The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #47891   Message #806967
Posted By: GUEST
19-Oct-02 - 08:51 PM
Thread Name: Water Is Wide - First American Version
Subject: RE: Water Is Wide - First American Version
Interesting that "Waly, Waly, or Water is Wide," doesn't appear in either Brown's North Carolina or Randolph's Ozark collections. Malcolm summarized the evidence quite well in his posts to this and previous threads. It came from a Mrs. Mogg (see Malcolm's posts). I would guess that "Water is Wide came over here in the 20th century, perhaps with the English "I'm Often Drunk," but there is no record so far of this. Such a simple verse as "The Water is Wide,", with a memorable tune, should appear in collections if it came over early; outside of Sharp's mention of two verses (apparently no one has seen them), there seems to be little liklihood of the verse being found over here.
What is the earliest recording? Seeger? His sister? And what date? (He sang the version with a new verse in "Pete," 1982. This fancy version includes the Cathedral Singers, sax, and Gaudeamus). At the Roger McGuinn website, he says he heard Pete Seegar sing it at Orchestra Hall in Chicago, with his 12-string guitar. When? It seems to have much of the version published in "One Hundred English Folksongs," Cecil J. Sharp, Editor. The verse "Seagulls wheel..." was added by Seeger in 1982.

See Seeger's comments for his 1982 album: Waterwide
Seeger says that he learned it from his sister when she was going to Radcliffe in the 1950s. At a party at his sister's house he heard this version of it (the one he recorded). She had dropped all the waily-waily verses. He mentions that it was known in England and Scotland and makes NO mention of an American version.

Mary Black put out a version and calls it traditional (and, of course, Dylan, Barbra Streisand and Charlotte Church). Many recordings by many people, some of them arranging it to suit themselves. The "Cockle Shells" verse seems to have been added from Ireland to the English song- claims the song for Ireland.

Cynthia Gooding sang it on Elektra in the 1950s (Faithful Lovers and Other Phenomena). Ted Alevisos sang it in the 1960s (Folksingers Round Harvard Square album). Other early recordings??