Roots of Bob

Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie

To the tune of the Irish traditional "Brennan on the Moor", recorded by The Clancy Brothers and The McPeake Family. In the 30th Anniversary show, Liam Clancy talks about how he ran into Dylan on the street during the early days, and Dylan said something about having rewritten "Brennan on the Moor". On their most recent album, the Clancy Brothers have recorded "Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie'"

From The Bootleg Series notes (John Bauldie):

Once again, the song has its roots in the past. Dylan has fashioned his rakish outlaw-gambler with the heart of gold from an equally folk-heroic figure, the Irish highwayman Willie Brennan hanged in Cork in 1804. "Brennan on the Moor" is the rousing old ballad on which "Ramblin' Gamblin' Willie" is based, a staple of The Clancy Brothers' set througout their career. Dylan heard them sing the song in New York and loved it immediately. He told film director Derek Bailey in 1984: "I'd never heard those kind of songs before...all the legendary people they used to sing about - Brennan on the Moor or Roddy Macaulay...I would think of Brennan on the Moor the same way as I would think of Jesse James or something. You know, I wrote some of my own songs to some of the melodies that I heard them do..." Return to Roots of Bob

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