> Anne Briggs > Songs > Living by the Water

Living by the Water

[Anne Briggs]

Anne Briggs wrote Living by the Water for her 1971 Topic album, Anne Briggs. Like all tracks from this album it was reissued on her two compilations Classic Anne Briggs and A Collection. A.L. Lloyd wrote in the sleeve notes:

Another of Anne Briggs’s own compositions. If Go Your Way was written because she wasn’t seeing enough of someone, Living by the Water came into being, she says, because she wasn’t seeing anything at all of him.

Lea Nicholson and Stan Ellison covered Living by the Water in 1972 on their album God Bless the Unemployed.

Áine Furey sang By the Water on her 1999 CD Sweetest Summer Rain.

The Unthanks sang Living by the Water in 2009 on their CD Here’s the Tender Coming.

Michelle Bappoo sang Living by the Water in 2016 on The Owl Service’s album His Pride. No Spear. No Friend..


Anne Briggs sings Living by the Water

I was living by the water
Late July moon’s early quarter
Summer mornings, early dawnings
Paid no heed to me, gave no warning
Of their endless way

Seatide flowing in the river
Is all the music I would ever
Have, a long, long day since I went away

By the sea curlews calling
Hear the summer stars falling
Fire burning in the sun
Lighting up their way
On the lonely sands of the western strands
It was there I made my way

On the mountain there my song I’ll sing
When the wind plays in the raven’s wing
And I saw moorland horses
Dancing over the plains of the deadland marshes

Down to the sea voices from the empty moor
They call me past the stranger’s door
Because I keep no company I make no enemies

The tide is turning, there is no waiting
Day was long, the sun setting
Sand shifting in the wind
These times they have no end
On the lonely sands of the western strands
It was there I made my way


Transcribed by Reinhard Zierke, but I’m not at all sure that I could decipher all of Anne’s singing. Thanks to Wolfgang Hell, Ken Hunt, and Michael Hein for help and corrections.