the song
title : Aye waukin-o   (Always awake)
written by : Robert Burns; arranged by Eddi Reader, John McCusker, Boo Hewerdine and Ian Carr
song copyright : none

the performance
musicians
Eddi Reader vocal
with :
Ian Carr acoustic guitar
Boo Hewerdine acoustic guitar
John McCusker fiddle
Michael McGoldrick flute
Ewen Vernal double bass
and guest :
Donald Shaw harmonium
music
key : A major
time-signature : 4/4
tempo : MM 90
form : v V C V C i V C C p
lyrics

provided for research and private study only:

Aye waukin-o


mm-hmmm

summer’s a pleasant time
flowers of every colour
water runs o’er the heugh
and I long for my true lover

aye waukin-o
waukin still and weary
sleep I can get nane
for thinking on my dearie
aye waukin-o

when I sleep I dream
when I wake I’m eerie
sleep I can get nane
for thinking on my dearie

aye waukin-o
waukin still and weary
sleep I can get nane
for thinking of my dearie
aye waukin-o

– fiddle and flute with tune

lonely night comes on
and all the lave are sleeping
I think on my bonnie lad
and blur my eyes wi’ weeping

aye waukin-o
waukin still and weary
sleep I can get nane
for thinking on my dearie
aye waukin-o

aye waukin-o
waukin still and weary
sleep I can get nane
for thinking on my dearie
aye waukin-o

– fiddle and flute with tune

glossary
aye waukin-oalways awake
eeriespooked, frightened
heughrocky crags
laverest
nanenone
wi’with
explanations
Burns based this on traditional material, probably dating from the seventeenth century (see my commentary below).

The song was originally published in the 1790 volume of The Scots musical museum (editor James Johnson), which is the origin of the title. The following text is from the Alloway manuscript, collated with the Adam manuscript and the 1790 publication:

Ay waukin O

Simmer’s a pleasant time,
  Flowers of every colour;
The water rins o’er the heugh,
  And I long for my true lover!

Ay waukin, Oh,
  Waukin still and weary:
Sleep I can get nane,
  For thinking on my Dearie.

When I sleep I dream,
  When I wauk I’m irie;
Sleep I can get nane,
  For thinking on my Dearie.

Ay waukin…

Lanely night comes on,
  A’ the lave are sleepin:
I think on my bonie lad,
  And I bleer my een wi’ greetin.

Ay waukin…

source : No. 287 in Poems and songs of Robert Burns / edited by James Kinsley. – Oxford : Clarendon Press, 1968


the recording
personnel
produced by : John McCusker
recorded by : Andy Seward at Pure Records Studio, Yorkshire, 2006;
possible additional recording at PawPaw Productions and Park Lane Studios, Glasgow;
additional engineering by Paul McGeechan and Keith Bird (at Park Lane?), Iain Graham (at PawPaw?) and Joe Rusby (at Pure?)
mixed by : Andy Seward assisted by John McCusker and Boo Hewerdine at Pure Records Studio, Yorkshire?
mastered by : Calum Malcolm in ?
technical
signal path : DDD
song timing : 4:00
released on
album : Peacetime track 4   timing : 4:04
album : The songs of Robert Burns (deluxe edition) track 15   timing : 4:05

commentary

To amplify the comments in the explanations section, I first learned a version of this tradition from the Fairport Convention album Nine, where Dave Swarbrick sings The Hexamshire lass, another off-shoot, with the same ‘sleepless’ couplet, in the verse :

of this love of mine
oh, this love I am weary
sleep I can’t get none
for thinking of my dearie

Adrian Dover