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Annie Laurie

[ Roud 8179 ; Ballad Index FSWB150A ; Bodleian Roud 8179 ; DT ANNLAURI ; Mudcat 91281 ; words William Douglas, Lady John Scott, music Lady John Scott]

The Ripley Wayfarers sang Annie Laurie in 1971 on their Traditional Sound Recordings album Chips and Brown Sauce. Their liner notes commented:

Everyone known this song but we wonder how many people realise that it is a factual expression on the unrequited love of William Douglas (1672-1760) for Annie, eldest daughter of Sir Robert Laurie, of Maxwelton. The tune was composed by Lady [John] Scott and published in 1848.

ian Bruce sang Annie Laurie in 1997 as the title track of his EP Annie Laurie. He noted:

This song was first published in 1838 and became very popular with the British Army during the Crimean War. Annie Laurie was a girl whom Douglas loved, but despite her promise, married another.

Kim Lowings sang Annie Laurie in 2013 on her EP Deepest, Darkest Night.

Archie Fisher sang Bonnie Annie Laurie, which he “learned initially from [his] father’s sonorous tenor voice at the fireside singing”, in 2015 on his Greentrax CD A Silent Song.

Claire Hastings sang Annie Laurie in 2016 on her CD Between River and Railway. She noted on her YouTube video:

My version of Annie Laurie, a Scots song based on a poem written by William Douglas in the 18th century. This version is a rewrite by Lady John Scott composed about the time of the Crimean War. She based it on Douglas’ (tuneless) two verse poem and added the third verse. It is put to a tune she earlier used for an old ballad called Kempy Kaye. This was my granny’s favourite song.

Adam Holmes sang Annie Laurie on his 2024 album The Voice of Scotland.


Claire Hastings sings Annie Laurie

Maxwelton Braes are bonnie where early fa’s the dew,
And it’s there that Annie Laurie gi’ed me her promise true.
Gi’ed me her promise true as ne’er forgot will be,
Aye for bonnie Annie Laurie I’d lay me doon and dee.

Her brow is like the snowdrift, her neck is like the swan,
Her face it is the fairest that e’er the sun shone on.
As e’er the sun shone on and dark blue is her e’e,
Aye for bonnie Annie Laurie I’d lay me doon and dee.

Like dew on the gowan lying is the fa’ o’ her fairy feet,
And like wind in the summer sighing her voice is low and sweet.
Her voice is low and sweet and she means the warld to me,
Aye for bonnie Annie Laurie I’d lay me doon and dee.