Ramblin’ Boy – Des Lindberg
‘Ramblin’ Boy’ was a song by Tom Paxton which came out in 1964. It is a simple folk song about a drifter and his friend who ramble around the country. And when it comes to folk classics, who better on the local front to cover the song than Des Lindberg. And he does it justice, keeping the song simple, with just a plucked guitar and his voice.
The only version I’ve found attributed to just Des is the one on his 1966 ‘Live’ album. Here he is joined by the audience who sing along with him as he ‘rambles’ through the song. There is a kind of reverence in both Des’ vocals and those of the audience. This is fitting as the song is a tribute to the narrators’ rambling friend who, at the end of the song, dies from the chills while staying in a cold and damp cabin.
The song would ramble up to number 2 on the Springbok Radio top 20 and it was a long journey for them as it spent 18 weeks in the charts. The year after the song was a hit, Des recorded another live version of it alongside Dawn for their ‘Folk On Trek’ album which was recorded live at Wits University. This version is a little more frenetic and races through the countryside rather than rambling. I can find nothing offensive in the song that would have resulted in the ‘Folk On Trek’ album being banned and, as far as I know, Des’ ‘Live’ was not banned neither was the single (well it nearly got to number 1 on the Springbok top 20), so it must have been some other tracks that resulted in the ban. ‘Ramblin’ Boy’ is a fine cover of a folk classic by SA’s premier folk artist.
Where to find it:
Live – Des Lindberg (Vinyl), (1966), CBS, ALD6925