you that are maidens, tak me by the haund,
An show me the chamber that Jeannie dee’d in.”
He’s kissed her cauld lips that were caulder than stane,
An he’s dee’d in the chamber that Jeannie dee’d in.


See also the Mudcat Café thread Origins: Annachie Gordon.