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Origins: Waly, Waly - Water is Wide

DigiTrad:
OF LATE I'VE BEEN DRIVEN NEAR CRAZY
WALY WALY (JAMIE DOUGLAS)
WALY, WALY 2
WALY, WALY 3
WATER IS WIDE
WHEN COCKLESHELLS TURN SILVER BELLS (Waly, Waly)


Related threads:
Lyr Req: Psalms sung to 'The Water is Wide' (36)
(origins) Water Is Wide - First American Version (40)
artist that sings The Water is Wide (33)
Jamie Douglas(Child #204)June Tabor version source (3)
Lyr Req: Water is Wide (6) (closed)
Tune Req: A Ship Came Sailing (coll. Baring-Gould) (14)
Lyr Req: The River Is Wide...My Love and I (14)
The Water Is Wide (Susanna Hoffs) (9)
(origins) Origin: The Water Is Wide - Waly Waly (34)
(origins) Lyr Req: Help! Version of Water Is Wide (23)
(origins) The Water is Wide - one more time! (43)
Lyr Req: there is a ship and she sails the sea (15)
Lyr Req: June Tabor's Waly Waly (6)
Help: Looking for recording of Water is Wide (36)
(origins) Water is wide: song history request (38)


Joe Offer 07 Mar 97 - 03:28 AM
Anne Cormack 07 Mar 97 - 05:56 AM
Joe Offer 08 Mar 97 - 05:03 PM
Anne Cormack 09 Mar 97 - 05:47 AM
dgburt@pioneer.net 19 Mar 97 - 10:14 PM
Joe Offer 20 Mar 97 - 02:34 AM
Berna-Dean 28 Mar 97 - 02:14 PM
Barry Finn 29 Mar 97 - 01:45 AM
belter 29 Mar 97 - 10:16 PM
confused 01 Apr 97 - 10:27 AM
dick greenhaus 01 Apr 97 - 11:58 AM
Barry Finn 02 Apr 97 - 02:06 AM
belter 02 Apr 97 - 10:16 AM
dick greenhaus 02 Apr 97 - 11:04 AM
Joe Offer 02 Apr 97 - 09:52 PM
SonomaPup 14 Apr 97 - 11:15 PM
SonomaPup 14 Apr 97 - 11:18 PM
Bill D 15 Apr 97 - 10:10 AM
Bert Hansell 15 Apr 97 - 12:53 PM
dick greenhaus 15 Apr 97 - 06:09 PM
John Moulden 05 Jan 00 - 12:33 PM
Bruce O. 05 Jan 00 - 03:31 PM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 05 Jan 00 - 07:24 PM
Bruce O. 05 Jan 00 - 07:48 PM
Susan A-R 05 Jan 00 - 11:21 PM
John Moulden 06 Jan 00 - 05:35 AM
maire-aine 18 Apr 02 - 11:16 PM
GUEST,Lynn 18 Apr 02 - 11:47 PM
Haruo 23 May 02 - 02:04 PM
Haruo 19 Jul 18 - 11:41 PM
leeneia 20 Jul 18 - 12:55 PM
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Subject: Waly, Waly - pronunciation?
From: Joe Offer
Date: 07 Mar 97 - 03:28 AM

Just how does one pronounce "Waly, Waly." Is it "Wally, Wally," like the Beav's friend?

Or, is it "whale-y, whale-y"? I heard a real, professional folk singer say "whale-y," so that's what I've said since. But could the guy have been wrong, even though he had his very own CD in print?
-Joe-


Threads on this song:

(Not an all-inclusive list. Some say Carrickfergus is a version of this song.)


Traditional Ballad Index entry on this song:

Waly Waly (The Water is Wide)

DESCRIPTION: The singer laments the effects of unrequited love and an untrue lover. Typical symbols include the rotten-hearted oak that looks solid but breaks and the beautiful flower protected by thorns. In some versions the lover is untrue; sometimes (s)he is dead
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1714 (Ritson, _Scotish Song_)
KEYWORDS: love rejection lyric nonballad lament lover death
FOUND IN: Britain(England,Scotland(Aber)) Ireland US(Ap,NE,SE) Canada(Newf)
REFERENCES (26 citations):
Child 204 notes, "Waly, Waly, Gin Love Be Bony" (1 text)
Bronson (204), 8 versions (including "Jamie Douglas")
Percy/Wheatley III, pp. 145-148, "Waly Waly, Love Be Bonny" (1 text)
Whitelaw-Song, pp. 521-522, "Waly Waly" (1 text)
BarryEckstormSmyth pp. 469-474, "Jamie Douglas" (notes and scattered stanzas; the only full text is in fact this piece)
Kennedy 149, "Deep in Love" (1 text, 1 tune)
Logan, pp. 336-337, "Picking Lilies" (1 text)
GreigDuncan8 1918, "I Spied a Ship Sailin' on the Sea" (1 fragment)
Greig #173, p. 2, ("I spied a ship sailin' on the sea") (1 fragment)
Peacock, pp. 475-476, "Love is Lovely" (1 text, 1 tune, strongly composite, starting with a verse perhaps from "Peggy Gordon," then the chorus of "Waly Waly (The Water Is Wide)," two more which might be anything, and a conclusion from "Carrickfergus")
Leach, pp. 546-551, "Jamie Douglas" (3 texts, with only the third text belonging with this piece)
Friedman, p. 101, "Jamie Douglas" (2 texts, with only the second text belonging with this piece)
Sharp-100E 39, "O Waly Waly" (1 text, 1 tune)
Reeves-Sharp 108, "Waly Waly" (1 text, a composite of four versions)
Reeves-Circle 30, "Deep in Love", "Picking Lilies" (2 texts)
Sandburg, pp. 16-17, "Waillie, Waillie!" (1 text, 1 tune) {Bronson's #8}
Copper-SoBreeze, pp. 218-219, "Love" (1 text, 1 tune)
Hodgart, p. 143, "O Waly, Waly" (1 text)
Lomax-FSNA 70, "Love is Pleasin'" (1 text, 1 tune, of four verses, two of which go here, one belongs with "Fair and Tender Ladies," and the fourth could be from several sources; the whole could be a "Love is Teasing" variant)
HarvClass-EP1, pp. 323-324, "O Waly, Waly" (1 text)
PSeeger-AFB, p. 77, "The Water Is Wide" (1 text, 1 tune)
SHenry H683, p. 393, "The Apron of Flowers" (1 text, 1 tune -- apparently a collection of floating verses including one that goes here)
Silber-FSWB, p. 145, "Waillie"; p. 163, "The Water Is Wide" (2 texts)
DT (204), WALYWALY WALYWAL2* WALYWAL3* CCKLSHLL* WATRWIDE*
ADDITIONAL: James Johnson, Editor, _The Scots Musical Museum_ [1853 edition], volume II, #158, p. 166, "Waly, Waly" (1 text, 1 tune)
Alfred M. Williams, _Studies in Folk-Song and Popular Poetry_, Houghton Mifflin, 1894, pp. 89-91, "Waly, Waly, gin Love by Bony / Lady Anne Bothwell's Lament" (1 text)

Roud #87
RECORDINGS:
Freeman Bennett, "Love is Lovely" (on PeacockCDROM) [one verse only]
Liam Clancy, "The Water is Wide" (on IRLClancy01)
Mobile Strugglers, "Trouble, Trouble's Followed Me All My Days" (on AmSkBa, classified there for want of a better place; it's really a collection of floaters, and could as easily go with "I Wish, I Wish/Love Is Teasing." It shares the verse "If I had wings like Noah's dove" with "Dink's Song," but not its distinctive chorus. - PJS)
Pete Seeger, "The Water is Wide" (on PeteSeeger18) (on PeteSeeger34) (on PeteSeeger47)

CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "Jamie Douglas" [Child 204] (lyrics)
cf. "Love Is Teasing"
cf. "Careless Love"
cf. "Died for Love"
cf. "The Butcher Boy" [Laws P24] (floating lyrics)
cf. "Dink's Song" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Oh, Johnny, Johnny" (floating lyrics)
cf. "Arthur's Seat" (lyrics: two verses)
cf. "The Water's Deep, Love, I Canna Wide" (floating lyrics)
ALTERNATE TITLES:
A Ship Came Sailing
When Cockle Shells Turn Silver Bells
NOTES: Some scholars consider this a degraded form of "Jamie Douglas" [Child 204], with which it shares several lyrics. It can hardly be denied that they are related. Since, however, "Waly Waly" has worn away to a purely lyric piece (and some even believe it to be the older of the two songs, which has provided a few chance lyrics to "Jamie Douglas"), it is my firm opinion that the two should be kept separate.
Paul Stamler considers at least some of the versions of "I Wish, I Wish/Love is Teasing" to belong here. To me, they look more like versions of "The Butcher Boy." Still, it shows you how lyric this piece has become.
Under the title "Forsaken," this is one of the handful of traditional songs in Palgrave's Golden Treasury (item CXXXIII)- RBW
The two verses shared with "Arthur's Seat" are neither common floaters nor verses shared with "Jamie Douglas": one is the title verse ("Now Arthur-Seat shall be my bed ....") and the other the Martinmas wind reference ("Martinmas wind, when wilt thou blow ...). - BS
Last updated in version 3.2
File: K149

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The Ballad Index Copyright 2015 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Anne Cormack
Date: 07 Mar 97 - 05:56 AM

Joe, the correct pronunciation is "wail-y', or at least, that's how I've always pronounced it, as well as many well-known Scottish, Irish and English singers. Definitely NOT wall-y, please?????? Your real, professional folk singer was right, but don't aspirate the "w".

Does that make sense???

Anne


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Joe Offer
Date: 08 Mar 97 - 05:03 PM

Thanks Anne. It's nice to be proven right. I don't think anybody west of Ohio aspirates w's. Those big grey things we have in the Pacific are pronounced "wails."

....or maybe "oil slicks."

-Joe in Sacramento-


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Anne Cormack
Date: 09 Mar 97 - 05:47 AM

Joe, I don't know if I'm west or east of Ohio - I'm actually in Perth, Western Australia! But I'm Scottish and we usually do aspirate anything with "wh" at the beginning - epecially oil slicks!!!

Cheers

Anne


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: dgburt@pioneer.net
Date: 19 Mar 97 - 10:14 PM

What was the original request? Was it maybe for the words to "Cockle shells", which contains that phrase in the chorus? George Burt (dgburt@pioneer.net


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Mar 97 - 02:34 AM

Well, the original request was just how to pronounce the name of the song, "Waly, Waly" (The Water Is Wide).

Now I have another question - is this song traditionally in 3/4 or 4/4 time? -Joe-


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE WATER IS WIDE
From: Berna-Dean
Date: 28 Mar 97 - 02:14 PM

This song is also called "THE WATER IS WIDE"

There is a ship and she sails the sea.
'Tis loaded deep as deep can be.
But not as deep as a love I knew [I'm in]
I know not how I sink or swim.

The water is wide, I cannot cross o'er (over)
And neither have I wings to fly.
Give me your boat that can carry two
And both shall rule [row] my love and I.

I leaned my back up against an oar [oak].
Thinking it was a trusty tree.
But first it flayed and then it broke
And so did my true love to me.

Love is handsome and love is fine.
Bright as a jewel when first exhumed [it's new].
But a love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like the morning dew.

There is a ship and she sails the sea.
'Tis loaded deep as deep can be.
But not as deep as a love I knew.
I know not how I sink or swim.

HTML line breaks added. --JoeClone, 24-Aug-02.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Barry Finn
Date: 29 Mar 97 - 01:45 AM

Waly, Waly, or Jamie Douglas - Child #204 is not to be confused with the Water Is Wide or Cockell Shells although some phrases from both may be interchanged. Child has it almost 150yrs. after B. Ramsay published it in 1750 in Tea-Table Miscellany. I' m not sure but I don't think either of the others date back that far & the borrowing of many lines from these are common. It is belived that the lyric complaint Waly Waly, Love Is Bonny is older than the ballad Jamie Douglas & the ballad borrowed many verses from elder. In 1681 James the Marquis Douglas dumped his wife, who claims that James Lockart of Blackwood, maliciously alienated her from her husband by falsely making it appear that she was having an affair.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: belter
Date: 29 Mar 97 - 10:16 PM

According to a book of scottish music I have "The Water Is Wide" is an american version of "Wally Wally".


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: confused
Date: 01 Apr 97 - 10:27 AM

Check out out Maireid Sullivan's version of Waly Waly on Celtic Voices women of song, produced by Narada. Perhaps the water is wide is in fact a different song. Regardless, the words above submitted by Berna-Dean are the words to Maireid's version of "Waly Waly".


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 01 Apr 97 - 11:58 AM

Waly, Waly clearly shares verses with Water is Wide, as well as several other songs. If anyone can tell me what makes two songs the same (or different, for that matter) I'd love to know.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Barry Finn
Date: 02 Apr 97 - 02:06 AM

Hi Dick & Others Let me start a pissing contest here & then bail out after I start it. First off I prefer using my gut, but that sometimes gets me sick & in trouble. Most times I'd just rather enjoy the songs & let them be, once in a while I'll get technical & commit myself afterwards. Presently I've got 2 broken legs so I hope you will all excuse my frequently dropping in, I'll try to curb myself if anyone prefers. Anyway, these songs belong to a group of love lamentations with enough floating verses in common to be considered a family, this group is basedon man's infidelity to his lover & they have been collected throughout England, Scotland & the U.S.. They share this body of floating verses differently with 1 or 2 verses acting as the nucleus with the floating verses orbiting. Because they share the floaters doesn't mean they're different versions of a given song, but that they belong to a common family or a sub group with in a family (Warning Songs against courtship) is more likely. If they share 'Kernel Stanzas' and/or other similarities ( is the woman pregant, is an apron motif present, does she hang or kill her self or did she 'die for love') it would be more likely that they're sharing a similar orgin. The kernel stanza for Waly, Waly would be Waly, Waly love is bonny etc. & for the other it's The water is wide etc. The theme of paying a boatman to ferry bodies or souls is ancient but Over The Water To Charlie wouldn't be a relation, while Fond Affection with it's kernel of The world's so wide I cannot cross it, The seas so deep I cannot wade, I'll just go hire me a little boatman to row me across the stormy tide, seems to have a common parent. Fair & Tender Ladies, Love Is Pleasing & Winter's Night among others would also be part of this family. Enough, under a microscope it's no longer fun, I'm sorry, excuse while I go break a few fingers, good night.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: belter
Date: 02 Apr 97 - 10:16 AM

since the subject seams to have gotten broden a little, I don't mind bringing in a question about another song that may be in this family.

Were does CARRICKFERGUS fit in to all this? It may not be in the general fammily of warning against courting as defined above, but it contains borowed elements. Does that make it a related song in a different family, a part of that fammily that has been folk proccessed to express a different theam, or a commpleatly sepperat song that has made use of a popular motif? Or should I just quit analysing this stuff and get a life?


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 02 Apr 97 - 11:04 AM

After a lifetime (or two) of considering the problem, I flatly refuse to get embroiled in this one. Two songs are the same if, and only if, I think they are. Those that disagree can start their own database. Folksong has proved itself devilishly hard to categorize,


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Joe Offer
Date: 02 Apr 97 - 09:52 PM

This has become quite an interesting discussion. Could it be that "Waly" is the seminal song of all the music of the British Isles?

But, still and all, I'd like to know if the song is traditionally in 3/4 or 4/4 time. Our choir director did it in 6/8 and gave it words appropriate for Good Friday and it sounded pretty good. It's that Good Friday song that brought up my question in the first place, since the choir director pronounced it "Wally" as in "Leave It to Beaver."

So, is it 3/4 time? -Joe-


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: SonomaPup
Date: 14 Apr 97 - 11:15 PM

Great subject, guys! I am doing a project for my folklore class, on "living folklore," and one of my topics is on the variously-named Waly Waly, The Water is Wide, Carrickfergus, Jamie Douglas folksong/ballad. This thread has provided much food for thought and terrific information. Thanks a bunch.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: SonomaPup
Date: 14 Apr 97 - 11:18 PM

I almost forgot! If anyone can provide any more on the history of this folksong, I'd be most appreciative.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Bill D
Date: 15 Apr 97 - 10:10 AM

Regarding Dick G's comment 4 posts above:

My daddy used to say.."yeah, it's the same...only different"

(and what a concept...'Dueling databases'....I think I'll start one in 'reverse Polish' notation)


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Bert Hansell
Date: 15 Apr 97 - 12:53 PM

I like to think of these versions as all relating to the same folk theme.
Here we have a theme of crossing a river which can be extended to include
such songs as 'Waters of Tyne' and even 'Running Bear'.

I suppose the theme must have been quite widespread in times when bridges were few and far between.

Hey Bill D. MY Dad used to say that as well so I suppose that saying itself is another piece of folklore.

And...
here - stuff - Polish Notation - that - start - don't:)

Bert.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 15 Apr 97 - 06:09 PM

Well, if we're considering themes, I guess Careless Love fits right in (You can't demand crossing water; Waly Waly stays on dry land.)

My own thoughts (I wouldn't dignify them with the word "theories") lean towards a song's geneology involving a great deal of input from other songs, rather than the idea of an-original- leading-to-a-simpler more-corrupted version.

Like, I'm pretty sure that Captain Wedderburn's courtship lifted riddle verses from an older "Gave My Love a Cherry", rather than "Cherry" being a degenerate version of Wedderburn. There are lots of (possible) examples.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: John Moulden
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 12:33 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 03:31 PM

Does anyone have the 4 verse version of "Waly Waly" that appeared in the original 1725 edition of 'Orpheus Caledonius'?

I once saw it but failed to copy it. Allan Ramsay gave a 10 verse version in the 2nd volume of 'The Tea Table Miscellany', (1725). Thompson then gave a 10 verse version in the 2nd edition of 'Orpheus Caledonius', 1733, but the "When Cockle shells" verse of OC2 isn't in the TTM text (and is the only one that isn't). This makes it obvious that Jamie Douglas (Child #204) wasn't based on the 'Tea Table Miscellany' text.

The verse:

If I had wist before I had kist,
that love had been so deare to win;
My heart I would have clos'd in gold,
and pinn'd it with a silver pin.

is from a broadside ballad of c 1660, "The Seaman's leave taken of his Sweetest Margery" (ZN2431). Another from this ballad that doesn't appear in the early copies of "Waly Waly", but does appear in later ones and some other folk songs is:

I have seven ships upon the sea,
and all are laden to the brim;
I am so inflam'd with love to thee,
I care not whether I sink or swim.

J. W. Allen wrote an article where he attempted to separate "Waly Waly", "The Water is wide" and "Down in yon meadow" (Picking Lillies), but it wasn't entirely successful in my opinion. For it see "Some Notes on 'O Waly Waly'" in the 'Journal of the English Folk Dance and Song Society', VII #2, 161-71, (1954). He gives a fairly comprehensive bibliography of chapbook, broadside and traditional texts, and Steve Roud's folksong index gives more. Roud's number, 87, is for both "Wally waly" and "The Water is Wide".

Many editors have been wont to combine traditional versions in a massive conflated text that no singer actually ever sang (e.g., Reeves 'Idiom of the People' #108 which has the extra verse of "Seaman's Leave" quoted above, "Down in the meadows", "I put my finger to the bush" (from Martin Parker, c 1629), but "The water is wide" verse and some others are delegated to a footnote there.) Unfortunately, conflated texts seem to be more readily available than true traditional versions. Stephen Sedley, 'The Seeds of Love', has a conflated "Water is Wide" derived from chapbook texts and a "Waly Waly" which is actually "Jamie Douglas"


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 07:24 PM

Bruce, I have a friend who is thinking there might have been a Gaelic or Irish version of the Carrickfergus. Have you ever seen such?


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Bruce O.
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 07:48 PM

I don't know of any Gaelic version, and I haven't seen anything to indicate that the English language version of "Carrickfergus" is very old. What is the earliest proven date of a text or tune for it?

The only tune known as "Carrickfergus" through 1865 is the one also known as "The Small Pin Cushion", "Haste to the Wedding/Rural Felicity" and "The Dargle". You will find all of them listed at |1284| in the Irish tune index on my website. The tune title "Carrickfergus' is said to be related to a ballad about the taking of the castle there by a French force under Admiral Thurot in 1760, but I haven't found a copy of the ballad. There's more than one ballad about the defeat of the French and death of Thurot at the battle of Sole Bay, a few months later, but none that I've seen called for that tune. [A note in Linscott's 'Folk Songs of Old New England' on the composer of the ballad (Thurot according to her) is obviously completely garbled. Nothing new as far as her comments on other old songs and tunes go.]


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: Susan A-R
Date: 05 Jan 00 - 11:21 PM

Joe, I have only heard the June Tabor version of Wally Wally which is yet another conglomeration of songs/stories. It's gorgeous, a completely different tune from The Water is Wide (there is not any water in this one either Dick( and is not in 3/4. However, the folk process does work in mysterious ways.

Bruce O, you may also want to get ahold of June's version. It has the If I had wist before I had kist verse mentioned above, as well as some other lovely stuff.

Susan A-R


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: John Moulden
Date: 06 Jan 00 - 05:35 AM

In the more recent thread about the origin of Carrickfergus, I trace my knowledge of the "modern" "I wish I was in Carrickfergus" to Dominic Behan's singing of it on his 1961 LP "The Irish Rover" (Folklore F-LEUT-2) where he attributes his knowledge of it to having collected it from the actor Peter O'Toole. The Clancy Brother's recording of it is subsequent and every set of the words I have seen since derives from their verion. Behan had only two stanzas, made a third one (the second he published in "Ireland Sings" (London, 1965) and an adaptive open season was declared - I have now seen three or four different versions, at least one of them constructed for a production of Michael Flatley's but nothing which precedes 1961.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: maire-aine
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 11:16 PM

I have been Wade-y Wading through Waly Waly threads for several days now, but I still haven't come across what I'm looking for. Does anybody know if there is a recorded version of Jamie Douglas (Child #204) that is mentioned throughout. I've found countless recorded versions of the Waly, Waly (4 verse version), but no Jamie version. At least if I know there's one out there, I can keep looking. Thanks.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly
From: GUEST,Lynn
Date: 18 Apr 02 - 11:47 PM

Joe - Are you still wondering if it's in 3 or 4? (Scanning I didn't see an answer). I've always heard it and sung it in 4. Can't imagine it in 6/8!!! Or fast for that matter. Hal Hopson's lyrics (found in many protestant hymnals) call it The Gift of Love, based on I Corinthians 13. Not bad lyrics, but overdone.


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Subject: RE: Waly, Waly - Water is Wide
From: Haruo
Date: 23 May 02 - 02:04 PM

I can't seem to find your basic O WALY WALY midi in the DT. The tune Hal Hopson used as just noted and stole (the way we stole America) and copyrighted and called GIFT OF LOVE. Word, Inc.'s Hymnal for Worship and Celebration (1986) has a version of Psalm 42 by Danna Harkin, ©1975, set to an arrangement of the tune by Michael James, ©1986, and they call the tune APPALACHIA. I like the harp-accompanied arrangement by Barbara Neighbors Deal, ©1992, which you can listen to at Create us new in my online hymnal (Esperanto version, too, of course). Hymns for the Spiritual Journey, where the Deal arrangement was published, calls the tune "Old Scots Ballad".

Liland


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waly, Waly - Water is Wide
From: Haruo
Date: 19 Jul 18 - 11:41 PM

I just noted that there are 47 hymn texts set to O WALY WALY (i.e. THE WATER IS WIDE or a near variant/arrangement thereof) in the Hymnary.org database. Does anyone know of a list of secular songs set to the tune? (Which is quite a different tune from either what the database here calls WALY WALY or COCKLE SHELLS.)


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Subject: RE: Origins: Waly, Waly - Water is Wide
From: leeneia
Date: 20 Jul 18 - 12:55 PM

The old-time collectors who wandered the countryside in the late 19th C and into the 20th focussed on themes and floating verses. Two songs could have different melodies or many different words, but if they were on the same topic or shared floating verses, they tended to lump them. They even lumped them if they were in entirely different languages. Then they gave the group a name like The False Knight or The Two Sisters.

This makes sense if you are interested in songs as literature, but it's not much help to a person who wants to make music.

There's a sad old lyric with the words "o waly, waly" in the chorus. There's another one that starts "The water is wide, I cannot cross o'er." And just because these two songs share some lines, the collectors also gave "The Water is Wide" the name "Waly Waly".

Does that make sense? No. The songs have different melodies, mostly different words, and one has a chorus and one does not. I personally think that O Waly, Waly is more naive and countrified than The Water Is Wide.

A good way to see the music is to go to abcnotation.com and do two searches.

waly, waly
Water is wide

Some extraneous tunes which happen to have those words will come up to irritate you, and then quite a few versions of the tune you want will also come up. For "The Water is Wide," I like #19, which is in 4/4 time.


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Mudcat time: 25 September 2:03 AM EDT

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