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Origins: Braw Sailin' on the Sea / Braw Sailing

18 Feb 01 - 09:53 PM (#401179)
Subject: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: GUEST,Grizzly

Does anyone have the lyrics to Braw Sailin' On The Sea? I've heard it as sung by Ossian a few years back, and understand that Eileen McGann does a bang up job of it on a recent album.


18 Feb 01 - 10:17 PM (#401186)
Subject: Lyr Add: BRAW SAILING
From: Julia

Here's how I sing it
There is a version in Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads- the verses are in different order but essentially the same - no melody noted there. I use Ossian's melody

BRAW SAILING

There cam' a letter late yestreen
The Ship maun sail the morn
"Alas!" Cried the bonny lass
That ever I was born

CHORUS
And it's Braw sailing on the sea
When wind and weather's fair
It's better tae be in my love's airms
An' oh, gin I were there

And when he cam tae her faither's hoos
At twelve o'clock at noon
This lassie bein' prude hairted
She wouldna let him in

So he's ta'e a ring frae his pocket
It cost him guineas three
Sayin' "Tak ye that my bonnie lass
An' aye think weel o'me"

Then she's ta'en a ring frae her pocket
It cost him shillings nine
Sayin'"Tak ye that my bonnie lad
For I ha'e changed my min'"

An' it's braw drinkin' Glasgow beer
It's better drinkin' wine
It's better tae be in my love's airms
Where I've been money's the time


Ossian recording: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhli0-__FBE&feature=youtu.be

Susie Malcolm: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-hIBkhYupU


18 Feb 01 - 11:29 PM (#401217)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Naemanson

Chords?


19 Feb 01 - 06:16 AM (#401329)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Wolfgang

A thanks for the lyrics from me too. I know it from the singing of the McCalmans.

Wolfgang


19 Feb 01 - 12:53 PM (#401513)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Naemanson

Chords, please?


19 Feb 01 - 08:11 PM (#401865)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Naemanson

Pretty please?


19 Feb 01 - 08:33 PM (#401878)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Julia

Jeez!! When I land back on whatever planet it is that I live on, I'll get the chords to ya!! Right now I need to sleep- just spent 7 hours in recording mastering lab...


20 Feb 01 - 07:47 AM (#402079)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Naemanson

Thank you, Julia.

Will you and Fred be able to join us for Mocha Cafe this Saturday?


21 Feb 01 - 04:01 AM (#402760)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Wolfgang

correction due to my bad memory: the version I know is also from Ossian.

Wolfgang


21 Feb 01 - 03:52 PM (#403078)
Subject: Lyr Add: BRAW SAILING (Eileen McGann's version)
From: black walnut

Eileen McGann's version:
(from her album 'Journeys')


BRAW SAILING
(Eileen McGann's version)

The letter came late yestere'en
The ship must sail the morn
'Alas', then cried my own true love
'That ever I was born'

CHORUS:
And it's braw sailing on the sea
When wind and weather is fair
It's better being in my love's arm
And oh that I were there

The moon rose full o'er the deep
Where sea and sky do meet
But naught I heard but the murmuring wave
That broke upon my feet

Distant shores be fair and wild
And friends in ports be dear
But in every song and every glass
I wish my love were near

It's braw drinking Glasgow beer
It's better drinking wine
It's better being in my love's arms
Where I've been many's the time


21 Feb 01 - 05:38 PM (#403177)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Julia

Alright, Naemanson, here are your chords-

C Am Em G There cam a letter late yestreen

C G The ship maun leave the morn

Am F C F Alas cries the bonnie lass

C G F That ever I was born

(Resolve to C at the end of the song)


21 Feb 01 - 06:28 PM (#403231)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: black walnut

It also sounds GREAT in DADGAD! (which i'm 99.999% sure is how eileen plays it)

~black walnut


21 Feb 01 - 10:58 PM (#403409)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Naemanson

Thank you, Julia.


22 Feb 01 - 10:01 AM (#403674)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: black walnut

I'd be interested to know how the 2 versions we've posted have come to be so different. Does anyone know? They seem to be telling two very different stories.

~black walnut


22 Feb 01 - 10:03 AM (#403675)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: black walnut

I'd be interested to know how the 2 versions we've posted have come to be so different. Does anyone know? They seem to be telling two very different stories.

~black walnut


22 Feb 01 - 10:09 AM (#403678)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: black walnut

sorry 'bout that.


26 Feb 01 - 05:51 PM (#406720)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: GUEST,Grizzly

Much appreciated. Ya know, from the Ossian recording I'd swear they were singing "And Oak and I were there..." :)

---- 'Scuse me while I kiss this guy...


07 Oct 01 - 08:41 PM (#567110)
Subject: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: GUEST,gacan@peoplepc.com

Could anyone help me. I'm trying to find the lyrics for Braw Sailin' On The Sea Ossian recorded this sometime in the early 80's


02 Sep 09 - 12:43 PM (#2714670)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: GUEST,mandy

kris drever's recorded it now too


02 Sep 09 - 01:09 PM (#2714697)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Acorn4

Eileen McGann sings the song in D which would imply that her partner David K who does her guitar work would be playing in either open D or DADGAD.


02 Sep 09 - 01:19 PM (#2714706)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Acorn4

Just been on Eileen's Myspace and the song is available as a download.

http://www.myspace.com/eileenmcgann


02 Sep 09 - 01:57 PM (#2714747)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: GUEST,kenny

Disappointing that no-one's pointed out above that it was Tony Cuffe [ RIP ] who sang the song with "Ossian", and I'm 99% certain that the melody used was Tony's own. "Ord's Bothy Ballads" was a great source for Tony, and he saved several good songs from obscurity by re-working the lyrics and putting them to his own tunes.I'm sure I still have a recording of him singing "Braw Sailin'" at one of the Aberdeen Folk Clubs in the early 1970s, years before he joined "Ossian". Credit where it's due, please, people.


02 Sep 09 - 02:24 PM (#2714767)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: The Borchester Echo

Here's (roughly) how Kris Drever does it:

D                        A
There came a letter late yestreen
D                        A
The ship maun sail the morn
Bm      G       F#m    G
Alas cried the bonny lass
D         A      G
That ever I was born

CHORUS
D                            A
And it's braw sailing on the sea
D                         A
When wind and weather's fair
Bm             G    F#m       G
It's better tae be in my love's arms
D    A          G
Oh gin I were there


02 Sep 09 - 07:51 PM (#2715043)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: GUEST,Gerry

Point of information for those of us who grew up decimal; I take it guineas three is considerably more than shillings nine?

The song was done very nicely by Gordon McIntyre and Kate Delaney. I think it was on the Caledonia Dreaming album.


03 Sep 09 - 03:20 AM (#2715202)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Declan

A guinea was one score shillings and one.


03 Sep 09 - 03:29 AM (#2715205)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: gnomad

For those who are unsure what a score is (20) three guineas is just seven times as much as nine shillings.

Nice song, and one I had forgotten about, thanks for the reminder.


03 Sep 09 - 05:03 PM (#2715717)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: JHW

Eileen McGann's sleeve notes say "This song had it's beginnings in Scotland and has 'evolved' en route via Nova Scotia and Calgary".
If I remember right her live introduction was that she had only a verse and chorus (and melody I guess) to which she added verses.


18 Feb 11 - 02:27 PM (#3098134)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' on the Sea
From: GUEST,Richard

This song is also on an album called Secret Orders by Claire Mann and Aaron Jones. The latter sings it with the Old Blind Dogs. They use the rings in pocket version.

In the lyrics added by Julia "money" should perhaps by "mony" or "monie" - the Scots version of "many" and nothing to do with cash. That may not be obvious to those not familiar with a Scottish accent.


20 Feb 11 - 12:22 PM (#3099121)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' on the Sea
From: Jim Dixon

From The English and Scottish Popular Ballads, Part 9 by Francis James Child (Boston: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1804), page 260. This is in the "Additions and Corrections" appendix, under the heading 219. The Gardener:

A fragment in Motherwell's MS., obtained from Widow Nicol, 'It's braw sailing here,' p. 110, has something of both pieces without any suggestion of the flower-dress.

1. It's braw sailing here,
And it's braw sailing there,
And it's braw sailing on the seas
When wind and tide are fair.

2. It's braw drinking beer,
And it's braw drinking wine,
And it's braw courting a bonnie lass
When she is in her prime.

3. O the gardener sent me word,
He that pued the rose for me,
The willow, primrose, the red rose,
But I denied all three.

4. The willow I'll deny,
The primrose it buds soon,
But I'll chuse for me the red rose,
And I vow it'll stand till June.

5. In June my red rose sprung,
It was not a rose for me,
So I'll pull the top of my red rose,
And I'll plant the willow-tree.

6. For the willow I must wear,
With sorrows mixed amang,
And all the neighbours far and near
Say I luved a false luve lang.


[Verse] 2 [line] 2. braw altered to better.


20 Feb 11 - 02:44 PM (#3099210)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' on the Sea
From: Herga Kitty

Also recorded by Lynne Heraud and Pat Turner.

Kitty


20 Feb 11 - 05:37 PM (#3099341)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' on the Sea
From: Zen

I sing the rings in pockets version in a similar setting to Kris Drever's.


24 Mar 20 - 04:12 PM (#4041877)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' on the Sea
From: GUEST,Sandra

Does anyone know where I can find some sheet music, or the melody line to this song? Thanks!


24 Mar 20 - 05:04 PM (#4041890)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' on the Sea
From: GUEST,Starship

GUEST,Sandra, are you able to learn it by ear??


24 Mar 20 - 06:30 PM (#4041914)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' on the Sea
From: GUEST,kenny

Read with your ears :)

https://youtu.be/xhli0-__FBE


04 Jun 20 - 01:46 PM (#4057240)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Braw Sailin' On The Sea
From: Bearheart

Recently found this song on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xhli0-__FBE) while looking for another Ossian song. No words for how much I like it.

Grateful to now have words and chords...

Jim Dixon's post re The Gardener (child 219) is very enlightening.


04 Jun 20 - 02:24 PM (#4057245)
Subject: RE: Origins: Braw Sailin' on the Sea / Braw Sailing
From: Joe Offer

Here's the Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

It's Braw Sailin' on the Sea

DESCRIPTION: "There cam a letter late yestreen, Our ship maun sail in the morn." The girl gives back his ring, declaring, "Tak that, my bonnie lad, For I hae changed my mind." The song is largely comparisons: "It's braw sailing on the sea, It's better drinkin' wine."
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1904 (GreigDuncan6)
KEYWORDS: love sailor separation betrayal ring
FOUND IN: Britain(Scotland(Aber))
REFERENCES (3 citations):
Greig #129, p. 1, "It's Braw Sailin' on the Sea" (1 text)
GreigDuncan6 1217, "It's Braw Sailin' on the Sea" (3 texts, 3 tunes)
Ord, p. 203, "It's Braw Sailin' on the Sea" (1 text)

Roud #5537
File: Ord203

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Song List

Go to the Ballad Index Instructions
Go to the Ballad Index Bibliography or Discography

The Ballad Index Copyright 2020 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


04 Jun 20 - 02:51 PM (#4057252)
Subject: RE: Origins: Braw Sailin' on the Sea / Braw Sailing
From: Steve Gardham

This same problem demonstrated here is very common where a commonplace gets attached to several songs but becomes the title of several of them. They are therefore separate songs with little in common. The verse was printed in English, Irish and Scottish versions of The Sprig of Thyme and the related Seeds of Love in the late 18th century, and there are versions of the ballad going back to London printings in the 17th century but not that verse.

Here's the same stuff from a garland printed from Forrest of Edinburgh in the 1760s:

Brave sailing there, my dear,
And better Sailing here
And 'tis brave sailing 'twixt my love's arms,
O! If I were there.

A Waterford version has

There are fine boats sailing here,
And steam carriages on the line,
I wish I was in my love's arms
That stole this heart of mine.

And a later English version printed in Manchester c1850.

It's very well drinking ale,
And it's very well drinking wine
But it's far better sitting on a young man's knee
That's won this heart of mine..

There's a superb recording of Joseph Taylor on Unto Brigg Fair singing
his version with this verse.


04 Jun 20 - 03:19 PM (#4057258)
Subject: RE: Origins: Braw Sailin' on the Sea / Braw Sailing
From: Joe Offer

Yeah, Steve, but mostly this thread is the song about the letter that came yestreen.
Here's the version in Ord, very similar to the version posted by Julia way up top.

IT'S BRAW SAILIN' ON THE SEA.

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

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.

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."

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'."


Source: Ord's Bothy Songs and Ballads, page 203


04 Jun 20 - 06:00 PM (#4057299)
Subject: ADD Version Braw Sailin' on the Sea / Braw Sailing
From: Joe Offer

IT'S BRAW SAILIN' ON THE SEA
There Came a Letter


There cam a letter late yestreen
Wer ship man sails the morn
Alas says the bonnie lass
That ever I was born
To sit sae late wi' my true love
And pairt wi him the morn.

As he cam till her father's gate
At twelve o' clock at noon
This girlie being proud hearted
She wadna lat him in
This girlie being proud hearted
She wadna lat him in.

It's braw sailin on the sea
When wind and weather's fine
But it's better being in my love's arms
Faur 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.

It's braw sailin on the sea
When wind and weather's fair
But it's better being in my love's arms
It's oh gin I was there
But it's better being in my love's arms
It's oh gin I was there.

He's taen the ring from her pocket
Which cost him guineas three
Says Tak ye that my well faured maid
And lay your love on me
Says Tak ye that my well-faured maid
And lay your love on me.

She's taen the ring frae her pocket
Which cost him shillings nine
Says Tak ye that my bonnie lad
For I hae changed my mind
Says Tak ye that my bonnie lad
For I hae changed my mind.

Singer JAMES GREIG - G (1904)
The tune used by Mr. Greig is a variant of "Lang Johnny More

#1217 A in the Greig-Duncan Folk Soong Collection, Volume 6