> A.L. Lloyd > Songs > Old Bob Ridley

Old Bob Ridley / Young Bob Ridley

[ Roud 753 ; Ballad Index R499 ; Bodleian Roud 753 ; Wiltshire 184 ; trad.]

A.L. Lloyd sang Old Bob Ridley accompanied by Steve Benbow on guitar and John Cole on harmonica on his and Ewan MacColl's 1958 Topic LP Bold Sportsmen All. This track was also included on their Riverside LP Champions and Sporting Blades, and in 1998 on their Topic CD Bold Sportsmen All: Gamblers and Sporting Blades. He commented in the original album's sleeve notes:

The folk song collector Alfred Williams heard several versions of this song along the Thames valley, before World War I. Williams believed it to be American, perhaps minstrel show, origin. Be that as it may, English singers have tacked on their own verses, and spliced them to the tune of Turpin Hero, and packed this fine string of sporting lies securely into their own musical baggage.

Mary Ann Carolan sang Young Bob Ridley in 1978 at home in Hill o' Rath near Drogheda, Co. Louth in a recording by Roly Brown. This may well have been one of the versions Alfred Williams collected which later murphed into the sports song Lloyd sang. It was included in 1982 on her Topic album Songs from the Irish Tradition and in 1998 on the Topic anthology First I'm Going to Sing You a Ditty (The Voice of the People Volume 7).


Mary Ann Carolan sings Young Bob Ridley

Now, first I'm going to sing you a ditty.
I'm seldom at home and it is no pity.
I'm seldom at home and that's no shame,
For young Bob Ridley is my name.

Chorus (after each verse):
I'm a young Bob Ridley-o,
I'm a young Bob Ridley-o.
I'm a young Bob Ridley, ee-eye-o,
I'm Robert Ridley-o.

I've come down here across the mountains,
The miles I've came I cannot count them.
I left the darkies in the old plantation,
I came down here for my education.

The girl I love the plays in the gallery,
The music she plays so sweet and so merrily.
The music she plays so sweet and so merrily,
You'd think it was a-played by young Bob Ridley.

Now I know a girl and she's at me winking,
She would marry me, too, I'm thinking.
For there is a maid in the Swansea river,
To forsake her I will never.

A.L. Lloyd sings Old Bob Ridley

Here's old Bob Ridley come again,
Some of his wonders to explain.
Of all the sites that he has seen
And what he's done and where he's been.

Chorus (after each verse):
I'm old Bob Ridley-o,
Old Bob Ridley-o.

I've come to chalk the challenge out
I don't care to who or what about.
There are of sportmen very few
Can do the things that I can do.

Talk of swimming, if you wish,
I can lick the fastest fish.
But what's the use for me to talk,
I swum in the water from Liverpool to New York.

As for the running of a race,
There's none can touch me in this place.
I've run a race with a lightning dart,
I fairly broke that lightning's heart.

At shooting I am just a blade,
A master of the marksman's trade.
Throughout the land I can't be matched,
I can shoot the pheasant before it's hatched.

I once went on a burglar's trail,
I loaded my gun with along spiked nail.
I missed that thief, so swift was he,
But I nailed his shadow to a tree.

At boxing there's no man I fear,
I beat Jack Johnson twice a year.
I'd won the championship in heaven above
But Sampson put a jawbone in his glove.