Loreena McKennitt — The Highwayman [Live]
Album: Live In Paris And Toronto
Avg rating:
5.9

Your rating:
Total ratings: 258
Ratings histogram:
Released: 1999
Length: 9:15
Plays (last 30 days): 1
The wind was a torrent of darkness among the gusty trees
The moon was a ghostly galleon tossed upon the cloudy seas
The road was a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor
And the highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding,
The highwayman came riding, up to the old inn-door.

He'd a French cocked hat on his forehead, a bunch of lace at his chin,
A coat of claret velvet, and breeches of brown doe-skin;
They fitted with never a wrinkle; his boots were up to the thigh!
And he rode with a jewelled twinkle,
His pistol butts a-twinkle,
His rapier hilt a-twinkle, under the jewelled sky.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark innyard,
And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;
He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there
But the landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Bess, the landlord's daughter,
Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

"One kiss, my bonny sweetheart, I'm after a prize tonight,
But I shall be back with the yellow gold before the morning light;
Yet if they press me sharply, and harry me through the day,
Then look for me by the moonlight,
Watch for me by the moonlight,
I'll come to thee by the moonlight, though hell should bar the way.

He rose upright in the stirrups; he scarce could reach her hand
But she loosened her hair i' the casement! His face burnt like a brand
As the black cascade of perfume came tumbling over his breast;
And he kissed its waves in the moonlight,
(Oh, sweet black waves in the moonlight!)
Then he tugged at his rein in the moonlight, and galloped away to the west.

He did not come at the dawning; he did not come at noon,
And out of the tawny sunset, before the rise o' the moon,
When the road was a gypsy's ribbon, looping the purple moor,
A red-coat troop came marching,
Marching, marching
King George's men came marching, up to the old inn-door.

They said no word to the landlord, they drank his ale instead,
But they gagged his daughter and bound her to the foot of her narrow bed;
Two of them knelt at the casement, with muskets at their side!
There was death at every window
And hell at one dark window;
For Bess could see, through the casement,
The road that he would ride.

They had tied her up to attention, with many a sniggering jest;
They had bound a musket beside her, with the barrel beneath her breast!
"now keep good watch!" And they kissed her.
She heard the dead man say
"Look for me by the moonlight
Watch for me by the moonlight
I'll come to thee by the moonlight, though hell should bar the way!"

She twisted her hands behind her, but all the knots held good!
She writhed her hands till her fingers were wet with sweat or blood!
They 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!

Tlot-tlot! Had they heard it? The horse-hoofs were ringing clear
Tlot-tlot, in the distance! Were they deaf that they did not hear?
Down the ribbon of moonlight, over the brow of the hill,
The highwayman came riding,
Riding, riding!
The red-coats looked to their priming!
She stood up straight and still!

Tlot in the frosty silence! Tlot, in the echoing night!
Nearer he came and nearer! Her face was like a light!
Her eyes grew wide for a moment! She drew one last deep breath,
Then her finger moved in the moonlight,
Her musket shattered the moonlight,
Shattered her breast in the moonlight and warned him with her death.

He turned; he spurred to the west; he did not know she stood
Bowed, with her head o'er the musket, drenched with her own red blood!
Not till the dawn he heard it; his face grew grey to hear
How Bess, the landlord's daughter,
The landlord's black-eyed daughter,
Had watched for her love in the moonlight, and died in the darkness there.

Back, he spurred like a madman, shrieking a curse to the sky
With the white road smoking behind him and his rapier brandished high!
Blood-red were the spurs i' the golden noon; wine-red was his velvet coat,
When they shot him down on the highway,
Down like a dog on the highway,
And he lay in his blood on the highway, with the bunch of lace at his throat.

Still of a winter's night, they say, when the wind is in the trees,
When the moon is a ghostly galleon, tossed upon the cloudy seas,
When the road is a ribbon of moonlight over the purple moor,
A highwayman comes riding,
Riding, riding,
A highwayman comes riding, up to the old inn-door.
Comments (45)add comment
 BoFiS wrote:
I caught her on tour in Radio City Music Hall, and was blown away by her performance. I personally loved her rendition of Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman, especially live where it was so much clearer and personal. I've loved Loreena McKennitt since my godmother sent me The Visit years and years ago, I'm glad RP's playing her and spreading the love.
 
She is a Fabulous Talent! Her voice is great, makes this song interesting and timeless  (Happy Winter BoFiS! My son's in RIT  : )
I see similar comments on May 16th, August 16th, October 16th and now you play it on November 16th... will put an entry on December 16th to turn off if this song comes on!!!
Who needs an isolation cell. Just play this on auto repeat and you will have the same alienating effect. {#Drunk}
 membeth wrote:
I like some of her stuff, but this is pretty dreadful.

 
couldn't agree more....having problems giving it a 4

could drop if this doesn't end soon
I like some of her stuff, but this is pretty dreadful.
oh dear.. ... no 
Feels like there should be a dancing court jester playing a lute...

please no more.... 
maybe next time you could play just the first half of the song, bill.
The Canturbury Tales vs I-tunes... :eyes:
Here Here for Phil Ochs! I was sitting in the office listening to this song in the background when I realized that I had heard it before - Phil Ochs! I am usually open to covers, etc. but this really degrades from the original. Sorry Ms. McKennitt, but leave this to Phil.
RachyChica wrote:
I absolutely agree that the Phil Ochs version is preferable. Incidently, I notice that there is no Phil Ochs in the Music index here. It would be great to hear Ain't Marchin' Anymore, Circle of Friends, etc.
I second that -- Phil Ochs would be a worthy addition.
I like Loreena McKennitt quite a bit, but on each album of hers I've heard, there has been one song that is overly long, repetetive of an uninterseting melody, and typically themed on forbidden love. This is one of those. Dull. Not one of her better songs.
I caught her on tour in Radio City Music Hall, and was blown away by her performance. I personally loved her rendition of Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman, especially live where it was so much clearer and personal. I've loved Loreena McKennitt since my godmother sent me The Visit years and years ago, I'm glad RP's playing her and spreading the love.
:frustrated:
Ahhh, the distaff Al Stewart.... verbose and cloying....
I first heard Loreena while playing cards at a friend's house (not your typical card-playing music, eh? But my friend has very eclectic tastes as well). I love her sweeping, epic, timeless style.
Does this remind anyone else of Anne of Green Gables? I believe she recites this poem rather dramatically in the movie. Aw yeah... good stuff.
Originally Posted by Platypus: this one is just a little too much. kind of reminds me of Monty Python players "galloping" through the forest (coconuts in hand) while singing cheesey tales of their conquests.
LOL! That's what I love about the comments section of RadioParadise.com. Can ya picture Zoot singing this? As a little kid, I would have loved to have this song on tape as a lullaby. It's fun to hear on RP and it's especially fun to see what people think of it but...it is a little bit much, I think.
no.
90 listener ratings with an average of 5.8 at this juncture. I\'m afraid this is more of a cultural indictment of the audience than the art.
I feel like I am in the movie Groundhog Day, only I keep getting sent back to 1492. Please. Columbus. Let me out. At least Tull starts to rock at some point.
When someday I finally leave this life, I know the memory of this song will happily let me shake off that mortal coil.
What a jump in types of music. I know this station is diverse, but i feel like i\'m at one of those medeivel festivals
Much appreciation to Bigted for the lyrics. That pretty much took care of the repetition problem for me.
yawn
I absolutely agree that the Phil Ochs version is preferable. Incidently, I notice that there is no Phil Ochs in the Music index here. It would be great to hear Ain\'t Marchin\' Anymore, Circle of Friends, etc.
Well, it could be worse. I could have been a part of that live audience. ;-)
I liked the poem, I like the musical rendering, I love Loreena McKennitt\'s work! I believe the album liner notes intimate that she was encouraged to set this to music and record it. Terrific artist!
Notwithstanding my earlier posting about this song, I must now admit that the more I hear of Ms. McKennitt the more I like her. She has a truly timeless quality to her voice and songwriting. We can only hope that she chooses to reverse her self-imposed exile and record again in the future.
Originally Posted by red: more.
less
Originally Posted by justlistening: bump One form of repetition deserves another. I like her voice and the general sound of the music - just wish it were more interesting and MUCH LESS repetitious.
Had you learnt more about folk music in general you should know that repetition is very common, widely used element. :p
Originally Posted by justlistening: blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda, yawn :D
bump One form of repetition deserves another. I like her voice and the general sound of the music - just wish it were more interesting and MUCH LESS repetitious.
Originally Posted by CoolbeaN: The reason for the repetition is that this is word for word from the original poem. The words have great meaning though I think they could have done more musically to kind of break it up and make it not seem so long and repeticious. All and all a pretty good song though.. I like this version better than the studio version.
Phil Ochs' version shows how this should be done. It shortened the poem, cutting more verses, but using only an acoustic guitar and his voice, he makes it a truly stirring story of love and death. Seek it out. It's on the album "I Aint Marching Anymore."
more.
i was having a hard time following the whole song, so i looked up the words. here's a link if any one else want to know: lyrics
Originally Posted by Platypus: this one is just a little too much. kind of reminds me of Monty Python players "galloping" through the forest (coconuts in hand) while singing cheesey tales of their conquests.
:lol: :lol: i was just going to write how much i disliked this song, and her in general...but i think this comment made me totally change my tune! what a great discussion. can't you just see Eric Idle in the Holy Grail gallopping along while his nave sings "Sir Robin-The-Not-So-Brave" :lol: :lol:
The reason for the repetition is that this is word for word from the original poem. The words have great meaning though I think they could have done more musically to kind of break it up and make it not seem so long and repeticious. All and all a pretty good song though.. I like this version better than the studio version.
I love Loreena, but, they made me sing this song in elementary school and I have developed a lifetime long dislike for it. Loreena does give it a bit more dynamic tension than we did.
AHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Make it stop!!!
Originally Posted by Platypus: this one is just a little too much. kind of reminds me of Monty Python players "galloping" through the forest (coconuts in hand) while singing cheesey tales of their conquests.
Platypus, you nut. But I kind of agree. I really like Loreena, but this song is a little "over the top" even for my tastes. Perhaps if I had smoked some really good pot.... :p
this one is just a little too much. kind of reminds me of Monty Python players \"galloping\" through the forest (coconuts in hand) while singing cheesey tales of their conquests.
I am going to jump out the window.
Love Loreena, but not for much longer... Bill, please make her stop.
blah, blah, blah, yadda, yadda, yadda, yawn :D
Good song. Tells a story, great strings. :)