“The Banks of Claudy”


The singer meets a girl on the banks of Claudy. She is seeking her lover. He tells her Johnny is false, she rejects this. He tells her Johnny is shipwrecked; she is distressed. He tells her he is Johnny. She rejoices

Supplemental text

Banks of Claudy, The [Laws N40]
  Complete text(s)

          *** A ***

Where Are You Going Alice?

From the recording by G.B. Grayson and Henry Whitter (Victor V40135).  Transcribed by Ben Schwartz.

"Where are you going Alice, my own heart's delight?
Where are you going Alice, this dark and rainy night?"
"Down in yonder city my attention does remain
Looking for a young man, Sweet William is his name."

"Never mind young William, he will not meet you there,
Never mind young William, he will not meet you there,
Never mind young William, he will not meet you there,
Just stay with me in green lands, no danger need you fear."

When she heard this sad news she fell into despair,
Wringing her hands and tangling her hair,
"If Willie he is drownded, no other will I take,
Through lonesome roads and valleys I'll wander for his sake."

(Poor little Alice)

When he heard this sad news he could no longer stand.
He took her in his arms, "Little Alice I'm the man.
Little Alice I'm the young man that's caused you all this pain.
But now we've met in green lands we'll never part again."


Date for Grayson and Whitter is from _Country Music Sources_ by Guthrie T Meade Jr with Dick Spottswood and Douglas S. Meade (Chapel Hill, 2002), p. 10.

Meade, Spottswood and Meade, page 10 has the comment that "Although no mention of the banks of Claudie is made on this recording, I feel it is closer to N40 than any other classification." I would make a stronger statement than that. Every line of "Where Are You Going Alice?" is substantially the same as, or clearly derived from a Bodleian broadside or some traditional version of "The Banks of Claudy" (such as Morton-Ulster). For example, "green lands" replaces the banks of Claudy for Grayson and Whitter ("Just stay with me in green lands, no danger need you fear.") where Morton-Ulster has "green woods" ("Oh tarry with me to yon green woods, no danger need you fear").

The matrix number for the Grayson and Whitter's "Where Are You Going Alice?" is V40135B; Meade, Spottswood and Meade has BVE 46636-2. The tune is close to, but not the same as, "Charles Guiteau." - BS

Cross references


  • Bodleian, Harding B 11(1847), "The Banks of Claudy", J. Catnach (London), 1813-1838; also 2806 c.15(164), Harding B 11(2261), 2806 b.9(257), Harding B 19(110), 2806 c.14(91), Firth b.26(281), 2806 c.18(12), 2806 c.17(15), Harding B 18(24), Firth b.25(188), Firth b.25(296), "The Banks of Claudy"; Harding B 16(22c), Harding B 11(266), "The Banks of Cludy" [only the title is spelled "Cludy"; else "Claudy"]
  • LOCSinging, as100610, "The Banks of Claudy!", Horace Partridge (Philadelphia), 19C; also as100600, as200200, "Banks of Claudy"
  • NLScotland, RB.m.143(129), "The Banks of Claudy," Lowdon McCartney/Poet's Box (Dundee), after 1905


  • Robert Cinnamond, "The Banks of Claudy" (on IRRCinnamond02)
  • Bob & Ron Copper, "Claudy Banks" (on LastDays)
  • [G. B.] Grayson & [Henry] Whitter, "Where Are You Going, Alice?" (Victor V-40135, 1929; rec. 1928)
  • George Maynard, "The Banks of Claudy" (on Maynard1)


  1. Laws N40, "The Banks of Claudy"
  2. O'Conor, p. 39, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text)
  3. Ford-Vagabond, pp. 317-319, "The Banks o' Claudy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Belden, pp. 154-155, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text)
  5. Chappell-FSRA 69, "Molly, I'm the Man" (1 text); 78, "On the Banks of Claudy" (1 fragment, which doesn't look much like this song, but it mentions the banks of Claudy, so it files here)
  6. Randolph 47, "The Banks of Cloddy" (1 text plus 1 excerpt, 1 tune)
  7. Hudson 38, p. 152, "The Banks of Claudie" (1 text)
  8. Scarborough-SongCatcher, pp. 266-267, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text, with local title "The Soldier's Return"; tune on p. 426)
  9. Eddy 55, "The Banks of Claudie" (1 text, 1 tune)
  10. Gardner/Chickering 71, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  11. Meredith/Anderson, pp. 166-167, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  12. SHenry H5+H693, p. 313, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  13. Morton-Ulster 2, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  14. Morton-Maguire 44, pp. 134-135,172-173, "The Banks of Clady" (1 text, 1 tune)
  15. OLochlainn 58, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  16. LPound-ABS, 30, pp., "The Lover's Return" (1 text)
  17. JHCox 321, "The Banks of Claudie" (1 text plus mention of 1 more)
  18. Ord, p. 130, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text)
  19. Creighton-Maritime, p. 65, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  20. Creighton-SNewBrunswick 19, "The Banks of Claudie" (1 text, 1 tune); 20, "The Banks of Claudy" (1 text, 1 tune)
  21. Mackenzie 70, "The Banks of Claudie" (1 text)
  23. ST LN40 (Full)
  24. Roud #266
  25. BI, LN40


Alternate titles: “Claudy Banks”
Author: unknown
Earliest date: before 1839 (broadside, Bodleian Harding B 11(1847))
Found in: US(Ap,MW,SE,So) Canada(Mar) Britain(Scotland) Australia Ireland