What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

Can somebody enlighten me as to where the song "Ride On" is all about? I’ve heard say it’s about the Partition, others mention the Troubles, and there’s also a theory it’s about one IRA-guy in particular.
Thank you.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

I don’t know but someone who has given up his/her like for something they beleive in deserves to refered to something better than an IRA guy……………

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Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

I guess the song means whatever you want it to, I don’t believe it was written about anything in particular. By IRA guy, I take it that you meant brave freedom fighter.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

Well I may be obtuse but I thought it was a love song, saddened by their loves departure? Well according to the lyrics that is……

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

Look at it this way, a horse with eyes wild and green bother the hell out if me. As far as I know it is suppose to be a love song.

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Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

It’s about a lovely horse, a very lovely horse indeed.

It’s not so much about being in love with the horse, more about being the horses friend and having a bit of a laugh with the horse.

Take this lump of sugar baby…

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

My impression has always been that it’s a tale of two lovers that cannot be together due to different stations in life yet share a clandestine relationship.

Peace,
Ed

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

A singer in a group I was with always announced it as ‘The Lawnmower Song’?

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

"By IRA guy, I take it that you meant brave freedom fighter."

That’s a bit of a leap.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

Thanks for all the feedback.

- I used the term "IRA-guy" in a general way, for, being Dutch, I know too little about Irish politics and stuff. I meant no disrespect (nor respect, either, for that matter).

- The singer of my band Ballyhooley (check youtube for some of our videos - search for ballyhooley irish music) came up with the song and said it had to do with the IRA or something, but I couldn’t find anything in the lyrics to support this. And as I always like to know what the songs that we do are all about, I thought I might approach thesession.

Thanks again. Take care.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

The missing final verse for this is:

When you wake up in bed with a big horse’s head
That’s amore…amore!

("The Godfather" had come out a few years before Jimmy MacCarthy wrote this and J.M. was clearly under Mario Puzo’s spell.)

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

If it is about love, it is about the hurting kind. Goes great with a blues harmonica in the background, though.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

Have you heard me then, Al?

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

I think it’s all about love, maybe sex and drugs and rock’n’roll, too

I love the version by Mary Coughlan with Davey Spillane on pipes and the version of some friends, kind of punk, ultra fast !

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

bb, So you give it the blues treatment also, eh?

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

As far as I know, when AC/DC recorded it, it was about the loneliness of being a late night motorcyclist.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

someone’s taking off because they’re way to clever for you.

when i sing this song i always imagine that it’s the sadness when a loved one leaves to pursue a career, or further their education, leaving the simple folk somewhat sorrowful.

that’s always been my take on it, anyway!

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

Considering the plentiful supply of funny fags in Ireland after 1970 and the abundant supply of ADD candidates (scratches head and yawns), methinks it is a half baked reading off of a headstone over the grave of one of Ireland’s many talented writers ( does the sugar loaf mountain have anything to do with it?) ;and, combined with a semiconscious accommodation of the fact that Ireland was once again at war with the English ( lets the weak minded fools of the world go search for a reason to disagree), which boots the robotized Padrig into action, or something, well anything not requiring too much effort. The effect to show his/her chutzpah and make a few bucks just like iPaddy Moloney and his ‘Commisariat of Oirish Musak Compliance Sessions Be Jazus’… well I think you probably get the general idea.

Not quite as thick as CCE but nearly half as clever.

But OC I could be completely mistaken

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

That is an unwarrented slur on Ireland’s finest musical ambassadors, "The Chieftains". What is it about people making money from the music? I wouldn’t mind if they were making £600 million a year each, and we were trying to get back £590 million in tax to create a better society, (see I am not a communist, just a socialist) and they were tax exiles, but that is not the case.

Some of the best music I heard was at Chieftain’s concerts in the late 1960s and early 1970s. I admit that was before the standard slipped, and they let in the likes of Molloy, but you can’t have everything.

And poor Maloney. Such a lot of abuse for one major sin,. he is a good piper.

So, either it is jealousy of the money or playing ability, or maybe it is an Irish thing that they only like thieves when it comes to earning money. That would explain the Government anyway.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

I read somewhere that it IS about joining the IRA, but from the other point of view.

As I understand it the guy has decided he must split up with his girlfriend because SHE has joined the IRA, and his conscience prevents him from condoning the violence, even though he believes in the cause.

It’s an explanation that seems tio fit the lyric, as well as the sadness in the tune.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

Well there you go, Take any piece of music repeat it enough and sure someone will call it cheesy! But actually its not the song, its your attitude. Its still the same song it ever was. Classic. Any tune or song can be cheesy. Its how you look at it.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

Cast a cold eye
on life, on death.
Horseman, pass by!

Ride on as if you did not hear her wail, if you can!

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

I sang this song a thousand times with and without my band, and I always felt, without much deep thinking, that it was a love song. Then one night I was singing it solo, and a thought struck me — out of where, I don’t know — that basically said "This is about death."

Ever since then I’ve treated it differently.

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Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

I’ve thought it was about death as well… hmmm

I love the Mary Coughlan version with Spillane, infact I’m learning it with a few mates… I can get my head round most of the pipe part, but how the feck does spillane reach the 3rd octave d#??? I never knew the pipe chanter can get that high? except a rumour that seamus ennis could reach 3rd octave E which turns out to be a load of crap.

anyone got any suggestions? :P

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

Hello All

I emailed Jimmy McCarthy who actually wrote the song and he (or the person who answers his emails) said to me that it was a song mainly written about a widowers grief, using a horse motif as symbolic of the ancient Celtic belief that our spirits become as horses riding in the Sidhe into the Celtic Otherworld (After life). That being said there are many layers and interpretations, and it can have different meanings to different people.

Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

I sang that song for years and one night, in the middle of a verse, the thought jumped up: it’s about death.
So I concur with Jimmy.

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Re: What’s the subject of the song "Ride On" ?

"If I had know, Tam Lin," she says
"that you were up to no good
I’d have taken out your green eyes
and put in eyes of wood."
"If I had known, Tam Lin," she says
"you would have always been alone!
For I’d have taken out your mortal heart
And put in a heart of stone."


I think It is about a faerie going back to the otherside- the world of the faeries where he knows he dare not follow. A tale that resonates with us deeply because we all have had someone we love that we can not follow no matter the reason, for example not being able to follow them into death, heroin addiction, joining the I.R.A., or even someone you love that is married that you can not be with, or maybe just someone who cheats all the time or who abuses you so your life’s in danger. So the fable of the faerie speaks to all these types of situations and that it why it is so powerful. You still love them and want them, but you just can’t carry on with them and it is an aching sadness. 
It is about the loss of a loved one but not for lack of love for them but because it would destroy you to follow.The ballad of Tam Lin for an ancient song in this vein. Faeries often rode white magnificent otherworldly horses in folklore.
If anyone has any insight on it I would love to hear about it.