Sunday, 23 November 2014

Irish Songs in a Woman's Key: The Water is Wide

This is a series of folk and particularly Irish songs, in keys that are suitable for women.  




The Water Is Wide 
has been recorded by many many people - from Joan Baez and Bob Dylan to Maura O'Connell, James Taylor, Hayley Westenra and many more.   

This is a magic version recorded at Pete Seeger's 90th birthday in Madison Square Gardens featuring some of my all time favourite singers.   To play along in this key we will do the song in the key of D and put a capo on the 1st fret.   The notes and chords are below.



And if you're interested in the background of songs - this wonderful page has the history of the song

There are many sets of words for this song - I've given both the regular version and the Pete Seeger version as sung in the video above.    First the more simple version that is usually sung around the British Isles.
The Water Is Wide



D                         G                     D
The water is wide;    I can’t cross o’er
             Bm    Em                   A
Neither have            I wings to fly
                  F#m  G                      D       
Give me a boat        that will carry two
         G             D   G        A         D
And both shall row,     my love and I

Love is gentle and love is kind
And love is sweet when first it’s true
But love grows old and when it’s cold
And fades away like the morning dew

There is a ship and she sails the sea
She’s loaded deep as deep can be
But not as deep as the love I’m in
I know not how I sink or swim

The water is wide; I can’t cross o’er
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that will carry two
And both shall row, my love and I




And the Pete Seeger version

The water is wide, I cannot get over
And neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I

A ship there is and she sails the sea
She's loaded deep as deep can be
But not so deep as the love I'm in
And I know not how I sink or swim

I leaned my back up against some young oak
Thinking he was a trusty tree
But first he bended and then he broke
And thus did my false love to me

I put my hand into some soft bush
Thinking the sweetest flower to find
I pricked my finger to the bone
And left the sweetest flower alone

Oh, love is handsome and love is fine
Gay as a jewel when first it is new
But love grows old and waxes cold
And fades away like summer dew

The water is wide, I cannot get over
And neither have I wings to fly
Build me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I

2 comments:

  1. Hi Fil - it is a well covered song isn't it .. but is so lovely - the Pete Seeger version is gorgeous to hear ... and I've now glanced over at the history of the song - what a travelled poem and accompaniment .. have kept it open to read it properly ...

    Cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that site with the song histories - a song takes on a new meaning for me when I get its story.

      Delete

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