Rambling Gambler: About the Song

Historical Background

When the Civil War was over, huge areas of the South lay in ruin. Millions of Southerners, black and white, were now homeless and faced with the reality of having to reconstruct their lives. In the face of this, some packed their few belongings and headed west to see what may await them.

Song History

Among the things they brought with them as they attempted to start their lives anew were their beloved songs. Word clusters and entire verses from Rambling Gambler can be found in many similar American and British songs including The Wagoner's LadMy Horses Ain't Hungry, and The Texas Cowboy. This version retains a Gaelic melody and was popular with the early American cowboys which some of these drifting Southerners were soon to become.

Lyrics

I'm a rambler and a gambler
And a long ways from home
If the people don't like me
They can leave me alone

Oh, it's dark and it’s a-rainin'
And the moon gives no light
My pony won't travel
On this dark road at night

Go put up your pony
And give him some hay
Come take your seat by me
Just as long as you stay

My pony isn’t hungry
No, he won't eat your hay
We’re headed for Wyoming
We’re gonna graze on the way

I used to have me a pretty little sweetheart
Her age was nineteen
She was the flower of Belton
And the rose of Saline

But her parents were against me
And now she is the same
If I'm on your book, love
Won’t you blot out my name

I'm a rambler and a gambler
And a long ways from home
If the people don't like me
They can leave me alone

Oh, it's dark and it’s a-rainin'
And the moon gives no light
My pony won't travel
On this dark road at night

YouTube Playlist
Spotify Playlist