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Chords Req: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng

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BobSaunders@bigfoot.com 26 Sep 99 - 10:00 AM
Jonathan 31 Oct 99 - 06:59 AM
Susanne (skw) 31 Oct 99 - 06:01 PM
Susanne (skw) 31 Oct 99 - 06:21 PM
GUEST,fasteddybrown@supanet.com 12 Dec 00 - 06:16 PM
Susanne (skw) 12 Dec 00 - 07:41 PM
Joe Offer 12 Dec 00 - 09:05 PM
RoyH (Burl) 13 Dec 00 - 09:04 PM
Susanne (skw) 14 Dec 00 - 06:03 PM
Joe Offer 15 Dec 00 - 04:01 AM
GeorgeH 15 Dec 00 - 09:08 AM
Susanne (skw) 15 Dec 00 - 07:42 PM
little john cameron 16 Dec 00 - 01:27 PM
little john cameron 16 Dec 00 - 01:37 PM
Susanne (skw) 16 Dec 00 - 08:17 PM
Megan L 17 Dec 00 - 03:34 PM
Susanne (skw) 17 Dec 00 - 05:23 PM
little john cameron 17 Dec 00 - 06:13 PM
little john cameron 17 Dec 00 - 06:17 PM
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RoyH (Burl) 19 Dec 00 - 10:22 AM
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GUEST,Jim Mclean 26 Jul 02 - 06:55 AM
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GUEST,Gary Meehan - gary@meehan2.fsnet.co.uk 16 Jan 04 - 06:07 PM
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Subject: 'Let Dravinski go' Ballad of WWI English
From: BobSaunders@bigfoot.com
Date: 26 Sep 99 - 10:00 AM

I was in Spain in 1974 in a little town call Lloret de Mar. I frequented a folk tavern called (not kidding) the Kentucky Tavern, and listened every nite to a Scottish group whose name I cannot remember. They did a lot of traditional Irish/English/Scottish tunes, lot of Tom Paxton. A tune that I really liked had a lead-in. It was about an English safecracker that was in prison at the start of WWII. He was let out to go behind German lines and break into a safehouse of the German high command. After the war he was sent back to prison.

The chorus goes something like:

Alee-A Alee-I Alee-A Alee-O Open up your prison gates and let Dravinski go.

Anyone have any clue?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Let Dravinski go' Ballad of WWI Eng
From: Jonathan
Date: 31 Oct 99 - 06:59 AM

I think it was Kominsky; anyway, it is based on the true story of a safecracker who was dragooned into service by the intelligence services, but in the post war period returned to jail. I'll try to find the words.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Let Dravinski go' Ballad of WWI Eng
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 31 Oct 99 - 06:01 PM

His name was Johnny Ramensky, and he was sent back to jail because he couldn't resist breaking a few non-German safes after the war in Scotland ... He was also an expert at breaking out, it seems, and quite popular with the non-safe-owning public. The song was written by Scottish actor Roddy MacMillan. I've got the words, Jonathan, and will try and send them tomorrow. - Susanne


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Subject: Lyr Add: LET RAMENSKY GO (Roddy MacMillan)^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 31 Oct 99 - 06:21 PM

Here you are. As you can see from the first of the notes, there is another song, written by Norman Buchan, which I don't have.

Chorus:
Alley-ee alley-ay alley-oo alley-oh
Open up your prison gates and let Ramensky go

There was a lad in Glesga town, Ramensky was his name
Johnny didnae know it then but he was set for fame

Now Johnny was a gentle lad, there was only one thing wrong
He had an itch to strike a twitch and trouble came along
He did a wee bit job or two, he blew them open wide
But they caught him and they tried him and they bunged him right inside

And when they let him out he said he'd do his best but then
He yielded tae temptation and they bunged him in again
Now Johnny made the headlines, entertained the boys below
When he climbed up tae the prison roof and gave a one-man show

But when the war was raging the brass-hats had a plan
Tae purloin some information, but they couldnae find a man
So they nobbled John in prison, asked if he would take a chance
Then they dropped him in a parachute beyond the coast of France

Then Johnny was a hero, they shook him by the hand
For stealing secret documents frae the German High Command
So Johnny was rewarded for the job he did sae well
They granted him a pardon frae the prison and the cell

But Johnny was in error when he tried his hand once more
For they caught him at a blastin', and it wasnae worth the score

The jury pled for mercy, but the judge's voice was heard
Ten years without remission, and that's my final word
Ten years, my lord, that's far too long, wee Johnny cried in vain
For if you send me up for ten I'll never come out again

Oh give me another chance, my lord, I'm tellin' you no lie
But if you send me up for ten I'll sicken and I'll die

Now Peterhead's a fortress, its walls are thick and stout
But it couldnae hold wee Johnny when he felt like walking out
Five times he took a powder, he left them in a fix
And every day they sweat and pray in case he makes it six

[1959:] Probably no figure is better known in Scotland to-day than Johnny Ramensky. And it is undoubtedly true that almost all people, regardless of the rights or wrongs of his case, felt some sympathy for the man who detested prison so strongly that he broke out of Scotland's strongest jail five times. This is the aspect that affected me, certainly, "There are nae horizons in a twenty-foot cell". (Norman Buchan about The Ballad of Johnny Ramensky, by himself, to the tune of Jamie Foyers, Weekly Scotsman, July 15)

[1963:] Written by Roddy Macmillan about the five escapes from Peterhead jail of Ramensky the safe-breaker, who was 'employed' during World War II as a cracksman-commando to break safes in enemy territory, given a free pardon at the end of the war and subsequently jailed again for safe-breaking. His escapes were spectacular, his freedom short-lived, but many people thought, perhaps sentimentally, that he should have been given another pardon. (Notes 'Edinburgh Folk Festival, vol. 2')

[1996:] [Photo of] 'Gentle' Johnny Ramensky, master safe blower and prison escapee after a release celebration at his Eglinton Street home. In the war he was released from prison to go behind enemy lines, crack safes and steal German war secrets. (Glasgow. The People's Story, ed. by Paul Harris, no 212)

^^


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Let Dravinski go' Ballad of WWI Eng
From: GUEST,fasteddybrown@supanet.com
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 06:16 PM

Brilliant! I've been after this song for years, any idea where I can obtain a recording? I believe Hamish Imlach did a version. It's so long since I heard it I forget the tune,if anyone can help I'd be most grateful.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Let Dravinski go' Ballad of WWI Eng
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 07:41 PM

Guest, where do you live? I'm in Germany. I have recordings by both Hamish and Josh MacRae, and would be prepared to put them on a tape sent to me. eMail me at skw@worldmusic.de if you're interested.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Let Dravinski go' Ballad of WWI Eng
From: Joe Offer
Date: 12 Dec 00 - 09:05 PM

How about a MIDI, Susanne? Got one we can include in the database?
Thanks.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: Lyr Add: BALLAD OF JOHNNY RAMENSKY (N Buchan)^^
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 13 Dec 00 - 09:04 PM

Ref the song 'Let Ramensky Go'...the Ally Ay one. Enoch Kent brought out a single of this in the early 60's done with full backing including chiming bells. Maybe some Canadian 'catter could ask him about it. The other song, 'The Ballad of Johnny Ramensky' sung to the tune of 'Jamie Foyers' has the following lyric, as best I can remember it, learned by me from Dominic Behan, circa '62.

Far distant, far distant, in Peterhead Jail
Lies Johnny Ramensky, his escape bid is failed
Iron bars and red granite keep him from the sun
And Johnny Ramensky, no freedom has won.

He's been in a prison for most of his days
And 'I must hae' my freedom' is all that he says
For there are no horizons in a twenty-foot cell
And bitter is the music of a cold prison bell.

He's slipped from the darkness and into the light
To the green fields around him he's taken a flight
Forgotten his prison, to his window no bars
For Johnny Ramensky walked under the stars.

Like a dog he was hunted, like a dog he was ta'en
Ah but sweet was the smell of the wind and the rain
One breath of fresh air, one glance at the sun
But Johnny Ramensky no freedom has won.

Repeat first verse.^^
Line Breaks
added.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Let Dravinski go' Ballad of WWI Eng
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 14 Dec 00 - 06:03 PM

Great lyrics, burl! I'm sure it must be the ones written by Norman Buchan, who was Enoch's brother-in-law and put him into 'The Exiles'. I have an item by him about this song:
[1959:] Probably no figure is better known in Scotland to-day than Johnny Ramensky. And it is undoubtedly true that almost all people, regardless of the rights or wrongs of his case, felt some sympathy for the man who detested prison so strongly that he broke out of Scotland's strongest jail five times. This is the aspect that affected me, certainly, "There are nae horizons in a twenty-foot cell". (Norman Buchan about The Ballad of Johnny Ramensky, by himself, to the tune of Jamie Foyers, Weekly Scotsman, July 15)
Last summer I also found some newspaper reports on Ramensky's last break-out:
[1958:] Twelve hours after Johnny Ramensky had done his fifth and most baffling "vanishing act" in Peterhead jail yesterday it was not known whether he was INSIDE or OUTSIDE the prison. This was admitted late last night by a Scottish Home Department spokesman. Here is the sequence of events leading up to the cracksman's third escape in ten months.
Because of rain, 45 prisoners, including Ramensky, were being exercised in one of Peterhead's large prison halls. At 1.40, the exercise ended and the squad began a 50 to 70-yard march, in organised lines to the tailor's shop. At 1.43, they arrived at the shop WITHOUT RAMENSKY.
The alarm was raised. Every corner of the prison was searched. But there was no trace of the "King of Peterhead". No rope or ladder with which he could have scaled the jail's 18-foot wall was found. One theory was that Ramensky had a key to the back door of the tailor's shop, which is only ten feet from the wall. For it is believed that he had a key for the tailor's shop door on his October break-out. Out went the word to police all over the country: "Ramensky's free again."
Two hunts went on - in swirling snow and at temperatures below freezing point - for the 53-year-old convict who, despite ill-health, had made another freedom bid. Throughout the whole of the North of Scotland road blocks and police checks sprang up. Tracker dogs went out. A strong cordon was thrown round the immediate prison area. For on his last bid in October, Ramensky was found, after 40 hours of freedom only 200 yards from the prison. It was ill-health that beat him then. He collapsed after a child spotted him in a barn.
[...]. Last night people living in the Peterhead area spoke of him without fear. For he is known as "Gentle John" and those beside the prison take bets on how long he will stay free. His escape in February this year lasted 24 hours, before he was caught in Peterhead's main street wearing a warder's cap and a long black coat.
One question was being asked: Why does he keep on doing it, at his age and in his state of health? A police officer who knows him well said last night: "Johnny never expects to get far when he breaks out now ... he's just got to do it to prove that he still can."
Here is a description of the clothes worn by the wartime Commando who cracked safes behind enemy lines: Brown moleskin trousers, brown battledress tunic, brown jersey, blue and white striped shirt, black leather shoes ... and possibly wearing a cap. (Daily Record, Dec 18)

The six-day hunt for gentle Johnny Ramensky was called-off last night. And baffled police admitted: "There are still no clues." [...] The authorities believe that 53-year-old Ramensky, if still alive, is bound to make a mistake sometime, or to leave a clue somewhere. It is understood that police opinion is split over the reason for the absence of a "trail." Some feel he is dead in the sea, but others are convinced he is in the Peterhead area, possibly quite near the prison, and is being fed and sheltered. (Daily Record, 23 Dec)

[1959:] Johnny Ramensky (53), the safe-breaker who made a sensational jail-break from Peterhead prison, remaining at liberty for nine days, is back in prison. He was caught at Persley, on the north bank of the River Don about three miles from Aberdeen. A police spokesman said after the capture that Ramensky was looking wonderfully well, apart from being footsore, and considering the long period he had been on the run. He was dressed in blue dungarees and a green jersey and his shoes were cracked and torn. It is understood that no police charges are impending against Ramensky on account of his escape. There have been no reports of break-ins or thefts. His fifth escape has evoked wide-spread sympathy amongst the public. During the war Ramensky was an instructor to Allied agents in blowing safes. (Weekly Scotsman, Jan 2)

Sorry, Joe, I still don't do Midis. But 'Let Ramensky Go' is on the tapes I sent Kat earlier this year, hpoing she'd find someone who could turn the tunes into audible files.


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Subject: Let Ramensky Go
From: Joe Offer
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 04:01 AM

I copied this over from the FAQ thread, and sent Eddy a message suggesting he contact Susanne.
-Joe Offer-
Subject: RE: Mudcat FAQ - Newcomer's Guide
From: Eddy
Date: 14-Dec-00 - 06:28 PM

Hello,Eddy Brown,Island of Islay, fasteddybrown@supanet.com. Does anyone know of a recording of 'Let Ramensky go'? I'm sure Hamish Imlach recorded it but I am unable to trace,if anyone can tapeit anywhere! I'll send them a tape and a prepaid cover. Anybody looking for Scottish tunes etc., I play with people in their 60s & 70s and they know some really obscure stuff - including local songs written by locals. Hoping to hear from somebody!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: 'Let Dravinski go' Ballad of WWI Eng
From: GeorgeH
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 09:08 AM

Am I dreaming again, or was a film made of this saga?

G.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 15 Dec 00 - 07:42 PM

Thanks, Joe!
No idea, George. It wasn't mentioned back in 1958 ... Hamish would have known!


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: little john cameron
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 01:27 PM

Here's a pic o "Gentle Johnny" Btw,he wis fae Rutherglen.The same place as Heather Fielding??
http://www.argyllinternet.co.uk/scotmem/9906/9906summ.htm


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: little john cameron
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 01:37 PM

That is a very interestin site.Very serendipitious that ah came across it the noo.Lots o auld stuff fae hame. ljc


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 16 Dec 00 - 08:17 PM

Little John, thanks for the interesting link! I'll certainly go back to explore further.
However, I don't think the picture with the first article on the 'June 1999 issue' page shows Ramensky. I've seen pictures of him, and he looks smaller and less brash (??? sometimes I use words I'm not too sure of.) Also, I tried to download the picture, and the title given was 'Meehan', so I suppose it shows Paddy Meehan, the other guy mentioned in the article.
Still, definitely something to go back to!


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Megan L
Date: 17 Dec 00 - 03:34 PM

I mind on bein telt that Johnny fell aff a roof an died. Like many of the stories of Johnny they took on a Robin Hood quality.

Please don't mention Johnny and Meehan in the same breath, they came out of two very different stables. Johnny was a crook but his name Gentle Johnny was well earned, unlike Meehan who ran around with Tank Maguiness, gypsy and the like.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 17 Dec 00 - 05:23 PM

Sorry, Megan! It wasn't me, though. If you follow the link you will find the website (for a Scottish expatriate mag) mentions them in the same article. And I still think the picture does NOT fit the name Gentle Johnny at all and so must be showing the other one ...
Megan, if you know more stories about Johnny R. I'd love to hear them.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: little john cameron
Date: 17 Dec 00 - 06:13 PM

[1996:] [Photo of] 'Gentle' Johnny Ramensky, master safe blower and prison escapee after a release celebration at his Eglinton Street home. In the war he was released from prison to go behind enemy lines, crack safes and steal German war secrets. (Glasgow. The People's Story, ed. by Paul Harris, no 212)


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: little john cameron
Date: 17 Dec 00 - 06:17 PM

Heritage Recovery Home Page

A NOTE ON JOHNNY RAMENSKY AND THE SHOOTING OF

GEORGE COFFY KYNOCH.

Following the publication in 1994 of Over the Wall: True stories of the Master Jailbreakers, the author, J.P. Bean received a letter from a reader, one Donald Sinclair, a man then in his 70's, who felt moved to castigate Mr Bean for his description of Peterhead contained in an account of the escapes of Johnny Ramensky from the prison. The author had never been to Peterhead and relied upon the descriptions he encountered in reports of Peterhead. The one which struck a wrong chord for Mr Sinclair was 'The Dartmoor of the North'. Mr Sinclair's letter provided some of the little bits of colour that give human dimension to the cold formal details more easily collated.

Mr Sinclair's role as quartermaster for the local Home Guard during the 1939-45 war has brought us an interesting tit-bit concerning the Governor of this prison and Johnny Ramensky, the legendary safe blower — legendary because it is now difficult to sort truth from fiction, so many having colourful stories concerning his nature and life. Governor James Ivory Buchan, being Commander of the Local Home Guard, required Mr Sinclair to come into the prison daily to receive military orders. On one of those occasions the Governor proudly displayed a cigarette box Johnny sent him from 'Active Service'.

Johnny Ramensky was a man with a national and even an international profile. Referring to others with Johnny's record it would be correct to say he was infamous, but Johnny has been accorded by many of those who served on the opposite side of the law, the 'famous'. Johnny was a hero. When Johnny died in 1972, having collapsed in Perth Prison while serving yet another sentence, he was accorded an obituary in every national newspaper.

During the 1939-45 war Johnny was picked up at the prison gate on his release and taken off to train with the commandos for deployment behind enemy lines, applying his criminal skills to the national interest, acquiring codes books, maps, orders, anything that might be of use to the war effort. He broke into Rommel's safe in North Africa and then advanced up Italy with the army, breaking into safes in newly captured areas. The Governor's cigarette box was undoubtedly 'spoils of war'.

Donald Sinclair's letter also gave details of an aspect of the tragedy that was the death of George Coffy Kynoch, an escaping convict shot dead by Guard Edward Whyte in 1932. One might have assumed that Guard Whyte would have been held in some regard for having done his duty, but among some at least, that was not the case. Donald Sinclair used to cycle to the local school with Guard Whyte's son, William, and recounts how William was given a bad time, mocked and abused for being the son of a man who "killed a con". Most of the prison staff's children went to that small school so it would seem that despite the enquiry finding that the Guard had simply performed his duty, some adults must have been commenting negatively for the children to pick up that lead. Children ............... little demons of the playground jungle, monsters mobbing the vulnerable, identifying victims and tearing into them tenaciously


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 18 Dec 00 - 07:09 PM

Sorry, Little John, but the posting you quote above does not refer to the article you linked to but to a picture from the Daily Record that was printed in 'The People's Story' (which is basically a picture book of the most popular stories in the 'Record' over the years. I stopped short of buying the book, however, so don't have the picture.
But many thanks for that interesting article!


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: RoyH (Burl)
Date: 19 Dec 00 - 10:22 AM

hey, I've really enjoyed this thread. Interesting stuff.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: little john cameron
Date: 19 Dec 00 - 04:56 PM

Aye,Susanne,Ah still say the photie is johnny. ljc


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: GUEST,ewanmac@aol.com
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 06:23 AM

Dear all, I can confirm that the photograph in Scottish Memories is that of Paddy Meehan who co wrote a book on Glasgow crims with George Forbes. I'll try and post a photo of Ramensky into the list if it doesn't come through those interested can contact me off group and I'll e-mail it to them.

cheers

Mark Galloway

Nope as I thought it won't past. contact me individually.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 14 Feb 01 - 08:07 PM

Thanks, Mark. Couldn't you just post a link to the photo? BTW, weren't you going to send me a blank tape? Cheers!


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: alanabit
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 04:19 PM

George H. The film you are thinking of was called "Triple Cross", made in the sixties starring Christopher Plummer (of "The Sound of Music" notoriety). However, I believe we are talking about a different character. I think that we are after an English gentleman safeblower/tea leaf from London. He may have been called Eddie Chapman - but my memory can be unreliable. I recall reading an obituary of him in the Guardian a few years back. His story was slightly different. His career of successful safe blowing had been interrupted by his unsuccessful avoidance of the interested authorities and he was already doing bird in the Channel Islands when the Germans invaded. He offered his services to the Germans as a spy. When they sent him back to Britain, he promptly turned himself into the authorities and offered to return to spy on the Germans in return for a free pardon. For the rest of the war, he double crossed the Germans by spying on them. However, the joke was on him. When he was given his pardon after the war, he recognised instantly that it was not worth the paper it was written on. During the Blitz, unknown to him, the Criminal Records Office had been destroyed - so the authorities had no legitimate reason to keep him inside! The film was called "Triple Cross" for that reason. I believe that he managed to stay out of prison for the rest of his life.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: alanabit
Date: 16 Jul 02 - 05:02 PM

Just to say that I did a quick Google search - and for once my memory was right. Eddie Chapman, who died on December 20, 1997 lived exactly as I described. If you want to know more about him, do a Google search with "Eddie Chapman safe-blower." He was indeed a different bloke completely to Ramensky. Our secret sevices had some interesting employees in those days I guess. Maybe not so much has changed after all!


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: GUEST,Jim Mclean
Date: 26 Jul 02 - 06:55 AM

I met Johnny Ramensky in Barlinnie Jail in 1957. I was doing 6 months as a Conscientious Objector. Johnny had come down from Peterhead for visits, I think, and I talked with him. He was indeed a gentle person. After the war the authorities could easily have employed him in designing safes, for example, but he was eventually jailed for stealin about half a crown from Woolworths. Both Roddy McMillan and Norman Buchan wrote good songs about him.


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Subject: Lyr Add: Ballad of Johnny Ramensky (add. material)
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 29 Dec 03 - 04:39 AM

The Norman Buchan text posted by burl above (13 Dec 00, 9.04pm) is not quite complete. Here's the full text:

THE BALLAD OF JOHNNY RAMENSKY
Words by Norman Buchan; Tune Trad, arr. Buchan ("Jamie Foyers")
Text from 101 Scottish Songs (selected by Norman Buchan, published by Collins 1962, my copy a 1972 reprint)

Far distant, far distant, in Peterheid Jail,
Lies Johnny Ramensky, his escape bid did fail,
Iron bars and red granite keep him frae the sun,
An' Johnny Ramensky nae freedom has won.

He has been in a prison for the maist o' his days,
An "I must hae ma freedom" is a' that he says.
There are nae horizons in a twenty foot cell
And bitter the music of a hard prison bell.

He has slipped frae the darkness an' intae the light
Tae the green fields around him he has taken his flight
For one breath o' fresh air, just one glimpse o' the sun,
- But Johnny Ramensky nae freedom has won.

Oh the cauld frosty clay whaur he lays his head
Is sweeter tae him than a hard prison bed.
Oh foxes hae holes an' the birds hae their nests,
But whaur is poor Johnny Ramensky tae rest?

Like a dog he is huntit, like a dog he is ta'en,
But sweet was the smell o' the grass an' the rain,
Forgotten his prison, on his windows nae bars,
For Johnny Ramensky walked under the stars.

Far distant, far distant, in Peterheid Jail,
Lies Johnny Ramensky, his escape bid did fail,
Iron bars and red granite keep him frae the sun,
An' Johnny Ramensky nae freedom has won.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 29 Dec 03 - 07:19 PM

Jim, you are a history book on legs! Thanks for that memory!


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 29 Dec 03 - 07:44 PM

Meanwhile, I've found more info on our hero in a book of memoirs by the solicitor (?) Joe Beltrami, who was responsible for his defence on several occasions. Below is but a short extract from the foreword. Beltrami tells Johnny's story in much greater detail (and very affectionately) later on - too long to post, I think, but it should in due course appear in My Songbook.

[1988:] Johnny Ramensky [...] had a lifelong compulsion to break into whatever he was outside [of] and out of whatever he was inside [of]. Johnny was a true amateur, almost a caricature, a sort of Laurel-and-Hardy criminal. Not only did he blow an empty safe on that occasion [in Rutherglen] - and use such an excess of TNT that two somnambulant constables strolling half a mile from the bank were knocked on their backs by the explosion - but he overlooked a locked drawer which contained more than £80,000! He just couldn't ever get it right. He was a real Charlie Chaplin character, with the same endearing charm. [After his final acquittal, he] returned to prison, where he died - and where, for most of his life, he had also lived. (Sir Nicholas Fairbairn, foreword to Joseph Beltrami, The Defender. Beltrami's tales of the suspected 4 f.)


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Charley Noble
Date: 29 Dec 03 - 09:47 PM

Thanks for refreshing this thread.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Joan from Wigan
Date: 30 Dec 03 - 01:45 AM

You're welcome, but it was not so much a refresh as a correction to the Buchan text (the other recent thread, with its link to this thread, sent me to my book to compare texts). But - both the MacMillan and Buchan texts are marked as being in the DT, but having just checked now, I can find neither of them there.

Joan


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 30 Dec 03 - 06:36 PM

Joan is right. I suppose both were harvested after that latest version of the DT was made available, and they'll be in the next one.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: GUEST,Gary Meehan - gary@meehan2.fsnet.co.uk
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 06:07 PM

the name you are refering to is Johnny Raminsky, who was a safecracker (or a peterman - i think its a reference to saltpeter in gunpowder)from the Gorbals in Glasgow. He was drafted into the special sevices during the 2nd world war and parachuted behind german lines to blow safes and steal documents.

On his release from the army, with high commendations, instead of jumping on the train from York to Glasgow he promptly blew the local jewellers allegedly impregnable safe.

Johnny spent the rest of his life in and out of prisons, which is where he met my father, 'Paddy Meehan' an aspiring and up and coming Peterman - but thats another story!

Hope this is of some help - Gary


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 06:46 PM

Hi, Gary. It's a pity the link posted by Little John Cameron above (http://www.argyllinternet.co.uk/scotmem/9906/9906summ.htm) doesn't seem to be working any more. You'd have been just the person to tell us whose face it showed: Ramensky's or your father's. Thanks for posting!


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Jim McLean
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 12:55 PM

Susanne, if you type into Google Johnny Ramenski picture you'll see him albeit somewhat younger than I remember. He had a broad forehead and sandy/grey hair. (1957)


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 03:01 PM

Here's a page, on a site appropriately called "Famous Scots", about Johnny Ramenski, with a picture of him young and old, and an account of his life and times. He does indeed have a very gentle face. (Actually he looks remarkably like pictures of the young Karol Wojtyla who became Pepe. But a bit milder.)


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng ^^
From: Susanne (skw)
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 06:10 PM

Thanks, Jim and McGrath. I know what Johnny looks like, having seen pictures and the Famous Scots website (a great resource). It was just a matter of clearing up whether the website referred to above by ljc shows a picture of Johnny or of Paddy Meehan. He wouldn't believe me when I said it showed the latter.


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Subject: Chord Req: Let Ramensky go, I'm begging you
From: GUEST,theballadeer
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 10:15 PM

Can some kind soul give me the chords to Let Ramensky go?

Alley-ee alley-ay alley-oo alley-oh

Open up your prison gates

And let Ramensky go


There was a lad in Glesga town, Ramensky was his name

Johnny didnae know it then but he was set for fame


Thank you in advance.

Nick


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: GUEST,Crystal
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 05:46 AM

If anyone could supply the words to Let Ramensky go that would be good!


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: Tam the Bam (Nutter)
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 02:41 PM

I thought that he was Scottish and not English.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: Tam the Bam (Nutter)
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 02:44 PM

The reason for that is because He was born in Glasgow I think, according to the song by Roddy McMillian. and it during the WW11.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WW II Scot
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 24 Mar 04 - 03:58 PM

Yes, I see this thread is still headed "Ballad of WWI Eng" when it should be "Ballad of WWII Scot".

And, Crystal, we've already had the words of "Let Ramensky Go" posted in this thread - here


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: GUEST,theballadeer
Date: 25 Mar 04 - 08:25 AM

but what about the chords?


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: GUEST,theballadeer
Date: 28 Mar 04 - 10:15 AM

refresh...someone, anyone...chords? Please?


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 08:08 AM

If you haven't got the tune, the chords aren't much use; and if you have got the tune, with most songs (such as this), there's not much problem chording it.


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 04:54 PM

Nick, play it in E minor, with G major and you shold get it OK.
Jim


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: Jim McLean
Date: 29 Mar 04 - 04:57 PM

PS and don't forget the D major!


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: GUEST,theballadeers
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 10:26 AM

Thanks, Jim. In response to an earlier post...yes I have the tune...I know the tune, but can't figure out the chords...why else would I ask?


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Subject: RE: Let Ramensky Go - Ballad of WWI Eng - need chords
From: Jim McLean
Date: 16 Jul 04 - 05:05 PM

Try this Nick, on the chorus use G major for 'Alley-ee alley-ay alley-oo alley- then D major for 'oh'.
Then back to G major for ' Open up your E minor prison G major gates and D major let G major Ramensky go'
The pattern is simmilar for the verse. The melody should dictate the changes.
Cheers,
Jim


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