"Mattie's Rag" as written by and Gerry Rafferty....
Oh Mattie open up the door, that's right I'm home again
You've got a big surprise in store, turn â??round and count to ten
Wait â??til you see what I got you, well you'll say it's a magic thing
It's like an old mandolin man, you just wind him up and he'll start to sing.

I've been away for quite a while, and I want to hear all your news
Speak to me, let me see you smile, cause I've had those homesick blues
When I go down to that city I just don't know wrong from right
When I go back to you Mattie, well you make me see the light.

Love is a singular thing, it can take you up or bring you down
Yes love is a song that I sing, so come on now Mattie listen to the sound
When you grow up we'll sit and talk of how things used to be
I'll be a grand old man of rock with all these memories.


Lyrics submitted by nagromnai

"Mattie's Rag" as written by

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Mattie's Rag song meanings
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3 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentShocked that there are no comments.

    An absolutely gorgeous song, presumably about being the father of a young girl. The vocal harmonies on the line "You make me see the light" send chills up my spine, given the lyrical context.

    I don't know the personal circumstances, but when I hear songs like this, I think about how that child can always come back to it, even decades after the parent is gone, and experience deep parental love. What a wonderful gift for a parent to give a child.
    aaronjsolomonon October 26, 2011   Link
  • +2
    Song MeaningAt the time Rafferty wrote the song, he was travelling regularly between London and Glasgow. As such, he didn't get to spend as much time with his family as he would have liked, especially his daughter Martha. In fact, the name of the song is a shortening of Martha (Mattie) and a style of traditional folk song (a rag). Martha was 9 when the song was written.

    The lyrics describe Rafferty's joy at seeing his beloved daughter again after a long period of absence. The "magic thing" that he describes is the song itself. "Just wind him up and he'll start to sing" means that she will be able to listen to the song any time she likes. The city described in the song is London. Rafferty was unsure of himself there, but when he got back home to Glasgow and his family, he felt safe and relaxed, hence the lyric "you make me see the light".

    The last verse of the song talks about how his love for his daughter is in the song, "so come on Mattie listen to this sound" means that he is expressing his love for her. "When you grow up we'll sit and talk of how things used to be" is him planning on lamenting those bygone days when Martha has grown up and Rafferty is "a grand old man of rock with all these memories". Unfortunately, as history has shown, he never got to fulfill the last part of the song.
    busman10on September 11, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General CommentAlways heard "it's Michael, the Mandolin Man..." Maybe one of my best mondagreens. Cheers, all!
    kurtamuson March 09, 2014   Link

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