Buttkickin’ Halloween Songs: “Robber’s Ball” — Paul McCartney (1978)

Well, welcome to the Robbers’ Ball
Both gentlemen and ladies all
Are welcome to the revelry tonight…

Hey lookee here, Hokeyblog is hyping some Paul McCartney. I am sure you’re quite shocked. And stunned. And that will be the last Rutles reference of the evening…

But bear with me here, because Robber’s Ball is strongly qualified to join our list of essential Halloween songs. The song is all goofy, Broadway, spooky fun, a show-tune without a show, a bit of fun and pageantry and theatricality from Macca. The bouncy rhythms, singalong verses, and bawdy melodies are all deeply evocative of early Renaissance filtered through modern pop sensibilities. And it’s all great fun.

Robber’s Ball weaves a fascinating scene, in which the noble men of Northern Italy gather together in the middle of the night to steal and plunder and then revel in their gold and wine and invincibility. Of course not to be outdone, a similar band of men from Nova Scotia (!) join in on the boastful bravado and festivities as well. And then they all hoot and holler and beat their chests and continue with such nonsense.

The song itself was never commercially released by Paul McCartney. It was recorded in 1978 as part of the Back To The Egg sessions, but left off the album entirely. It has only ever surfaced as part of the Cold Cuts bootlegs that started seeing the light of day in 1987. The Internet being the Internet, Robber’s Ball is almost too easy to find (although you won’t find it on any streaming services or digital music sales platforms… yet). Either way, don your noble attire, mask your faces, meet in the Thieves Quarter when the moon is high, and toast the dishonor among thieves with like-minded souls!

We noblemen of Halifax
We’ll have you know for two brass tacks
That we’re much better than the likes of you
And naught can beat us northern lads
The spitting image of our dads
Especially when we’ve had a pint or two…

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