Wild Rover, The

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  • Teideal (Title): Wild Rover, The.
  • Uimhir Chatalóige Ollscoil Washington (University of Washington Catalogue Number): 781516.
  • Uimhir Chnuasach Bhéaloideas Éireann (National Folklore of Ireland Number): none.
  • Uimhir Roud (Roud Number): 1173.
  • Uimhir Laws (Laws Number): none.
  • Uimhir Child (Child Number): none.
  • Cnuasach (Collection): Joe Heaney Collection, University of Washington, Seattle.
  • Teanga na Croímhíre (Core-Item Language): English.
  • Catagóir (Category): song.
  • Ainm an té a thug (Name of Informant): Joe Heaney.
  • Ainm an té a thóg (Name of Collector): Cynthia Thiessen.
  • Dáta an taifeadta (Recording Date): 07/03/1978.
  • Suíomh an taifeadta (Recording Location): University of Washington, United States of America.
  • Ocáid an taifeadta (Recording Occasion): day class.
  • Daoine eile a bhí i láthair (Others present): Fredric Lieberman.
  • Stádas chóipcheart an taifeadta (Recording copyright status): unavailable.

Now, ‘I’m a Rambler, I’m a Gambler, I’m a Long Way from Home’ – now, exactly the same words is in that as in ‘The Wild Rover’. And I think the American thing was first.


I’m a rambler, I’m a gambler, I’m a long way from home
And if you don’t like me, oh leave me alone.
I’ll eat when I’m hungry, I’ll drink when I’m dry
And if moonshine don’t kill me, I’ll drink ’til I die.

This is the way you do now:
[sings verse above]

‘I came into an alehouse’ and [indistinct] ‘The Wild Rover’ then:
I’ve been a wild rover for manys a year
And I spent all me money on whiskey and beer
But I’ll give it over, put me money in store
And I’ll never be called the wild rover no more
And its oh, nay, never
Well I never no more
Sure, I’ll play the wild rover, no, never, no more

Well you know the rest of it. Well, the comparisons you know – that somebody took something somewhere, and somebody took something back.


In this seminar, Joe and Mike Seeger were presenting and comparing Irish versions of songs with American ones, and Joe drew this comparison between the American song, ‘I’m a Rambler, I’m a Gambler’ and ‘The Wild Rover,’ a song that became very popular as a consequence of the ‘ballad boom’ in Ireland and the influence of groups like the Dubliners and the Clancy Brothers.