Sunday, August 16, 2015

Pretty Peggy-O

Captain falls for girl.
Lieutenant suddenly leaves.
Captain dies for girl.

This peppy song comes from Bob Dylan's debut album, released in 1962. He notes as he begins his song that a key geographical locator within it, the town of Fennerio, is a place he's never heard of. Then he tells the story of a bunch of soldiers marching to Fennerio, and while they're marching, the captain falls in love with a "lady like a dove" who of course is our title character, Pretty Peggy-O. The singer asks Peggy what her mother would think if she ran away with a soldier. Whatever, ma. She comes running down the stairs with her blonde hair all combed back. Meanwhile, a lieutenant who hasn't made an appearance before is reportedly gone from town, and has gone to Texas and joined the rodeo. And of the captain? He died for a woman's love, and is buried in Louisiana. He doesn't say whether the woman is Peggy. The song is based on an old Scottish folk song called "The Bonnie Lass o' Fyvie," and the song's lyrics call Fennerio "Fyvie-o." The old song also notes that there are many beautiful women in the Howe of Auchterless, Garioch and Aberdeen, but the prettiest one is Peggy in Fyvie. In this version, the captain promises her many fine things, but she won't go away with him because she says she was never meant to be a soldier's wife. He goes away and is killed in battle. 

1 comment:

  1. Hello Robert, thanks for posting your analysis of this song. Join us inside Bob Dylan's Music Box and listen to every version of every song.