Music Video Weekend: St. Patrick’s Day Edition, “The Raggle Taggle Gypsy”

“What care I for my money-o?”

Must be the weather. I’m feeling St. Paddy’s Day a wee bit early this afternoon, so started listening hardcore to Irish tunes. And me being me, I just had to share one of my favorites. But hold on a second while I wet my whistle.

Ah better. You have to love Ireland’s Mike Scott and The Waterboys, it’s a requirement here at jamespreller.com, and a staple from my late-80’s period. For me, the must-have disk has always been “Fisherman’s Blues.” Here they do a lively version of one of the great traditional Irish tunes, “The Raggle Taggle Gypsy,” full of wild idealism and that particular strain of (fading?) Irish anti-materialism. “Gypsy” can be found on “Roam to Room,” perhaps their disk most influenced by the traditional music (and gypsy spirit) of old Ireland.

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There were three old gypsies came to our hall door
they came brave and boldly-o
And one sang high and the other sang low
and the other sang a raggle taggle gypsy-o

It was upstairs downstairs the lady went
put on her suit of leather-o
And there was a cry from around the door
she’s away wi’ the raggle taggle gypsy-o

It was late that night when the Lord came in
inquiring for his lady-o
And the servant girl she said to the Lord
“She’s away wi’ the raggle taggle gypsy-o”

“Then saddle for me my milk white steed
– my big horse is not speedy-o
And I will ride till I seek my bride
she’s away wi’ the raggle taggle gypsy-o”

Now he rode East and he rode West
he rode North and South also
Until he came to a wide open plain
it was there that he spied his lady-o

“How could you leave your goose feather bed
your blankeys strewn so comely-o?
And how could you leave your newly wedded Lord
all for a raggle taggle gypsy-o?”

“What care I for my goose feather bed
wi’ blankets strewn so comely-o?
Tonight I lie in a wide open field
in the arms of a raggle taggle gypsy-o.”

“How could you leave your house and your land?
how could you leave your money-o?
How could you leave your only wedded Lord
all for a raggle taggle gypsy-o?”

“What care I for my house and my land?
what care I for my money-o?
I’d rather have a kiss from the yellow gypsy’s lips
I’m away wi’ the raggle taggle gypsy-o!”

I discovered this version by Eliza Carthy, playing alongside her parents, folk musicians Martin Carthy and Norma Waterson. She gives it a completely different feel and arrangement — utterly gorgeous — and I realize that I’ve got some catching up to do:

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Here’s a band I don’t know anything about, named Mad Dog McRea, but these guys give a spirited, ale-spilled, “Wish I was there hoisting me glass” performance:

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And finally, there’s Planxty, an Irish “super group” including Christy Moore, Andy Irvine, Liam O’Flynn, and Donal Lunny. Here they give the song a go with stirring results, taken from their 1973 eponymous debut. Sorry, audio only:

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

One comment

  1. Try this variation on for size.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UZzmPbzwZ1o

    Great post amongst great posts, JP. Happy St. Paddy’s to the clan!

    M

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