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Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?

DigiTrad:
GYPSY ROVER
GYPSY ROVER (2)
GYPSY ROVER (3)


Related threads:
(origins) Gypsy Rover a real folk song? (96)
Gypsy Rover - River Claydee (12)
Help: history of the song 'Gypsy Rover (15)
Req: Gypsy's Whistling Rover (parody-unanswered) (9)
Lyr/Chords Req: Whistling Gypsy (3) (closed)


GUEST,John Minear - minmax@ceva.net 12 Jun 02 - 02:24 PM
Mrrzy 12 Jun 02 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,John Minear - minmax@ceva.net 12 Jun 02 - 02:42 PM
CapriUni 12 Jun 02 - 02:44 PM
GUEST,ozmacca 13 Jun 02 - 12:21 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 13 Jun 02 - 07:09 AM
manitas_at_work 13 Jun 02 - 07:22 AM
InOBU 13 Jun 02 - 07:23 AM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 13 Jun 02 - 07:57 AM
IanC 13 Jun 02 - 08:49 AM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Jun 02 - 09:08 AM
IanC 13 Jun 02 - 09:23 AM
Malcolm Douglas 13 Jun 02 - 10:30 AM
IanC 13 Jun 02 - 10:44 AM
InOBU 13 Jun 02 - 03:44 PM
Chicken Charlie 13 Jun 02 - 04:18 PM
An Pluiméir Ceolmhar 14 Jun 02 - 06:32 AM
InOBU 14 Jun 02 - 07:13 AM
InOBU 14 Jun 02 - 08:26 AM
Le Scaramouche 27 Jun 05 - 07:07 PM
InOBU 27 Jun 05 - 07:19 PM
InOBU 27 Jun 05 - 07:21 PM
MartinRyan 28 Jun 05 - 07:10 PM
Big Al Whittle 29 Jun 05 - 03:10 AM
Le Scaramouche 29 Jun 05 - 04:53 AM
LadyJean 30 Jun 05 - 01:23 AM
Big Al Whittle 30 Jun 05 - 04:15 AM
GUEST,Whistling Gypsy Rover 12 Nov 06 - 02:41 PM
GUEST,Gassed 12 Nov 06 - 02:46 PM
GUEST,memyself 12 Nov 06 - 03:57 PM
skarpi 12 Nov 06 - 04:12 PM
GUEST,memyself 12 Nov 06 - 06:19 PM
Snuffy 12 Nov 06 - 06:28 PM
skarpi 13 Nov 06 - 01:27 AM
GUEST,memyself 13 Nov 06 - 09:00 AM
GUEST 30 Jan 07 - 05:01 PM
Jim Lad 31 Jan 07 - 12:47 AM
Gurney 31 Jan 07 - 01:42 AM
dianavan 31 Jan 07 - 04:12 AM
Tradsinger 31 Jan 07 - 04:22 AM
Scrump 31 Jan 07 - 04:30 AM
romany man 15 Sep 08 - 05:46 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Sep 08 - 05:56 AM
romany man 15 Sep 08 - 10:03 AM
Big Al Whittle 15 Sep 08 - 11:14 AM
Richard Bridge 15 Sep 08 - 01:44 PM
romany man 15 Sep 08 - 05:21 PM
GUEST,John Cowan 08 Feb 14 - 03:51 AM
GUEST,Eliza 08 Feb 14 - 05:50 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Feb 14 - 09:10 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: GYPSY DAVY (from Helen Hartness Flanders)
From: GUEST,John Minear - minmax@ceva.net
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 02:24 PM

In her book, ANCIENT BALLADS TRADITIONALLY SUNG IN NEW ENGLAND, Helen Hartness Flanders has a version of "The Gypsy Laddie" (K on pp. 210-213, entitled "Gypsy Davy" that seems related to "The Whistling Gypsy" song by Maguire. She says, "As heard by Charles H. Benjamin in lumber camps north of Patten, Maine, around the 1860's and 1870's. This was sung by his daughter, Mrs. Charles Woodbury, now of Washington, D.C. - December 15, 1948".

The tune looks similar. I don't have the means to reproduce it here. Perhaps someone else can do that. The words are as follows:

Oh,Gypsy Davy came over the hills,
Came down through the Eastern valleys.
He sang till he made the wild woods ring,
And he charmed the heart of a lady.
Ah-da-dum, a-da-doo, ah-da-doo, ah-da-day,
Ah-da-dum, ah-da-doo, ah-da-day-dee;
He sang till he made the wild wood ring,
And he charmed the heart of a lady.

A lord returning home at night,
Inquiring for his lady,
They made him this reply, that she
Had gone with the Gypsy Davy.

"Go fetch me now my coal-black steed;
My gray is not so speedy;
I've rode all day, but I'll ride all night
Till I overtake my lady."

He rode till he came to the muddy water side-
It looked so dark and dreary;
He rode till he came to the muddy water side,
Where he beheld his lady.

"Oh, will you leave your house and home?
Oh, will you leave your baby?
Oh, will you leave your own wedded lord
To go with the Gypsy Davy?

"Last night you lay in your soft, warm bed
And in our arms your baby;
Tonight you'll lie on the cold, cold ground
In the arms of the Gypsy Davy."

"I never loved my house and home,
I never loved my baby,
I never loved my own wedded lord
As I love the Gypsy Davy."


The verses after verse one are certainly different from what the Clancy Brothers sing, and seem much more akin to other American versions. But the tune is there and the basic form of the story. In this version the "Lord" is her husband rather than her father.

I am always interested in how these songs evolve.

John

line breaks fixed by mudelf


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 02:38 PM

When we were in Eastern Europe, Mom always held us kids very tightly by the hand whenever there were gypsies around, because she "knew" they stole children. In this day and age... plus she could tell, say, Hungarian gypsies from Serbian gypsies from Rumanian gypsies... they were not considered all one group by the folks among whom they lived, that's for sure.


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Subject: Lyr Add: GYPSY DAVY (from Dorothy Scarborough)
From: GUEST,John Minear - minmax@ceva.net
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 02:42 PM

In addition to the version posted above from Flanders, I also came across the following in Dorothy Scarborough's book A SONG CATCHER IN THE SOUTHERN MOUNTAINS, published in 1937, pp. 224-225. Dorothy Scarborough says:

"Margaret Widdemer gave me the words and music for another account of the elopement. She wrote, "This is a variant of the RAGGLE-TAGGLE GYPSIES, evidently. It was given to me orally by Mrs. Margaret Leamy, who learned it as a child in Ireland. It is a lullaby, as is clear not only from the refrain, but from the interesting reproach in the last stanza..."

(G)GYPSY DAVY

Gypsy Davy came over the hills,
Down thro the valleys shady,
He whistled and sang till the wild woods rang,
And he won the heart of a lady.

Ah de doo ah de day ah de day dee,
He whistled and he sang till the wold(sic)woods rang,
And he won the heart of a lady.

My lord returning late at night,
Asking for his lady,
The servants said, "She's out of door,
She's gone with the Gypsy Davy."

Oh, saddle to me my jet black steed,
The brown one is not so speedy;
Oh saddle to me my jet black steed,
I'll off and find my lady!

He sought her up, he sought her down,
Thro woods and valleys shady,
He sought her down by the waterside,
And there he found his lady.

What made you leave your house and home?
What made you leave your baby?
What made you leave your own wedded lord
To go with the Gypsy Davy?

I never loved my house and home,
I never loved my baby,
I never loved my own wedded lord
As I love the Gypsy Davy.
---
There is not tune. The verses are very similar to the version from Maine. Perhaps the Maine version was based on an earlier Irish version. Both predate the Maguire version, especially if the Maine version comes from the 1860's or 70's. The one from Scarborough/Leamy would probably date from about the same period.

Does anyone know of a 19th century Irish version similar to either of these?

John

line breaks fixed by mudelf ;-)


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: CapriUni
Date: 12 Jun 02 - 02:44 PM

Btw, a bit of a thread creep, but just a bit of a one.

One summer morning, in a year when we were in the midst of a gypsy moth catapilliar plague (happens on a ten year cycle or so: 7 years of almost none, then a year with some, then more, and finally population boom; then almost none for another 7 years), Mother thought she saw something in an old dog house by our front door (that our other dog had outgrown). She had to sweep away the catapilliar silks that were draped over the doghouse to see properly, but sure enough, there was a tiny black puppy -- no more than 8 weeks old -- sitting in the doghouse, as pretty as you please, with an old sneaker in front of him.

Now, our house was in the middle of the forest, and not visable from the road. Our driveway was 1/5 mile long, and unpaved, and if someone wanted to drop a puppy off at a doorstep, it would be far easier to do so at a neighbor's door, and the puppy was so young and small, it's hard to imagine him walking up the driveway himself, without any sign of injury or stress, and settling into the doghouse as though he were posing for a Hallmark greeting card. Yet there he was, as if dropped from heaven.

...in honor of the Gypsy moths all around him, we named him Gypsy Davy. The sweetest little dog I ever knew...


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: GUEST,ozmacca
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 12:21 AM

I have a scots variation of the Gypsy Rover, pulled out of a compilation years ago, in which the Gypsy is not one but three lads who come to the house. The lady leaves home with them etc etc... but when the lord finds out there's a really different ending. He sends for two hangmen and he has the three brothers hanged for stealing his lady away. Good for tacking on at the end when the ordinary version's been sung.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 07:09 AM

Airto,

My sediments entirely.

I didn't know that Leo Maguire wrote The Whistling Gypsy, but it doesn't entirely surprise me. The song is one of my earliest childhood memories, as indeed is the Waltons programme. Don't forget the all-important introduction to the catch-phrase: "And remember, if you feel...".

I actually didn't like Irish trad music at the time (1950s), and the Walton's prog was a contributory factor with its wall-to-wall céilí bands and countless kitschy ballads of local patriotism ("there's none can compare/ with the County Kildare etc. etc. ad nauseam) and emigration ("If we only had old Ireland over here...."). A product of industrial protectionism as much as of cultural nationalism, it was a reflection of the stultifying introversion of Dev's and John Charles McQuaid's Ireland, and it came close to putting the music in the same ghetto as "compulsory Irish".

But then along came O Riada, the Chieftains and Planxty, and the rest is history. Now, oddly enough, I can even enjoy "The Homes of Donegal" as sung by Paul Brady, though it was an abomination in its original Waltons version.

Sorry, drifting/ranting a bit. But the people who sang THAT "Whistling Gypsy" would run a mile from a real one, just as most of the songs mentioning the pipes in the Waltons era (Danny Boy, The Kerry Dances etc.) were sung and listened to by people who had probably never even heard the sound of the uilleann pipes.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: manitas_at_work
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 07:22 AM

Aren't the pipes referred to in Danny Boy the war-pipes?


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 07:23 AM

A chara, An Pluiméir Ceolmhar:
As to the likes of em running from a real Pavee, Ceart go lear, a mhic!!! My father is Anglo Irish, and me mum is half Roma (Lovari rather than a Pavee). I learned ninety percent of my music from Pavees (I play the Uilleann Pipes and as you may know from this board, I write and sing contempory historical ballads). Well to the point, When in Listowl, for example, I'd spend a great deal of my time, when I was not busking down by the race course, with the Pavee communittee (back in the seventies and early eighties). Well, being rather fond of John B. Keene's books, my wife and I (back then we were Shem and Bior ... ) well, John B. stood in the door with his arm accross the door way and told me he didn't serve "our kind" in his pub... often the same folks who romantasize Pavee culture, discriminated against Roma.
Is mise, le meas,
Larry


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 07:57 AM

Yup, that's the sad downside of an otherwise very humane and warm-hearted author, Larry, and I can understand if you revised your opinion of him.

I used to be a regular listener at Johnnie Keenan's "Pavee club" session in Slattery's of Capel Street, Dublin in the early 70s, and remember hanging out with Paddy at a Listowel Fleadh around that time. Maybe we've met without knowing it. I got my first practice set from John.

Manitas, you might be right, though the person who wrote the Danny Boy words may never have seen pipes of either kind in the flesh!


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: IanC
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 08:49 AM

Manitas

From what we know of Fred Weatherley, it could be pan pipes.

I was just reading James Merryweather's article about regional bagpipes in the EFDSS newsletter (Summer 2002). Very interesting ... but it reminds us that "pipes" can (and often do) mean a whole lot of things from whistles to military fifes.

;-)
Ian


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 09:08 AM

Fred Weatherly was almost certainly thinking of the Highland pipes -though the phrase is really only a "stock" image in his song- and may not even have known that there was any other kind. He was a lawyer and songwriter, after all, and the Irish connection with Danny Boy is the tune, not the words, which were originally set to another air of Weatherly's own making, which didn't sell.

The American sets from Flanders and Scarborough above are particularly interesting in that they show clear precedents for Maguire's chorus (which I think I had supposed to be his own); unfortunately I don't have the relevant volume of Flanders, so I can't help with the tune.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: IanC
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 09:23 AM

Malcolm

Humour warning!

;-)


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 10:30 AM

I posted my last without having seen yours!


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: IanC
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 10:44 AM

Sorry!

Looked like you were replying ... actually, I doubt if Fred had ever heard of any other kind.

:-)


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: InOBU
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 03:44 PM

An Pluiméir Ceolmhar!
We may have well met! Where you at Slatterys the night some fellow threw a drink at Paddy's wife (gee around 1979 perhaps... maybe a few years latter...) I was playing in a booth with Johnny and Jane Kelton and one or two others... then about an hour latter Paddy came down from upstares, and she (who had been happly talking away at the bar for the past hour after) began to cry and point at the fellow... who darted into the hit and miss, meanwhile, Big Finbar barred the door to the jacks so Paddy wouldn't be up for murder... while Johnny said to my wife and I, and Jane, "Well, time to go..." a memorable night... it was entirely!!One that stands out in my mind!
A few months after John Keenan died, Johney and his mum, Mary, where over here in New York. Mary told me that she first saw John walk down a hill outside of Dublin. She said a few months ago, he and she were walking and he told her to wait at the bottom of the same hill. "He walked up that hill and took a heart attack and died. He walked down that hill into my life and then up that hill out of my life. Isn't that a Traveller's marrige?" she asked me.
Well, as to John B., a fine writer, though a flawed fellow. Who is perfect? But, I do feel prejudice is one very very black stain on one's being. I did enjoy his writing, and wish he was a bigger man about hospitality though.
Slan
Larry


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Chicken Charlie
Date: 13 Jun 02 - 04:18 PM

There are umpty-seven variants on the song. I always do "Blackjack Davey," in which the liberated-chick-before-her-time is pursued not by dear old dad but by hubby. There are, as usual with many Anglo-American derivatives, two sides of the family song-variant tree, one in which she stays with her lover and one in which she tearfully comes home--not for hubby, who is sort of a dork anyway, but for her blue-eyed baby-oh.

I got Blackjack Davey from some old book of Carolina songs that was written and illustrated in pre-PC days, but now that all racist strife has ceased, we may assume that Davey deals 21 in Vegas.

Another "Justice or Reality?" quandary shows up with "Golden Vanity," in case someone is about to call my bluff on "Oh, yeah, happens all the time, just hang around." In GV #1, the mean evil captain leaves the kid to drown. In GV #2, the kid says, "OK, mean evil Cap'n, what goes around comes around," and sinks his own ship. In GV#3, the kid really gets religion and says, "OK, mean evil Cap'n, I'd sink you too, but hey, there are women and children on board, so I'll just stay here and drown; don't mind me." Well, actually, all those utterances rhyme, but you Catters all get my DRIFT. [Oh, gawd!!!]

You can tell I'm off for a long weekend soon. :)

CC


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: An Pluiméir Ceolmhar
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 06:32 AM

Larry,

It would be overstating things to say that things were always very civilised in Slat's in my time, but there was never any pint-throwing.

Mind you there was a confrontation in connection with the domestic affairs of one of the sons (my lips are sealed), but it didn't degenerate into violence inside the pub. But it was the sort of episode which would be used to justify the JB Keane attitude, as if the same kind of thing didn't happen among other groups in society.

Around the same era, the girl who subsequently became my wife was the cause of a Hollywood-style Irish bar brawl between apparently "respectable" people in the very respectable Baggott Street (not O'Donoghues's, one of the places with higher social aspirations across the street from Doheny and Nesbit's, home of the Dublin branch of the Chicago school of economics). Fortunately I wasn't there and didn't even know her at the time, so I didn't have to get a bloody nose to prove my undying devotion.

One of the things which struck me most about John senior was his acute sense of respectability - he reminded me very much of my own mother's upper-working/lower-middle-class Edwardian social values, even though she didn't think much of my hanging around with travellers. I unintentionally offended him once with what was meant to be a complimentary remark about Davy Spillane's adoption of the travelling style of piping. I wasn't even aware I had given offence at the time, but Johnnie junior came up to me a week later in Slat's and I wondered if I was going to get a dig without knowing why. But he simply conveyed in very elliptical terms the fact that I had given offence, and when I met John I made a suitably elliptical apology which he accepted in equally elliptical terms. A decent man, and Mary was also a decent woman.

Roger


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: InOBU
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 07:13 AM

Actually, that is indeed why I point to that particular event.... if you where there that night you would have remembered it! I agree about John and Mary, Gotta run, I will say more after breakfast, Cheers larry


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: InOBU
Date: 14 Jun 02 - 08:26 AM

PS Nice breakfast, good fruit salad... My recolection of the event, lo these many years on, is that rather than a pint, it was about an eigthth of a glass of whiskey, and niether Paddy's wife or the drink tosser were Pavees as well! Cheers, Larry


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 27 Jun 05 - 07:07 PM

Teenager runs of with dark, sexy stranger. Daddy, scandalised, gives chase, she finds out her lover is actualy stinking rich and all ends well. MONEY has a way of making so many things seem right.
That's what the song's about, not the rights or wrongs of prejudice against Roma.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Jun 05 - 07:19 PM

L S:
That is one verson of the song, the ones I like, the girl leaves the rich Gyjzo and runs off with the Romanichal...
If you read the thread with care, you would see, lo these many years ago, we were saying, know the history not censor the songs... the history is that back to the middle ages Roma in western Europe where hanged for breathing the air... adds a touch of irony to the song, n'est pas?
All the best
lor


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: InOBU
Date: 27 Jun 05 - 07:21 PM

PS By the way L.S.... check out me new song on the post Lorcan Otway new project Amy Gray... it is more up to date than this old thread.
cheers
lor


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: MartinRyan
Date: 28 Jun 05 - 07:10 PM

Odd to find my posting at the top of this thread...

Regards


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 03:10 AM

with all these different versions its amazing there isn't one, where the girl says, all right Dad I'll come home - that bloody whistling is starting to get to me.....


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Le Scaramouche
Date: 29 Jun 05 - 04:53 AM

He's loaded, so I bet she learned to live with it. Heck, could even buy diamond earplugs.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: LadyJean
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 01:23 AM

Long ago, I read an Irish folktale about a princess who is presented with her choice of kings. The king of the tinkers is included in the group to humiliate him. But he's the man the princess chooses, and she follows him, barefoot across the land, until he proves to be a real king, with a castle and lands, who was looking for a wife who would love him for himself.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 30 Jun 05 - 04:15 AM

yeh I've done a song writing competition that was a bit like that, though without the happy ending.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: GUEST,Whistling Gypsy Rover
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 02:41 PM

I read your blog on a song called The Gyspsy Rover (July 00). These things never seem to go away. In answer to your concern about "everything being hunky-dory when the father finds out the Gypsy is rich", I think you misinterpreted the song. The Gypsy Rover is not rich in terms of money or lands. By "lord of these lands all over", it means that he is free to wander all through the open country at will. He has no title to these lands, he just uses them for his own pleasure. Wanderlust. It is a common desire to think of the poor wanderer as "owning" the lands about him. And as far as "was he a real Gypsy"? Maybe, but maybe not. All people who went a'wandering were said to be gypsies. Gypsy was more likely a lifestyle than a race. Real gypsies were found more in the Balkans than in Ireland or Britain though stories about them travelled far in song and poetry.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: GUEST,Gassed
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 02:46 PM

Ah! Always the hunt for prejudice! Always the hunt for some hidden racial meaning. The inquisition is going strong! Hail The Inquisition!


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: GUEST,memyself
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 03:57 PM

Oh come on, Gassed - I've just read the entire thread, and there may have been some half-hearted "hunt for some hidden racial meaning" in a few threads back in 2000 - it's now '06, by the way - but it's mostly been a meandering conversation about everything from pet dogs to picturesque deaths of memorable characters. No one seems terribly worked up about the racial business - not as worked up as you seem to be, anyway.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: skarpi
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 04:12 PM

Hallo all , I heard that this a Scottish song , who some Irishman
took over to Ireland ?? but thats the story ,,

but I sang it like this

The whistling gypsy 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-re-do, ah-re-dora day,
Ah-re-do, ah-re-da-ay
He whistled and he sang
'til the greenwoods rang,
And he won the heart of a lady.

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

Viðlag.

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

Viðlag.

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.

Viðlag.

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

Viðlag

but its only me

All the best Skarpi Iceland


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: GUEST,memyself
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 06:19 PM

Virtually the same as the lyrics posted back in '02 - except those don't contain the mysterious term "Violag" - must be the name of the gypsy, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Snuffy
Date: 12 Nov 06 - 06:28 PM

That's not an "o" it's a letter called "eth" and is a d with a crosspiece ð - used in icelandic for a soft "th" sound. (The hard "th" is called "thorn" and looks like a p or y - þ)

I guess viðlag means chorus


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: skarpi
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 01:27 AM

hallo all

VIÐLAG: = CHORUS

ð and þ are used in Icelandic both letters

all the best Skarpi Iceland


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: GUEST,memyself
Date: 13 Nov 06 - 09:00 AM

That gypsy is always going to be Violag to me!


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: GUEST
Date: 30 Jan 07 - 05:01 PM


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Jim Lad
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 12:47 AM

The gypsies who camped around my neck of the woods weren't int PC all that much either.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Gurney
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 01:42 AM

The version under discussion seems to me to be prejudiced all right, but not about race but about position. She runs off with 'one of them' but it turns out ok, because he's really 'one of us!'

The whole thing is just a variant in a huge family of songs, in many of which the father/husband challenges the lover to a duel (and wins) or simply runs the bloke through, and sometimes her as well, for talking back. This is one that ends happily, so perhaps we shouldn't knock it.

Certainly we shouldn't look for modern mores in songs which are centuries old. Everyone is a child of their time.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: dianavan
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 04:12 AM

Very interesting thread.

I think it must have been written by an Irish traveller.

I think the daughter was saying,

Don't call him a gypsy father, he was born of this earth, and everywhere he steps he becomes the prince of the earth. He is welcomed with wine and song in mansions finer than your own.

To me it fits with the travellers philosophy and maybe even their history of metal workers in the castles of ancient kings. Of course a father would not want his daughter to run off with a landless, musician but she says he is lord of all.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Tradsinger
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 04:22 AM

One gypsy I knew objected to hearing the song 'Raggle Taggle Gypsies' as he considered that description to be demeaning to gypsies. Interesting.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Scrump
Date: 31 Jan 07 - 04:30 AM

Certainly we shouldn't look for modern mores in songs which are centuries old. Everyone is a child of their time.

I agree. One problem is that some people do this, i.e. try to apply modern 'rules' to old songs, and try to stop people singing them for fear of offending people. Yes, there are some songs that would be offensive because of the language used, but others where it's not so easy to draw the line between what is offensive. As was said in another thread recently, there would be very few old songs we could sing if we take this modern 'puritanism' to extremes, as some folk are wont to do.

As long as the singer is aware of the song's context in history, and sensitive to modern views, and takes the trouble to explain to the audience, I don't see a problem myself (with the exception of certain songs which may be directly insulting to people).

In the case of the Whistling Gypsy / Gypsy Rover, I never really thought of it as being offensive. I thought of the 'gypsy' as a romantic, roving blade type of character, which seems complimentary to me rather than derogatory, but I suppose it depends on your view.

I think the song mocks the rich father for looking down on the gypsy, and trying to stop his daughter running off with him, rather than being derogatory to the 'gypsy' himself, or the gypsy people. The message I get from it is that the daughter fell in love with a man she believed to be a gypsy, and it was only later she found out he was a rich man in disguise (or something like that).

Similar to "Hi for the Beggarman", where a beggar turns out to be rich. Again the story is about a girl who falls for a poor man (the beggar) and pokes fun at her parents for trying to stop the match. The message is "love is more important than money".

(Apologies if these points were made above, I only had time to skim through the posts).


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: romany man
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:46 AM

As i sit quietly reading threads (yes i can read and do joined up writing) I am amazed at how often threads turn to the travelling fraternity, most ideas are split, we are either theiving no good na'do wells, or we are a romantic musical people with a way of life others aspire to, well folks , we react to given situations, we can be either, but hey dont put us all in one box, our history (in uk) goes back into the deep dark realms, often we had to poach, rob or beg to live, but we are a proud race, we like to work for our crust. We tend to stick together wether settled or travelling, sadly thanks to legilation, its hard to travel, there are no more stopping places those that do travel often harrassed to the point of madness, as for the threads relating to irish and the like travellers, yes there is a difference, between all of us, also, the owning of land issue is a case in point, many romanies have bought land thinking they would be able to live on it, i can only quote a case that my family were involved in, uncle bought land next to a non gypsy man who had three mobile homes on it and a trnsport company parking their lorries in it, uncle thought planning permission would be a doddle, oh no, he was told outright, NO GYPSIES ever got planning here, well 20 years later, still no planning, BUT we got a letter last week offering to buy the land so that a major housing developer could put 20 houses on the site, HHMM prejudice ? oh no just business, and how many of you want a gypsy living next door, daily we face prejudice and even on tv the PC brigade allow the calling of names directed at us, watch the top gear reruns where they take a caravan on the road, listen for the number of times james may calls us "pikeies" etc, No folks the life of a gypsy has never been easy and never will, we know it , what can we do nothing.
Back to the song we tend to "own" the land we are stopping on, not literally but as we are there at that point of time all we roam on is ours, then when we leave its only remembered as a good stopping place or a bad one, so he could have been the lord at that time,
the times that the song relates to are long gone, but we all tend to put todays thought on old writings,


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:56 AM

I'm predjudiced against anybody who whistles. My father used to whisle a lot, and he was part gypsy. Can't bleeding rove far enough as far I'm concerned, once they start whistling.

I suppose if you are a Whistling Gypsy Rover, and that's your gig - fair enough - but someone like Roger Whittaker, I can see no excuse for.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: romany man
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 10:03 AM

oh look something else we cant do, i will add that one to the list


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Big Al Whittle
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 11:14 AM

The whistling gypsy came over the hill.....

quite a trick, mind you I could do stuff like that when I was younger.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 01:44 PM

Oh, good riposte, Romany Man!


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: romany man
Date: 15 Sep 08 - 05:21 PM

thank you richard hope you well


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: GUEST,John Cowan
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 03:51 AM

I heard this performed in Scottish Gaelic by a singer named Kennedy at the Spencertown Academy in New York State, probably back in the 80s. He explained that this was the "wife runs away, husband goes after her, captures her and her lover, kills him, locks her in a hut for the rest of her life" version from which the modern Gypsy Rover descends. He had a very haunting voice, though I couldn't follow one word of the lyrics.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: GUEST,Eliza
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 05:50 AM

I remember as a small girl listening to this song on the radio, and really loving it. Just after the war, where I lived in Middlesex (west of London) a huge procession of pony-drawn traditional 'gypsy' caravans arrived every Spring and drew up on our central green. These folk were always called The Gypsies, and the general feeling was pleasure that they'd come again, just like the swallows. They were a part of our seasonal life. The women would come round selling pegs and bunches of heather etc, and were received with courtesy and kindness on the whole. My mother (being Irish) was always glad to see them and have a natter. Gypsies were seen as romantic and their life as very attractive and carefree (it was probably hard in reality though!). This song could be summed up in that one word - Romantic. A Gypsy man would be regarded as exotic, handsome (because they were quite dark-skinned and had a healthy look from outdoor living) and yes, sexy. There was no intention or undertone of prejudice, racism, despising or any other nasty attitude. It is just an expression of a young woman's feeling of freedom and earthiness at being with a man like that. People are far too over-sensitive and find offence where there never was any, not in those halcyon days anyway.


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Subject: RE: Whistling Gypsy - prejudice?
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Feb 14 - 09:10 AM

Just completed this note in preparation for putting our Clare song collection up on the County Library website in a couple of months
Will be tackling 'The Whistling Gypsy later
Always though the idea of someone running off with a good looking woman common sense and good taste - can't see where the prejudice comes in.
Eliza
Your Borrowesque description of Gypsy life has been the plague of real Gypsies existence for centuries.
I agree with you about the 'over-sensitivity', but George Borrow created a hell of an image for them to live up to.   
Jim Carroll

Auld Scoláire Hat – Susie Cleary
This was written as 'My Old Killarney Hat', by Dublin baritone songwriter, Leo Maguire (1903 – 1985)
Maguire was born in Dublin's inner city, trained as a baritone under Vincent O'Brien, John McCormack's voice teacher. For many years he performed with the Dublin Operatic Society
He wrote over 100 songs, his best known being "The Whistling Gypsy", a rewrite if the Child Ballad 'The Gypsy Laddie' (Child200)
Maguire also wrote parodies and humorous songs under the name Sylvester Gaffney.


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