Rude and Rambling Man


Tom Ashley recorded an American version of the British broadside ballad, "Rude and Rambling Man," on Folkways FA 2350. The rambling man was one who lived life to the fullest and died with no regrets. The song was one of Ashley's favorites, and the touching reference to his wife Hettie indicates Tom's personal identification with the song.

When I was a rude and rambling man
I bought my ticket to London Town
To London City I paid my way
To spend my money in a gambling way

I hadn't been there but a week or so
Till I married me a wife, she troubled me so
To support that girl both nice and gay
She cuased me to rob the road highway

I robbed the train I will declare
I robbed it on the public square
On Sunday night I's roving around
When I robbed it of ten thousand pound

Now I am condemned to die
And a many pretty girls for me will cry
All their cries, they can't save me
Or free me from the gallows tree

To London City I paid my way
I got on board and I took my seat
The wheels did roll and the whistle did blow
In about nine days I rolled in home

My mama said she was all alone
My sister said she would weep and moan
My sweetheart sits in down despair
Gold diamond rings and curly hair

Oh, when I die don't bury me at all
Go pickle my bones in alcohol
Place a marble stone on my head and feet
And go tell Hettie I'm just asleep.