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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,visitor Analysis of Raglan Road (129* d) RE: Analysis of Raglan Road 24 Aug 01

Pardon me, not a musician, poet, or artist of any kind, for imposing a post-script on this apparently long dead thread. I was drawn to this song by recent life developments, pulling it out of the deep recesses of my memory and looking up the lyrics on the web, which lead me here. You people provided me with a lot of insight and inspiration, so, a few points:

1. The extreme vulgarity of describing oneself as an angel and the ex as essentially a mud person struck me as a conceit that couldn't have been intended by the most arrogant of artists. I think I can provide a defense in mitigation of that concern: He didn't mean that he was an angel, but he did mean that his interests were in poetry and other art, and less in the material matters of this world. His important point was that he tried to interest her in the things he valued, but which were not her particular interests. He made an error and paid a heavier price than expected. When one's stated interest is in the ephemeral, rather than the material, it is a slippery slope to pretentiousness, but the truth was what it was.

2. When he said let grief be a fallen (or falling) leaf at the dawn of the day, he meant "No fear." "Just do it." Of that I am now quite certain. Instead of triumphing in his boast, however, he learned a painful lesson about the grief of love lost. No one can will it to be a mere fallen leaf (at the dawn of the day), it is more akin to an angel losing his wings (at the dawn of the day.)

3. The original disagreement about the merits of deciphering original intent versus taking the words as they are, and perhaps kneading them (with a bard's license) certainly has merit on both sides. However, the proponents of deciphering have some tangible proof of what can go haywire with a "just do it" approach: The recording by Sandy Durkin and her band members will not sit well with anyone who enjoys this song for emotional impact.

4. In the "no accounting for taste" department, I'll go out on a limb and discuss my preferred renditions: (I haven't had the privilege of hearing Marie O'Brien's recording yet.) As seems to be the unanimous agreement above, Joan Osborne's version (with the Chieftains) pretty much has to take top honors. However, there are other recordings, which, depending on both your mood and temperament, may suit the mood and win preference at any given time. Eleanor Shanley (Album?) Most notable among these is one by Eleanor Shanley. Of my "top four," hers is the only one made without the Chieftains in support. Roger Daltrey (An Irish Evening) It took me a long time to identify the singer, and I was most surprised to learn that it was none other than Roger Daltrey. This is one of the mre exercised versions and won't go over with many, I imagine, but I like it, and I've never liked the Who's music.) Van Morrison (Irish Heartbeat) I'm an extreme vanophile, so it wasn't easily that I had to give him fourth place honours. Sinnead O'Connor (Common Ground) I detested Sinnead's version at first, but, since hers is the most unadorned version, with no embellishment at all, it has grown on me quite comfortably. Mark Knopfler Mark Knopfler seems to be trying a Robbie Robertson imitation, but it sounds a bit more like Leonard Cohen with a few cups of coffee in him. No matter, one has to use one's voice characteristics as they can, I guess, and he doesn't do injury to the emotion. The song can handle a lot of variety in interpretation.

Anyway, thanks to you all. I'm not usually so wordy, but this has been a lot of fun. Vive mudcat.

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