From the recording The Water is Wide
Back in '65 we went into Gallo Studios, Johannesburg to record the third and last Mel, Mel & Julian LP. The folk-rock movement was going strong, and Judy Collins' "In My Life", baroque-folk album, made us realize that we had carte-blanche to try new things on our choice of music. That LP was titled Miscellanea because of the wide variety of music we covered, and, there were two originals on it as well... our first attempt at song writing.
I had wanted to include this wonderful old English folk song in our repertoire and I also insisted that I sing lead on it, which Mel Miller and Julian Laxton graciously allowed this primarily harmony singer to do. On the recording, Julian who had discovered the power of experimentation and innovation, added electric guitar, and I asked the resident arranger, the famous South African band leader, Dan Hill to add a string quartet.
So, trusting in our newfound confidence and our collaborators in music, it was with much wonder and joy that I put the test pressing on my turntable, to discover the wonderful string sections! The players (unfortunately unnamed) were members of the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, and boy, can they play!
The water is wide, I cannot get oer
Neither have I wings to fly
Give me a boat that can carry two
And both shall row, my love and I
I leaned my back against an oak
Thinking it was a trusty tree
But first it bent and then it broke
So did my love prove false to me
Oh love is handsome and love is kind
Gay as a jewel when first it is new
But love grows old and waxes 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 so deep as the love I'm in
I know not if I sink or swim