“The Son of a Gambolier (I)”


"I'm a rambling rake of poverty, From Tippery town I came. 'Twas poverty compelled me first, To go out in the rain." The singer tells how hard life, (drink), and rambling has turned him old and unattractive. He can't help it; he's "the son of a gambolier"


The Brown text is clearly a prototype of the various "Son of a Gambolier" versions; in it, the lad is forced by poverty to join the army, and does not mention the gambolier. But so much of the rest is the same that it seems absurd to split the songs. - RBW

Cross references


  1. BrownIII 369, "The Rambling Soldier" (1 text)
  2. Sandburg, p. 44, "The Son of a Gambolier" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 78-80, "The Son of a Gambolier" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. Gilbert, pp. 159-160, "The Song of a Gambolier" (1 text)
  5. Fuld-WFM, pp. 515-516, "Son of a Gun -- (Son of a Gambolier; Dunderbeck; and Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech)"
  7. Roud #2964
  8. BI, San044


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1870 (sheet music)
Keywords: rambling drink poverty
Found in: US(SE)