Sunday, March 16, 2008

Celebrate the Day

I found the lyrics under the name "Gypsy Rover," but that's nonsense. This song is introduced on a rare live-performance Clancy Brothers album as "The Whistling Gypsy"--and, as the Clancys are the last word in Irish music to me, that's the correct title.

Tommy Makem, who sang with the Clancys during their glory years in the 1960s, delivers the best version of this Irish classic on that live album (link here to listen), which is one of my life-long favorites. St. Patrick's Day would not be complete without hearing it:

The gypsy rover came over the hill
Down through the valley so shady,
He whistled and he sang 'til the greenwoods rang,
And he won the heart of a lady.

Chorus:Ah-de-do, ah-de-do-da-day,Ah-de-do, ah-de-da-ay
He whistled and he sang 'til the green woods rang,
And he won the heart of a lady.

She left her father's castle gates
She left her own fine lover
She left her servants and her state
To follow the gypsy rover.

Her father saddled up his fastest steed
And roamed the valleys all over
Sought his daughter at great speed
And the whistling gypsy rover.

He came at last to a mansion fine,
Down by the river Claydee
And there was music and there was wine,
For the gypsy and his lady.

"He is no gypsy, my father" she said"
But lord of these lands all over,
And I will stay 'til my dying day
With my whistling gypsy rover

Sing it again, Tommy, boyo! The way you hold that last note still gives me goosebumps. Let's lift a glass to toast a happy St. Pat's Day for all. Slainte.