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Mormond Braes

[ Roud 2171 ; G/D 6:1142 ; Ballad Index FVS171 ; trad.]

Vagabond Songs and Ballads of Scotland 101 Scottish Songs Bothy Songs and Ballads The Seeds of Love Songs from North-East Scotland

John Strachan sang Mormond Braes at the 1951 Edinburgh People's Festival Ceilidh.

Jimmy McBeath sang Mormond Braes to Alan Lomax in London on November14, 1953. This recording was included in 2002 on his Rounder anthology Tramps and Hawkers.

Ewan MacColl and Peggy Seeger sang Mormond Braes in 1956 on their Tradition album Classic Scots Ballads, and in 1962 on their Folkways album Popular Scottish Songs. He noted in the first album:

It was the practice in Northeast Scotland for ploughmen to be housed in shacks (bothies) away from the main farm building, and when the day's work was finished the evening would be given over to the singing of songs. The heroine of this song, though jilted, has the comfort of a sound philosophy—a philosophy shared by the countless Scots ploughmen in whose bothies Mormond Braes has always been a great favourite.

Davie Stewart sang Mormond Braes to Alan Lomax in London in 1957. This recording was included in 2002 on his Rounder anthology Go On, Sing Another Song.

Robin Gray sang Mormond Braes in 1961 as the title track of Dolina MacLennan's and his Topic EP By Mormond Braes. He noted:

Mormond Braes is an Aberdeenshire ballad telling the story of a rejected but defiant love. The lassie is determined to erase the memory of her old love with the attention of at least one new one.

Robin Hall and Jimmie MacGregor sang Mormond Braes in 1961 on their Decca album Scottish Choice and a year later on Two Heids Are Better Than Yin!.

Alex Campbell sang Mormond Braes in 1965 on his eponymous Transatlantic album Alex Campbell.

Daisy Chapman sang Mormond Braes at the Aberdeen Folk Festival in October 1968. This recording made by Peter Shepheard was included in 2000 on her Musical Traditions anthology Ythanside. Rod Stradling commented in the accompanying booklet:

As sung by Daisy Chapman at the Aberdeen Folk Festival Sunday afternoon traditional concert in October 1968 shortly after returning from her successful first appearance at the Blairgowrie Festival in August 1968. This characteristic song from the Buchan countryside of north east Scotland was a favourite of Daisy's—the Mormond Hill beside Strichen is a prominent landmark of the area and within sight of her birthplace. Gavin Greig took great delight in the song when he first heard it and he included it in his serial story Logie o' Buchan, and gave it pride of place in the first of his weekly articles in the Buchan Observer in December 1907.

Battlefield Band sang Mormond Braes in 1977 on their eponymous French album Battlefield Band.

Dougie MacLean sang Mormond Braes in 1978 on Alan Roberts and his Plant Life album Caledonia.

Jock Duncan sang Mormond Braes on his 1996 Springthyme album Ye Shine Whar Ye Stan!. Peter Shepheard noted:

This was one of Gavin Greig’s early favourite songs. He first came across the song around 1895 and included it in his serial story Logie o Buchan. It was then printed in Ford’s Vagabond Songs (in 1899) and Greig gave it pride of place in the first of his weekly articles in the Buchan Observer in December 1907, a series that eventually extended to 180 weekly articles containing numerous versions of over a thousand North East songs and ballads.

Aileen Carr sang Mormond Braes in 2000 on her Greentrax album Green Yarrow.

Ivan Drever sang Mormond Braes on his 2004 album Tradition. He noted:

I’ve no idea where I first heard this, it has always been at the back of my mind. Mormond Braes is near Strichen in Aberdeenshire.

Susie and Jim Malcolm sang Mormond Braes on the 2004 anthology Where the Laverock Sings.

Jim Reid sang Mormond Braes in 2005 on his Greentrax album Yont the Tay. He noted:

Alex Campbell was a bit of a forerunner to Billy Connolly. I love his version of this song for its sheer energy.

Jackie Oates sang Mormond Braes in 2006 on her eponymous first album, Jackie Oates, and on Wistman's Wood's eponymous EP, Wistman's Wood.

Jodie Christie sang Mormond Braes live at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow, in a concert Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the TMSA. This was published in 2016 on the TMSA DVD 101 Scottish Songs: The Wee Red Book.

Gillian Frame and Findlay Napier sang Mormond Braes on their 2020 album of songs from Norman Buchan's late 1950s and early 1960s The Scotsman articles, The Ledger.

Lyrics

Ewan MacColl sings Mormond Braes Daisy Chapman sings Mormond Braes

As I gaed down by Strichen Town
I heard a fair maid mournin',
She was makin' sair complaint
For her true love ne'er returnin'.

As I gaed doon tae Strichen Toon,
I heard a fair maid mournin;
She was makin sair complaint,
For her true love ne'er returnin.

Mormond Braes far heather grows,
Far afttimes I've been cheery;
Mormond Braes whaur heather grows,
'Twas there I lost ma dearie.

Chorus (repeated after each verse):
Fare ye weel, ye Mormond Braes,
For ofttimes I've been cheery,
Fare ye weel, ye Mormond Braes,
For it's there I lost my deary.

Chorus (repeated after every other verse):
Sae fare ye weel, ye Mormond Braes,
Far afttimes I've been cheery;
Fare ye weel, ye Mormond Braes,
'Twas there I lost ma dearie.

But I'll pit on the goun o' green,
It's a forsaken token;
And that will let the young men know,
That the bands o' love's been broken.

There's mony a horse has snappet and fa'n
And risen again full rarely,
Many a lass has lost her lad
And gotten another right early.

There's mony a horse has snappert an fa'en,
And risen an gaed fu rarely,
There's mony a lass has lost her lad,
And gotten anither richt early.

There's as guid fish intae the sea
As ever yet was taken,
I'll cast my line, and I'll try again,
For I'm only ance forsaken

There's as guid fish intae the sea,
As ever there's been taken;
I'll cast ma nets and try again,
For I've only been aince forsaken.

Sae I'll gae down tae Stricken town,
Where I was bred and born in,
And there I'll get another sweetheart
Will marry me in the mornin'.

But I'll ging doon tae Strichen Toon,
Far I wis bred and born;
Far I will get anither sweethert,
That'll mairry me the morn.

Jock Duncan sings Mormond Braes

As I gaed doun by Strichen Toun
I heard a fair maid mournin,
She wis makin sair complaint
On her true love neʼer returnin.
Itʼs Mormond Braes where heather grows,
Whaur oft times Iʼve been cheery,
Itʼs Mormond Braes whaur heather grows,
And itʼs there Iʼve lost ma dearie.

Chorus (after each verse):
Sae fare ye weel ye Mormond Braes,
Whaur oft times Iʼve been cheery,
Fare ye weel ye Mormond Braes,
And its there Iʼve lost ma dearie.

Sae Iʼll pit on ma goun o green,
Itʼs a forsaken token,
An that will let the young men know
That the bands of love are broken.
Thereʼs mony a horse has snappert and faʼen
And risen and gane fu rarely,
Thereʼs mony a lass has lost her lad,
And gotten anither richt early.

Thereʼs as mony fish intae the sea,
As ever yet was taken,
Iʼll cast ma line an try again,
Iʼm only eence forsaken.
Sae Iʼll gyang doun by Strichen Toun,
Whaur I wis bred an born,
And there Iʼll get anither sweethert,
Will mairry me the morn.