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Lyr Add: Son of a Gambolier

DigiTrad:
THE SON OF A GAMBOLIER


Related thread:
Lyr Req: Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech (16)


Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Dec 04 - 04:21 PM
Lighter 20 Dec 04 - 05:17 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Dec 04 - 05:44 PM
Joe Offer 20 Dec 04 - 05:45 PM
dick greenhaus 20 Dec 04 - 06:05 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Dec 04 - 06:10 PM
Joe Offer 20 Dec 04 - 06:23 PM
Lighter 20 Dec 04 - 06:35 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 20 Dec 04 - 08:47 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 10 Dec 05 - 11:31 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 13 Dec 05 - 02:30 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 16 Feb 06 - 04:19 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 19 Aug 09 - 01:08 PM
GUEST 19 Aug 09 - 02:36 PM
Joe_F 20 Aug 09 - 05:43 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Aug 09 - 01:14 PM
Q (Frank Staplin) 23 Aug 09 - 01:44 PM
Jim Dixon 23 Aug 09 - 02:37 PM
Lighter 08 Nov 15 - 10:20 AM
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Subject: Lyr Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 04:21 PM

SON OF A GAMBOLIER
(L. M. 1870; Charles Edward Ives 1925?)

1. I'm a rambling wretch of poverty
From Tippery town I came,
'Twas poverty compelled me first
To go out in the rain;
In all sorts of weather be it wet or be it dry,
I am bound to get my livelihood,
Or lay me down and die.

CHORUS: Then combine your humble ditties,
As from tavern to tavern we steer.
Like ev'ry honest fellow,
I drink my lager bier,
Like ev'ry jolly fellow,
I takes my whiskey clear,
I'm a rambling wretch of poverty
and the son of a gambolier.
I'm the son of a, son of a, son of a, son of a, son of a gambolier.

2. I once was tall and handsome,
And was so very neat.
They thought I was too good to live,
Most good enough to eat;
But now I'm old my coat is torn and poverty holds me fast,
And ev'ry girl turns up her nose,
As I go wand'ring past.

3. I'm a rambling wretch of poverty,
From Tippery town I came,
My coat I bought from an old Jew shop,
Way down in Maiden Lane;
My hat I got from a sailor lad just eighteen years ago,
And my shoes I pick'd from an old dust heap,
Which ev'ry one shunned but me.

Sheet music at American Memory, printed 1870 by James Garland, New Brunswick, New Jersey. This could be a parody of an older song.

The words of the third verse suggest an English origin, but I have not found a copy. Joe, sorry, it could be. The classical composer Charles Edward Ives revised it for a group of songs (Five Street Songs).

The earliest printing of "The Ramblin' Wreck" was in a Georgia Tech school program of 1910, but there is some evidence that it was written as early as 1890, some 20 years after the sheet music copied above. A student is said to have adapted "an old drinking song," and it was first sung to urge on the baseball team.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 05:17 PM

For many decades the melody was an extremely popular tune for various humorous and drinking songs. Does anyone have early documentation for the melody?

One imagines that it was current during the Civil War, but one can easily imagine wrong.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 05:44 PM

Too good a tune? A damn good marching tune if put in 3/4 ("Son..." is 6/8) and I wouldn't be surprised if it turned up somewhere before being set with the doggerel verses here or in Ramblin' Wreck or Donderhead or whatever.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 05:45 PM

There are a number of entries in the Traditional Ballad Index. These two are the ones that apply most directly:

Son of a Gambolier (I), The

DESCRIPTION: "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"
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1870 (sheet music)
KEYWORDS: rambling drink poverty
FOUND IN: US(SE)
REFERENCES (6 citations):
BrownIII 369, "The Rambling Soldier" (1 text)
Sandburg, p. 44, "The Son of a Gambolier" (1 text, 1 tune)
Spaeth-ReadWeep, pp. 78-80, "The Son of a Gambolier" (1 text, 1 tune)
Gilbert, pp. 159-160, "The Song of a Gambolier" (1 text)
Fuld-WFM, pp. 515-516, "Son of a Gun -- (Son of a Gambolier; Dunderbeck; and Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech)"
DT, SONGAMB*

Roud #2964
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech" (tune)
cf. "Dunderbeck" (tune)
cf. "Son of a Gambolier (II)"
cf. "Way Out in Idaho (I)" (tune)
cf. "The Pioneers" (tune)
cf. "According to the Act" (tune)
cf. "The Rakes of Poverty" (tune)
cf. "The Freight Handler's Strike" (tune)
cf. "The Man That Waters the Workers' Beer" (tune)
Notes: 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
File: San044

Son of a Gambolier (II)

DESCRIPTION: Bawdy, scatological, and sundry verses to the tune of "Son of a Gambolier/Rambling Wreck from Georgia Tech." Often directed at the local arch-enemy (so, e.g. students of Stanford would lampoon California)
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE:
KEYWORDS: bawdy parody nonballad
FOUND IN: US
REFERENCES (1 citation):
Cray, pp. 327-332, "Son of a Gambolier" (1 extended text, 1 tune); also pp. 332-336, "The Cardinals Be Damned" (3 texts, 1 tune)
CROSS-REFERENCES:
cf. "The Son of a Gambolier (I)"
Notes: This extended title is used for any song insulting another college which can use the "Gambolier" tune. Why? Because no two versions of the result are alike. - RBW
File: EM327

Go to the Ballad Search form
Go to the Ballad Index Instructions

The Ballad Index Copyright 2004 by Robert B. Waltz and David G. Engle.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 06:05 PM

It's in the DT


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 06:10 PM

As pointed out in the Dunderbeck thread, "Son..." in the DT is revised and makes a wreck of the sheet music.


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Subject: Lyr Add: The Ramblin' Wreck
From: Joe Offer
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 06:23 PM

The version of "Gambolier" in the DT is an exact transcription of the version in My Pious Friends and Drunken Companions (Frank Shay, 1927)[no tune in "Pious Friends"]. It could use an extra line break after the chorus, but otherwise looks good.
The version Q posted is a bit different, but both versions have basically the same three verses.

This Page at GATECH.edu has the lyrics that are more familiar to us (and a recording):

The Ramblin' Wreck
  By Frank Roman

I'm a ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech
  And a hell of an engineer--
A helluva, helluva, helluva, helluva, hell of an engineer,
Like all the jolly good fellows,
  I drink my whiskey clear.
I'm a ramblin' wreck from Georgia Tech
  And a hell of an engineer.

Oh! If I had a daughter, sir,
  I'd dress her in White and Gold.
And put her on the campus
 To cheer the Brave and Bold.
But if I had a son, sir,
 I'll tell you what he'd do
He would yell, "To hell with Georgia,"
 like his daddy used to do.

Oh! I wish I had a barrel of rum
  And sugar three thousand pounds,
A college bell to put it in
  And a clapper to stir it round,
I'd drink to all good fellows
  Who come from far and near.
I'm a ramblin', gamblin',
  Hell of an engineer! Hey!


This page of Georgia Tech Traditions gives some background:
    The Georgia Tech Fight Song is perhaps the most widely known song associated with a school. The song began in 1885 when majority of the student body traveled to Athens to watch Tech defeat Georgia's baseball team. The tradition was established in the early 1900's. Bandmaster, Frank Roman, changed some things in the song and how he left it is how we know it today.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER
From: Lighter
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 06:35 PM

In 1975 I was told of a further parody of the Georgia Tech parody, called "I'm a twiddly twat from Agnes Scott." Ring a bell with anyone?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 20 Dec 04 - 08:47 PM

The words posted by Joe for "Ramblin' Wreck" also appear at the Official Athletic Site for the GT Yellow Jackets, with this note:

"In 1984, the law firm of Newton, Hopkins & Ormsby investigated the copyright situation as it applied to "Ramblin' Wreck" and found that a number of people have various versions of the song that have been copyrighted. The original version of the song, however, is in the public domain and can be played by anyone without the payment of royalties. "
So y'awl watch out and be sure to sing the version that Joe has posted.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER (Princeton University)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 10 Dec 05 - 11:31 PM

Lyr. Add: SON OF A GAMBOLIER
A Princeton Song (1894 version)

I used to be as gay a sport
as ever walked the street,
I was so very handsome,
I was almost fit to eat;
But now I'm old and seedy grown,
and poverty holds me fast,
The boys and girls smile at me,
but still I take my glass.

Come join my humble ditty,
From Tippery town I steer,
Like every good honest fellow,
I likes my lager beer.

Like ev'ry good honest fellow,
I takes my whiskey clear,
For I'm a rambling rake of poverty,
And a son of a gambolier.

I wish I had a barrel of rum,
and sugar three hundred pound,
With the chapel bell to put it in,
And the clapper to stir it round;
I'd drink to the health of Nassau Hall,
and the girls both far and near,
For I'm a rambling rake of poverty,
And the son of a gambolier.

Son of a son of a, son of a, son of a gambolier,
A son of a son of a, son of a , son of a gambolier.
Like ev'ry good honest fellow,
I takes my whiskey clear,
For I'm a rambling rake of poverty,
And a son of a gambolier.

With music, "Carmina Princetonia, The University Song Book," Eighth Edition Supplementary, pp. 10-11. Martin R. Dennis & Co., 1894.

This seems to have been a Princeton song from the beginning, but some have suggested an origin in England or Ireland.


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Subject: LYR. ADD: A SON OF A GUN (Dartmouth)
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 13 Dec 05 - 02:30 PM

Lyr. Add: A SON OF A GUN
Tune- Son of a Gambolier

I wish I had a barrel of rum
and sugar three hundred pound,
I'd put it in the College bell
and stir it 'round and 'round.
Let ev'ry honest fellow
drink his glass of hearty cheer,
For I'm a student of old Dartmouth
and a son of a gun for beer.

Chorus:
I'm a son of a, son of a, son of a,
son of a gun for beer
I'm a son of a, son of a, son of a,
son of a gun for beer
Like ev'ry honest fellow
I like my whiskey clear
For I'm a student of old Dartmouth
and a son of a gun for beer.

And if I had a daughter, sir,
I'd dress her up in green,
I'd put her on the campus
just to coach the freshman team,
And if I had a son, sir,
I'll tell you what he'd do
He'd yell, 'To Hell with Harvard!'
like his Daddy used to do.
Chorus

Writer unknown. First verse prob. late 19th c., last verse added later?
The Dartmouth review, Oct. 23, 1996. http://www.dartreview.com/archives/1996/10/23/banned_songs_of_old_dartmouth.php
Dartmouth
Also "Dartmouth Song Book," Dartmouth Publications, 1950.


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Subject: Origins: Son of a Gambolier
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 16 Feb 06 - 04:19 PM

Gambolier- a gambler. See J. E. Lighter, Historical Dictionary of American Slang, vol. 1.
Perhaps spelled 'gambalier' originally.
The word appears in a verse of the Gold Rush song, "Poker Jim."
Verse 7
There was a noter gambalier a living in our camp,
They called him Poker Jim, and, oh! he was an awful scamp;
He used to come and talk to her, while I tried to make a strike,
And said she was a fool to love such an ugly d----d d----d Pike.

This song was first published in 1858 in Johnson, J. E., "Johnson's New Comic Songs, no. 2," San Francisco, D. E. Appleton & Co. (words and music, The Raging Canal, in Dwyer and Lingenfelter, "Songs of the Gold Rush," pp. 58-59).

"Night Side of New York," 1866- "The gay gamboliers would sometimes set four and twenty hours at a stretch."

1867, the magazine "Galaxy "(Nov.)- "A gay young gambolier stabs himself with the queen of hearts."

Perhaps derived from combining 'gambol', 'gambolier', and 'gamble', 'gambler'.

The song, "Son of a Gambolier" (in the DT), appeared in sheet music in 1870, and has been found by John Mehlberg in the 1869 edition of "Carmina Princetonia." It continues to exist as "Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech."


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Son of a Gambolier
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 01:08 PM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Son of a Gambolier
From: GUEST
Date: 19 Aug 09 - 02:36 PM

If I had a daughter - I would dress her up in jeans...
And send her down to Georgia Tech to coach the miner's teams

And If I had a son boys - I'll tell you what he'd do
He'd say to Heck - with Georgia Tech - just like his daddy used to do.

Colorado - 1936 - Aggies Fort Collins


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Son of a Gambolier
From: Joe_F
Date: 20 Aug 09 - 05:43 PM

The Caltech version, as remembered by this alumnus ('58):

Oh, if I had a daughter, sir, I'd dress her up in green
And send her over to Oxy to coach the football team,
But if I had a son, sir, he'd go to Tech, it's true,
And he'd yell "To hell with Oxy!" like his daddy used to do.

Oh, if you want the planets to revolve around the sun,
We'll do the job in half a year and only call it fun,
And if you want a trip to Mars or a ten-foot shaft to Hell,
We're the engineers from CIT, and we'll do the job real well.

"Oxy" = Occidental College


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Subject: Lyr Add: THE SON OF A GAMBOLIER
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 01:14 PM

From Jeremy Jollyboy: Songster by Sol Smith Russell (New York: Robert M. De Witt, 1876), page 16:


THE SON OF A GAMBOLIER.
Copyright, 1876, by Robert M. DeWitt.
Written and adapted by Alfred B. Sedgwick.

[Scene, a street in 1st E. A noise of altercation outside. JERRY BLOSSOM, dressed in ragged clothes, with a very red face and a much redder nose, is violently pushed on the stage from the Prompt side.]

JERRY.—Now don't you go and do that again. If ye does—I'll make yer know it. (Rubbing himself.) You see if I don't. You don't know what it is to kick a gen'l'man. An' a Collegiate at that! (Looks at audience.) Yes! you may laugh! But it's so all the same. I is a Collegiate! Wasn't I found in a basket under the College pump? When I was a orphling? A little and orphling? as they says in the drug stores when they askseses to go into the back shop to get some whiskey for the stomach complaint. They gets it little as the druggist measures it out; but they takes it orphling—or orphan—I forget the right pronuncification. When I used to stand in front of the St. Nicholas, years ago, with my white kids on and me highglass in me heye, a insulting of the gals as they used to pass by, and feathering the green swells into father's shop to get fleeced, they wouldn't a dared to kick me out of a barroom. No! They know'd a thing or two in them days. But now I'm old and seedy, I suppose I'll have to put up with it. Who'd ever think, looking at me as I am, (turns out his pants pockets,) that I was once the son of a gay gambolier? (To the audience.) You may laugh! Yes—keep on—I knows what you're a-thinking on!—(Pause.) I said I was a orphling. (Pause.) And so I was—till father came—and took me in and did for me.

1. Oh! once I was a nobby youth,
The girls all call'd me sweet;
Some said I was too good to live,
And pretty enough to eat.
But now I'm old and seedy grown,
And poverty holds me fast,
The girls all turn their noses up—
Whenever I go past.

CHORUS: Come, listen to my ditty,
From Tippery town I steer-eer-eer,
Like ev'ry honest fellow
I drinks "mein Lager-beer."
Like ev'ry honest fellow,
I drinks my whiskey clear!
I'm a rambling rake of poverty,
And the son of a Gambolier.
I'm the son of a—son of a—son of a—son of a—son of a—son of a—son of a—son of a—son of a Gambolier.

[Spoken.] Yes, I am! Now don't you go poking fun at me. I'm the son of a gay Gambolier! I am! (Slaps himself across the breast.)

2. Oh! I'm the most unfortunate cuss,
That ever yet was seen;
I ain't got money to buy my grub,
With hunger I am lean.
Though a member of society,
Of that there can be no doubt!
Yet whene'er I go to saloon or house,
They (pause)—invariably kick me out.

[Spoken.] Yes, they do! Indeed they do! And—it hurts my feelings! (Rubbing himself.)

CHORUS.—Come, listen to, &c.

3. I went in a saloon one day,
Down by the Jersey Ferry;
The Barman asked me what I'd have,
I told him "Tom and Jerry!"
I happened to have no money,
Of my honesty—he'd a doubt,
So he caught my collar and slack of my pants,
And then he bounced me out.

[Spoken.] Yes! indeed he did. You wouldn't think so. But I've got the marks on my body to this day—that is (scratching, his head) if I didn't get them somewhere else since then.

CHORUS.—Come, listen to, &c.

4. If I had a barrel of whiskey,
And sugar, three hundred pounds!
The City Hall bell to put it in—
The clapper to stir it round!
I'd drink to the health of all New York,
And tell it far and near;
I'm a rambling rake of poverty,
And (pause)—the son of a Gambolier.

[Spoken to audience.] Now, who's going to treat?

CHORUS.—Come, listen to, &c.

(He dances off to Symphony.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Son of a Gambolier
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 01:44 PM

Sheet music of the song, dated 1870, is available at American Memory.
The 1876 version posted above by Jim Dixon seems to be from a music hall skit.

I wonder if the song is even earlier?


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Subject: Lyr Add: RAMBLING RAKE
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 23 Aug 09 - 02:37 PM

Here's the oldest version I can find.

From Selected Songs Sung at Harvard College: From 1862 to 1866 by William Allen Hayes (Cambridge [Mass.]: Press of J. Wilson and Sons, 1866), page 72:


RAMBLING RAKE.

1. I'm the rambling rake of poverty. From Tipperary town I came.
That poverty compels me to turn out in the rain.
In every sort of weather, be it either wet or dry,
I must gain an honest livelihood, or else lie down and die.

CHORUS: Then come, buy my humble ditty. From town to town I steer.
Like every jolly good fellow, I likes my lager beer.
Like every jolly good fellow, I likes my lager beer.
I'm the rambling rake of poverty, the son of a gambolier,
The son of a, son of a, son of a, son of a, son of a gambolier.

2. My coat I bought from a sailor-man, just seven long years at sea.
My hat I got from an old dust-heap, that was shunned by all but me.
At last, I got a handkerchief to ornament my frame.
I stole it from an old Jew's shop, 'way down in Maiden Lane.

3. Oh! once I was a lady's man. I looked so nice and sweet.
They said I was too good to live, and nice enough to eat;
But now my clothes are tattered grown, and poverty holds me fast,
And the ladies all turn up their nose, and sneer as I go past.


[Note: (1) The word is "rake" rather than "wretch" or "wreck;" (2) this version spells out "Tipperary" rather than "Tippery" as in other versions; and (3) it has "come buy" rather than "combine," making me suspect "combine" was a mondegreen.]


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Son of a Gambolier
From: Lighter
Date: 08 Nov 15 - 10:20 AM

Here is possibly the earliest text, printed by De Marsan in New York, app. ca1862. It is said also to be in "Fred May's Comic Irish Songster" (ca1862), which I have not seen.

The song was clearly written for a vaudeville comedian in character. "Gambolier" is absent, and the singer is clearly a broadside peddler. Later versions have "Combine your humble ditties" in the chorus, but "Come buy my humble ditties," as below, makes a little more sense.


THE RAMBLING BOY OF POVERTY.

I am a gay and rambling boy, from Tipton-Town I came;
Poverty has compell'd me to turn out in the rain,
In all sorts of weather, be it wet or dry;
I know my state and I bear my fate, I neither laugh or cry.

Chorus.

Come, buy my humble ditty, from tavern to tavern I steer;
Like every other good fellow, I like my lager-bier;
Like every other good fellow, I never says NO to beer;
I'm the rambling blade of poverty, the son of Mickey O'Vere.

Cold winter it is coming fast, and I have no clothes to clad,
I've left none behind me, I've put all on my back;
My coat cost ten-and-six-pence, about twenty years ago,
And I got it from a Jew, in Chatham street, whose name is Mose, we know.

Chorus.

My stockings cost me four-pence, and I thought the price was high;
My shirt I picked it up in the dirt, where garbage used to lie;
My cap I bought from a soldier, the lining from it being tore.
And the oil-cloth what went over it wore for ten long years and more.

Chorus.

Here are my two trunks upon my feet:if they are fellows, I'd think it RARE;
For, one I got at De Marsan's, the other.. God knows where.
I bought myself a handkerchief just to ornament my frame,
And I got it from a color'd gal, at the corner of Katherine lane.

Chorus.

H. DE MARSAN,
PUBLISHER,
54 CHATHAM STREET N.Y.
TOY BOOKS, PAPER DOLLS, MOTTO VERSES, &c.


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