Mudcat Café message #2923699 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #3449   Message #2923699
Posted By: Darowyn
09-Jun-10 - 04:26 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: The Highwayman (Alfred Noyes)
Subject: RE: ADD: The Highwayman (Noyes)
"Look for me by moonlight
Hoof beats ringing clear
Watch for me by moonlight
Were they deaf that they did not hear."

That must be a Phil Ochs interpolation.
Taken from a poetry book, I sing,

"Trit Trot* in the frosty moonlight.
Trit trot in the echoing night.
Nearer he came and nearer,
Her face shone like a light.
Her eyes grew wide for a moment.
She drew one last deep breath.
Then her finger moved in the moonlight... etc"
* the book has "Tlit Tlot" here, but I defy anyone to sing that!

I also include the previous verse, because it builds up the tension

"She twisted her hands behind her,
But all the knots held good.
She writhed her hands 'till her fingers,
Were wet with her sweat or blood.
She stretched and strained in the darkness,
and the hours crawled by like years.
'Till now, on the stroke of midnight,
Cold on the stroke of midnight,
The tip of one finger touched it!
The trigger at least was hers!

I remembered the Phil Ochs version from an LP that a university room neighbour had in the late sixties, and when I started to sing "The Highwayman", twenty five years later, I thought I was singing the Phil Ochs tune.
It was not until the CD version became available that I discovered that I'd "Folk processed" it somewhat- but I'm used to my version now, so that's how it is.
I say it's 'inspired by' the Phil Ochs tune!
I have sung this in a pub reputedly used by Dick Turpin.
I have sung it at a Halloween gig, where, because I was using some sequenced backing from the laptop on another song, I used some storm sound effects, and at the end, the sound of a horse's hooves approaching, footsteps then a hammering on the door.
This was in an old, lonely, hill top pub, and there were some very alarmed glances at the door when the audience heard that!

If you read the whole original poem, there is a lot of near fetishistic stuff about tightly fitting clothes and hair which doesn't feel too comfortable in a post Freudian world!