Annan Water

introduced by William Pint and Felicia Dale

Annan Water is a superb example of the folk process in action.

In the late 1960's English singer Nic Jones encountered lyrics in  Child's English and Scottish Popular Ballads, that had been taken from yet another book, Scott's Minstrelsy of the Scottish Borders. Jones modified the words, turned the final stanza into a chorus, borrowed a melody from another traditional English song, and processed it all into a brand new 'traditional' song. Annan Water describes the tragedy of a man's struggle to reach his true love, riding his horse to exhaustion at a swollen river's banks and finally attempting and failing to swim the raging water. The singer, admonishing the treacherous river, vows to build a bridge guaranteeing that never again will it divide true lovers.

Listen to a great version sung by the Irish vocal trio, The Voice Squad.

Annan WatersClick on the image for a downloadable PDF

Lyrics:

Oh Annan Water's wondrous deep, and my love Annie is wondrous bonny
I loath that she should wet her feet, because I love her best of any
Go saddle for me the bonny grey mare, go saddle her soon and make her ready,
For I must cross that stream tonight or never more I'll see my lady.
And woe betide you Annan water, by night you are a gloomy river,
And over you I'll build a bridge, that never more true love may sever.

And he has ridden o'er field and fen, o'er moor and moss and many a mire
His spurs of steel were sore to bite, sparks from the mare's hooves flew like fire
The mare flew on o'er moor and moss and when she reached the Annan Water
She couldn't have ridden a furlong more, had a thousand whips been laid upon her.
And woe betide you Annan water, by night you are a gloomy river,
And over you I'll build a bridge, that never more true love may sever.

Oh, boatman come, put-off your boat; put-off your boat for gold and money,
For I must cross that stream tonight, or never more I'll see my lady.
The sides are steep, the waters deep, from bank to brae the water's pouring
And the bonny grey mare she sweats for fear, she stands to hear the waters roaring.
And woe betide you Annan water, by night you are a gloomy river,
And over you I'll build a bridge, that never more true love may sever.

And he has tried to swim that stream, and he swam on both strong and steady
But the river was wide and strength did fail, and never more he'll see his lady.
Oh woe betide the willow wand, and woe betide the bush and briar,
For they broke beneath her true love's hand, when strength did fail and limbs did tire.
And woe betide you Annan water, by night you are a gloomy river,
And over you I'll build a bridge, that never more true love may sever.

William Pint and partner Felicia Dale share a love for all traditional music, but specialize in nautically themed songs. They adapt traditional maritime songs from the Age of Sail, modifying and arranging them with guitar, hurdy-gurdy, octave mandolin, fiddle and whistles to create a modern sound with a traditional maritime spirit. 

     
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