Mudcat Café message #91277 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #11826   Message #91277
Posted By: Brian Hoskin
01-Jul-99 - 03:20 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Ride On (Jimmy MacCarthy)
Subject: RE: Irish Song; 'Ride On'
I'd go along with John's theory. The 'run your claw . . .' line I read as a reflection of the torment of a last encounter between the besotted man and the woman he'll never have again. I'm not sure that there has to be a commoner/nobility division, but she's moved on and he's still desperately in love.

Having said this, I don't believe that the meaning as intended by the writer has any more importance than that which is constructed in the interpretation of both the singer and the audience. This song is undoubtedly emotionally powerful, and all the more so for its ability to bring different images and ideas to different people. So whether you're imagining a highwayman (or woman) or a spurned lover, or a hopeless love across an impossible dividing line, it really doesn't matter; each is just as valid and just as powerful.

Besides, if you think this one's difficult to interpret, what do you make of MacCarthy's songs (also recorded by Christy Moore) 'Mystic Lipstick' and 'Bright Blue Rose'?