When Cecil Sharp transcribed O Waly Waly in 1908, it bore this title but did not contain the title words (beginning instead with "Down in the meadows"). It has been suggested since that the version we know now may be a composite of three songs: the Scottish "Waly Waly" (meaning "a cry of woe or grief"), the Cecil Sharp transcript and an American song, "The Water Is Wide," which begins the first verse of our version. This sad song is sometimes set in 3/4 time, but I have chosen to give it a gently rocking 4/4 feel, slightly reminiscent of the version by the singer James Taylor.
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