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The Gypsy Laddies

This is Jeannie Robertson’s wonderful version of a ballad that is sung in many countries, with different words and tunes.

The gypsies cast a spell over the lady of the castle and she goes off with them, but they are caught and hanged.

Although this ballad is known far and wide, some singers think it is about a particular Scottish woman who lived in the 1600s, Lady Jean Hamilton of Culzean Castle in Ayrshire. Her husband was the Earl of Cassillis.

In England the ballad is sometimes called ‘The Raggle Taggle Gypsies’, and in the USA some singers make it happen on a ranch and call the villain who tempts the woman away ‘Blackjack Davie’.

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'The Gypsy Laddies', sung by Jeannie Robertson From The Muckle Sangs (Scottish Tradition Series vol 5) (CD) CDTRAX9005 (January 1992) Greentrax Recordings Download the lyrics at the bottom of this page.