Sangstories - Stories of Scottish Songs

Tales of Scottish traditional and newer songs sung by Sangschule of Linlithgow

I'll Bring Your Laddie Home

 words and tune by Paul Streater 2002

I’m standing on the foreshore and I’m looking down the Forth
For the wind that brings my laddie home is backing to the north
His mind is full of timber but my mind is full of him,
And my heart will only settle when his boat comes gliding in.

For the wind that shakes the trees is the same wind says to me
Don’t fret, my lass, for I’ll bring your laddie home
Though my strength may cause you fright, I will see your man a-right.
Don’t fret, my lass, for I’ll bring your laddie home.

As I strip the bark for pit props, so I dream of what might be
But I fear my love would always rather sail the northern sea.
What would he do, were he to stay? He’d toil at hewing coal
And the dark and dust would grind him down, and wear away his soul.

On nights when storms run up the Forth, I have to fear for him
For the high-stacked logs upon his deck can ay upset his trim.
And many worse than him have died, their cargoes floating free,
He means to make our fortune, he could lose it all at sea.

So I’ll walk along the foreshore and I’ll climb high up the brae
And I’ll look out for his boat, and for his happiness I’ll pray.
But I hope one day he’ll settle, and he’ll settle here with me.
Then no more I’ll need to listen to the wind from off the sea.

Last chorus:
For the wind that shakes the trees is the same wind says to me
Don’t fret, my lass, for I’ll bring your laddie home
Though my strength may cause you fright, I will see your man a-right.
Don’t fret, my lass, for I’ll bring your laddie home.
I’ll bring your laddie home

Words:
Ay: always
Brae: hill-side

Paul says about this song: 
“ ‘I'll bring your laddie home’ was written as part of a series of songs on West Lothian history, and is set in the timber trade which used to be a mainstay of the economy of Bo'ness. Timber from Scandinavia was used for pit props when Britain had no cheap sources of softwood. Bo'ness still has a thriving timber industry, though none of the wood arrives in Bo'ness by sea. The trade gradually moved to the better harbour at Grangemouth, lasting into living memory.
 
This was dangerous work; to make a reasonable profit, part of the load had to be carried as deck-cargo, and in rough weather this might lose its lashings and cause the boat to capsize. Because of the risk to their own wooden boats of being holed by the huge floating timbers, other sailors would often refuse to approach the foundering boat."
 
Scott and Anne Murray of Sangsters have expressed an interest in performing this song.

Writer Paul Streater has a long history of singing and writing in West Lothian. In 2011, renowned Scottish sculptor Tim Chalk asked local songwriters for songs about fabled Linlithgow character Katie Wearie for the unveiling of a statue of her. He chose two lines from Paul's song to engrave on the statue's base. 

Paul says:
“I became particularly enthusiastic about traditional Scots song largely through joining Sangschule at its start 16 years ago. I started writing songs in a more traditional style a year or so later, and have written quite a few which make use of my enthusiasm for social history. Meeting like-minded individuals through the West Lothian Songwriters' Group provided plenty of ideas, and helpful criticism!
 
I see song as a valuable way to explore and explain our history, at the political, social and personal level.”

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