Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Review: 'The Water Is Wide' by Alex Beaton

'The Water Is Wide' by Alex Beaton, 1995, Glenfinnan Music, Ltd. Cover: nifty. We don't have the inside of this one, so we don't know if lyrics are included. 

This album, particularly the title song, has special meaning for us. We borrowed it out of Mom's personal music library; Mom and Dad (especially Mom) loved Alex Beaton. He's a family favourite. 

The title song is probably our favourite, for personal reasons. It's touching and deep, and has a beautiful melody. 

Another reason we love this CD is because it has so many ship songs on it (three in all). 'White Squall' is about a sailor reminiscing on a young man lost at sea under his supervision. The story takes place in the lakes of Wiarton, where people even now lose their lives to the squalls. 'Jeannie C.' is about a shipwreck in which not only a mate was lost, but the ship herself; the man singing will never go to sea again. It's a sad song, as are most ship songs, 'The Mary Ellen Carter,' being the exception. This song is about men rebuilding a ship that was lost. It also carries the message to 'rise again' in the face of adversity. 

Other songs include 'No Man's Land,' about a man wondering what life and death were like for a 19-year-old soldier whose grave he's visiting. Then there's 'Forty Five Years,' about a man still madly in love with his wife after decades of being together. 'The Lily of the West,' which has had lyrical changes depending on the artist who sang it, is about a man who kills his rival and still loves the woman who betrayed him.

Most of the songs on this album are touching, moving, or outright sad. It's not the album to listen to on a bad day.     

Note: mild language. 

Favourite lyrics include: 'Well, I hope you died quick and I hope you died clean/Or, Willie McBride, was it slow and obscene?' ('No Man's Land'); 'So it's just my luck to have the watch, with nothing left to do/But watch the deadly waters glide as we roll north to the "Soo,"/And wonder when they'll turn again and pitch us to the rail/And whirl off one more youngster in the gale' ('White Squall'); 'I'll never know just what we struck/But strike we did like thunder/John Price gave a cry and pitched overside/Now it's forever he's gone under' ('Jeannie C.').

Don't forget to check out the other sites on the tour!

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