Episode Air Date: May 1, 2016
Artist: Woody Guthrie
Recording Title: Gypsy Davy
We’ve all had bad days. But imagine coming home to find your spouse has left you to become a gypsy, and marry one too.
The story behind “Gypsy Davy” is the classic boy meets girl meets travelling, wife-stealing gypsy. Woody Guthrie recorded this version in nineteen forty-one.
But the story itself is much older. It’s based on the traditional Scottish folk ballad “The Gypsy Laddie”, written in the early 1700s.
In Guthrie’s version, the lord rides after his lady, hoping to convince her to return home to their baby.
Alas, the song of the gypsy is too strong. The lady refuses, and Guthrie’s version ends there. Woody was a peaceful sort of guy. In an earlier version of the Gypsy Laddie, the gypsy and his six brothers meet a more grisly fate. They were hanged by the Lord and his posse, at which point the Lady decides shuffling on home would indeed be best.