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Bay of Biscay​-​O

from Women and the Sea by Debra Cowan



(trad. arr. Cowan)

There are many songs about the Bay of Biscay, which is located in western Europe, bounded by France and Spain. The coastline varies from rocky cliffs to sandy beaches, thus winds and currents make navigation difficult.


My Willie sailed on board a tender
And where he is I do not know
Seven long years I've been constantly waiting
Since he crossed the Bay of Biscay-O

One night as Mary lay a-sleeping
A knock came to her bedroom door
Saying “Arise arise my dearest Mary
For to earn one glance of your Willie-O”

Mary arose put on her clothing
And to her bedroom door did go
And there she saw her Willie standing
His two pale cheeks as white as snow

O Willie dear where are those blushes
Those blushes I knew long years ago
O Mary dear the cold waves lash them
I am the ghost of your Willie-O

But Mary dear the dawn is breaking
I fear it’s time for me to go
I must leave you cold and broken hearted
For to cross the Bay of Biscay-O

If I had gold and I had money
And all the silver in Mexico
I would grant it all to the King of Erin
For to bring me back my Willie-O


from Women and the Sea, released January 16, 2021


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Debra Cowan Shrewsbury, Massachusetts

Singer Debra Cowan performs a cappella and with guitar, interpreting a wide range of folk songs. Debra has two acclaimed solo recordings to her credit, and her third, “Fond Desire Farewell” was produced by former Fairport Convention drummer Dave Mattacks. A former California resident, she now resides in Massachusetts and tours all over North America and the United Kingdom. ... more

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