WATER IS WIDE, THE

Latest update on 25/02/2010

Artist: Kathleen Ferrier
Author: traditional
Label: Decca
Year: 1951

As O Waly Waly. "One of the best loved American ballads" (Carolyn Hester).

Covers:

1954:

Andrew Rowan Summers [Appalachian dulcimer player from Virginia, recorded by Moses Asch for album The Faulse Lady; Summers cut it as O Waly Waly while these words are not in the lyrics]

1957:

Pete Seeger [learned it from his sister Peggy, then already living in England (where she also cut a Waly Waly)]

1957:

Guy Carawan [learned it from Pete Seeger]

1957:

John Langstaff [as O Waly Waly (The Water Is Wide, I Cannot Get O'er)]

1961:

Carolyn Hester

1964:

Jon & Eddie

1965:

Jean Ritchie

1965:

Fred Neil

1973:

Roger McGuinn

1975:

Bob Dylan [during Rolling Thunder Revue; released on Bootleg series 5; his Lay Down Your Weary Tune, saved up for the Biograph box set, comes pretty close]

1976:

Nana Mouskouri [as O Waly Waly]

1979:

Karla Bonoff

1979:

Felix Pappalardi

1981:

Rory Block

1982:

Cliff Richard

1982:

Guy De Mey & Sylvia Traen [as O Waly Waly on lp The English Art Song]

1990:

Neil Young [as Mother Earth (Natural Anthem); also live on Farm Aid]

1990s:

Eva Cassidy [posthumous release]

1991:

James Taylor

1994:

Cowboy Junkies [in film The River White]

1996:

Michelle Shocked [a cappella]

1996:

Spencer Bohren

1997:

Barbra Streisand

1998:

Sarah Brightman [as O Waly Waly]

1998:

John Gorka

1999:

June Tabor [in medley with St. Agnes & Jeannie And Jamie]

2003:

Luka Bloom

2005:

Chris Hillman

2009:

Ronny Cox

2010:

Irish Tenors

More versions: The Royal Scotts Dragoon Guards, Moira Kerr, Joan Baez, Bonnie Dobson, The Seekers, Mary Black. Also in film Distant Voices Still Lives. O Waly Waly is different from old English song Waly Waly, first published in 1727. In 1905 Cecil Sharp collected a version in Somerset, England. Waly Waly was recorded by John Jacob Niles in the early 50s, by Ewan MacColl & Peggy Seeger in '61 and by Andreas Scholl & Andreas Martin ('96). No wonder O Waly Waly and Waly Waly are mixed up a lot. Waly Waly and The Water Is Wide share one lyric line: "I leaned my back against some oak, Thinking that he was a trusty tree. But first he bended and then he broke, And so did my false love to me". Pre morning-after pill poetry, that's for sure. Can also be seen as an answer to the Cuckoo Song (see there). Also lyrically related with The Little Sparrow, the Scottish ballad Jamie Douglas and Come All You Fair And Tender Ladies (The Carter Family). The line: "Oh love is gentle and love is kind, the sweetest flower when first it's new, but love grows old and waxes cold, and fades away like morning dew" comes with both The Little Sparrow and The Water Is Wide.

Contact


If you noticed blunt omissions, mis-interpretations or even out-and-out errors, please let us know by contacting us:

Arnold Rypens
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B-2840 Reet (Rumst)

info@originals.be

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