Captain Wedderburn

"Captain Wedderburn" was recorded by Great Big Sea with Sarah Harmer. It's based on "Captain Wedderburn's Courtship" an old Scottish ballad dating from 1785 or earlier - Child Ballad #46, Roud 36.


Captain Wedderburn (D)(WORD)
Captain Wedderburn (D)(PDF)

Captain Wedderburn (G)(WORD)
Captain Wedderburn (G)(PDF)

You can play along with Great Big Sea recording, titled Captain Wedderburn, using the (G) songsheet! We'll likely play use the (D) songsheet at the BUG Jam and may or may not use the instrumental!

The Great Big Sea song "Captain Wedderburn" from their 1999 studio album, Turn album is based on this ballad. They recorded it live with Sarah Harmer in 2000 for their Road Rage live album and that's what I've based our songsheet on. This song is related to The Riddle Song, which you'll find here on our website.

"Captain Wedderburn's Courtship" was collected in the United States, Scotland, Ireland, Canada, Australia. The first known publication, probably, dates from 1780s (The New British Songster). It's also known by a number of other titles, including "Lord Roslin's Daughter" and "The Laird of Rosslyn's Daughter".

Riddles and riddling songs have long been popular in the folklore of the world’s peoples. The riddle portion of this ballad existed before Captain Wedderburn’s Courtship came into being. The meter and form of this ballad suggest a late composition (probably no earlier than the middle of the 17th century), while the riddles have been found in manuscripts dating from the 14th and 15th centuries.

The ballad itself was known to Child in only three versions. It was still popular in tradition in Scotland early in this century for Greig [The Greig-Duncan Folk Song Collection] collected nine versions in Aberdeen, though it may presently be extinct there. American texts of this ballad are rare, though the riddle portion of the ballad has been collected widely as a separate song entitled I Gave My Love a Cherry or The Riddle Song.

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