> Folk Music > Songs > The Sands o' the Shore

The Sands o' the Shore

[ Roud 30656 ; Mudcat 155668 ; words Harry Staunton, music Henry E. Pether (c.1911)]

Maggie Stewart sang a one verse plus chorus fragment of The Sands of the Shore to Hamish Henderson in Aberdeen in August 1954 [Tobar an Dualchais 10816] . She learned the song as a little girl from her father.

Heather Heywood sang The Sands o' the Shore in 1993 on her Greentrax album By Yon Castle Wa'. And she, Corrina Hewat and Chris Miles sang it at a Celtic Connections concert at the Glasgow Royal Concert Hall in January 2001, a recording of which was released in the same year on the Greentrax album Scots Women.

Gillian Frame and Back of the Moon sang Sands o the Shore in 2001 on their eponymous Foot Stompin' album Gillian Frame & Back of the Moon. They noted:

Gillian learned this song from Anne Neilson who has provided great inspiration and encouragement to us all.

Canadian singer Moira Cameron sang Sands of the Shore in 2008 as the title track of her album Sands of the Shore.

Anne Neilson noted in 2014 on the Mudcat Café thread Origins: The Sands o' the Shore:

As far as I know, this song appeared on the scene around 1965. The late Norman Buchan had just been elected to Parliament the previous year and his job as an English teacher at Rutherglen Academy (on the outskirts of Glasgow) had been taken by Ian Davison, who also took on Norman's Ballads Club of which I had been a member from 1957 until leaving school in 1962.

After leaving school I joined a group with Ian, his wife-to-be Karine, John Craig and Ian Young—the latter two also Ballads Club FPs like me. We sang a lot of Weavers songs, traditional Scottish material, kids' songs and songs by current writers like Matt McGinn and Adam McNaughtan. (We eventually recorded a 45rpm disc with Adam's Jeely Piece Song on the A side and I'm fairly sure The Sands o' the Shore was the B side.)

We had all brought songs to the group, and Ian brought in The Sands o' the Shore which a pupil called Kathleen [Mitchell] had sung at the Club: at the time Ian could find no source for it and all Kathleen could provide was that she got it from her grannie!

Mary Stewart was also a member of the Ballads Club and got the song there, took it to Ayshire when she moved there after leaving school and sang it often at Kilmarnock Folk Club, which is where Heather Heywood got it. And I taught it to Gillian Frame when she was a student on the Scottish Music BA course at the (then) Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.

It's a great wee song, full of admirable sentiments and attitude.

Lyrics

Maggie Stewart sings The Sands of the Shore

Chorus
The sands is on the sea, ma love, the waves is on the shore,
When ye turn yer back about don't think on me no more,
Don't think on me no more, ma love, sae so let it be
For ye care nae mair for me as the sands is on the sea.

You are the son of a high gentleman
And I'm are the daughter of a hard-workin man
[…] sae so let it be
For ye care nae mair for me as the sands is on the sea.

(Chorus)

Heather Heywood sings The Sands o' the Shore

Chorus (after each verse):
Oh, the sands o the shore and the waves o the sea
When his back is turned he's a stranger tae me
He's a stranger tae me aye and sae let him be
For I care nae mair for him than the waves o the sea

I aince had a sweetheart but noo I hae nane
He stole awa my heart but I got it back again
Aye I got it back again aye and sae let him be
For I care nae mair for him than the waves o the sea

He bocht me a present o a braw diamond ring
He thocht it wid entice me tae gang awa wi him
But I wasnae sae foolish as he taen me tae be
And I care nae mair for him than the waves o the sea

O he is the son o a high lord and king
And I am but a dochter o a pair workin man
Sae let him drink his wine aye and I'll drink my tea
For I care nae mair for him than the waves o the sea

Gillian Frame sings Sands o' the Shore

I aince had a sweetheart but noo I hae nane
He stole awa my hairt but I got it back again
Aye, I got it back again, aye, and sae let it be
But I care nae mair for him than the waves o the sea

Chorus (after each verse):
And the sands o the shore and the waves o the sea
When his back is turned he's a stranger tae me
He's a stranger tae me, aye, and sae let him be
But I care nae mair for him than the waves o the sea

He gied tae me the praisent o a braw diamond ring
He thocht it wid entise me tae gang awa wi him
But I wisnae as foolish as he'd taen me tae be
And I care nae mair for him than the waves o the sea

O he is the son o a high lord and king
And I am but the dochter o a pair workin man
So it's he'll drink his wine and I'll drink my tea
And I care nae mair for him than the waves o the sea