The Roving Gambler

Lyrics: Traditional
Music: Traditional

Played by Jerry Garcia with John Kahn on 2 Feb 1986, and also (with somewhat different lyrics) in pre-Dead days with the Hart Valley Drifters in 1962. Thanks to Walter Keenan and Matt Schofield for the lyrics.

I am a roving gambler
I've gambled all around
When ever I meet with a deck of cards
I lay my money down

I've gambled down in Washington
I've gambled over in Spain
I'm going back to Portland
To gamble my last game

Had an Uncle Bill in Portland
Many more weeks but three
I fell in love with a pretty little girl
She fell in love with me

She took me to her parlor
Cooled me with a fan
Whispered low in her mother's ear
I'm in love with a gambling man

Tell me my dear daughter
How can you treat me so?
Save your poor old mother
And with the gambler drove

Mother oh dear Mother
I'll tell you if I can
If you ever see me coming back
It'll be with a gambling man

I am a roving gambler
I've gambled all around
When ever I met with a deck of cards
I laid my money down

I've gambled down in Washington
I've gambled over in Spain
I'm going back to Portland
To gamble my last game
The earlier version by the Hart Valley Drifters is:
I am a roving gambler
I've gambled all around
Wherever I meet with a deck of cards
I lay my money down
Lay my money down, lay my money down

Had not been in [Frisco]
Many more weeks but three
When I fell in love with a pretty girl
And she fell in love with me
Fell in love with me, fell in love with me

She took me to her parlor
Cooled me with a fan
Whispered low in her mother's ear
I love that gambling man
Love that gambling man, love that gambling man

Oh daughter, oh dear daughter
How can you treat me so
To leave your dear old mother
And with a gambling man go
With a gambling man go, with a gambling man go

Oh mother, oh dear mother
I'll tell you if I can
If you ever see me coming back
It'll be with a gambling man
With a gambling man, with a gambling man

I hear a train a-coming
Coming round the curve
Whistling and a-blowing
And straining every nerve
Straining every nerve, straining every nerve

I am a roving gambler
I've gambled all around
Wherever I meet with a deck of cards
I lay my money down
Lay my money down, lay my money down