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Ramblin' Robin

[ Roud V5416 ; words trad., music Peter Bellamy]

Christy Moore sang Rambling Robin in 1972 on his Trailer album Prosperous. He commented in album's liner notes:

I learned this song from Mike Harding of Manchester just before I made this record. Most large families have at least one Rambling Robin, and like the prodigal son he always returns, but in this case the fatted calf was not to be had. Andy [Irvine]'s mandolin playing on this track is really beautiful.

Peter Bellamy recorded this broadsheet song for both of his 1975 albums, Peter Bellamy and Tell It Like It Was. He commented in the former album's notes:

This is from a broadsheet, the version printed by Harkness. It comes from the Preston Library. It came to me without a tune, so I have provided one.

and in the latter album's notes:

When Brian Dewhurst, the fine Lancashire singer, sent me copies of a number of Preston broadsheets, I could not resist making a tune for this Spencer-the-Rover-ish verses.

John Spiers & Jon Boden learned Rambling Robin from Peter Bellamy's singing and recorded it for their 2008 CD Vagabond. Jon Boden also sang it on Peter Bellamy's birthday as the September 8, 2010 entry of his project A Folk Song a Day.

Chris Sarjeant sang Rambling Robin in 2012 on his WildGoose CD Heirlooms. He noted in his sleeve notes:

I learnt this Yorkshire song from my mother who sang it on my parents' final album, The Streams of Lovely Nancy.

Lyrics

Peter Bellamy sings Ramblin' RobinSpiers & Boden sing Ramblin' Robin

When first I left childhood and come to a man,
The nation to ramble through soon I began.
A wandering thought would it come to my mind,
They christened me Ramblin' Robin.

When first out of childhood I came to a man,
To wander the nation through soon I began.
For a wandering notion came into my mind,
And they christened me Rambling Robin.

O'er hill and o'er mountain I used for to go,
I slept in the wood and the frost and the snow.
And no anxiety came to my mind;
Contented was Rambling Robin.

And I wandered o'er mountains and valleys below,
I slept in the woods in the frost and the snow.
And no anxiety came to my mind.
Contented was Ramblin' Robin.

But the wind and the rain they gave me quite cold,
My parents behind me were both very old.
My father did weep and my mother did cry
For the loss of their Ramblin' Robin.

Content was I through wet and through cold
But my parents behind me were both very old.
My father did weep and my mother did cry
With grief for their Rambling Robin.

When sixteen long years they was over and past,
My poor mother's sorrow was ended at last.
My father the nation did range to and fro
In search of his Ramblin' Robin.

And when my past folly was come to an end,
To my own village I soon did attend.
The neighbours told me my parents were dead
With loss of their Ramblin' Robin.

When fifteen long years they were over and past,
To my own native village I came back a last.
They told me my mother and father were dead
With grief for their Rambling Robin.

Where now shall I wander, oh where shall I go?
I am so oppressed with sorrow and woe.
I'll sit down and cry till the day that I die,
There's an end to old Ramblin' Robin.

Oh, where shall I wander now, where shall I go?
I am so oppressed with sorrow and woe.
I'll sit down and cry till the day that I die,
Here's an end to old Rambling Robin.