Ramble On Rose

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Jerry Garcia

Just like Jack the Ripper
Just like Mojo Hand
Just like Billy Sunday
In a shotgun rag-time band

Just like New York City
Just like Jericho
Pace the halls and climb the walls
And get out when they blow

Did you say your name was Rambling Rose?
Ramble on baby, settle down easy
Ramble on Rose

Just like Jack and Jill
Mama told the sailor (note 1)
One heat up and one cool down
Leave nothing for the tailor

Just like Jack and Jill
Papa told the jailer
One go up and one come down
Do yourself a favour


I'm gonna sing you
A hundred verses in ragtime
I know this song
It ain't never gonna end
I'm gonna march you up and down
The local county line (note 2)
Take you to the leader
Of the band (note 3)

Just like Crazy Otto
Just like Wolfman Jack
Sitting plush with a royal flush
Aces back to back

Just like Mary Shelley
Just like Frankenstein (note 4)
Clank your chains and count your change
And try to walk the line


Goodbye Mama and Papa
Goodbye Jack and Jill
The grass ain't greener, the wine ain't sweeter
Either side of the hill


Ramble on Rose
(1) the sheet music in "Grateful Dead Anthology" has "Mama told the jailer", and Garcia occasionally swapped round "sailor" and "jailer" in this and the next verse, though he normally sang it the 'right' way round. And on at least some occasions, he sang "Papa told the sailor". (Thanks to Greg Gabbard, David Rosen and Michael LaBua for their help with this)
(2) this is what is in "Box of Rain" but the sheet music in "Grateful Dead Anthology" has "Along the county line." I think this is just a mistake: in the recording on Europe '72 (the first one released), Garcia slurs the words and it could be heard as "Along the county line", but in other recordings he clearly sings "The local county line". (Thanks to David Rosen for pointing this out)
(3) this is what is in "Box of Rain" and the sheet music, but it sounds as if Garcia sang "Take me to the leader of a band" eg in the version on Europe '72. (Thanks to Jason Walsh for spotting this)
(4) Bob Weir now sings "She wrote Frankenstein"
(5) in a 1977 interview with David Gans, Robert Hunter said "Ramble on rose is the closest to complete whimsy I've come up with. That was another one that I sat down and wrote numerous verses to." I've never come across any additional verses that weren't recorded by the Grateful Dead or published in "Box of Rain".

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     21 Oct 1971 30 Days Of The Dead (2011)
     22 Oct 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 3
     26 Oct 1971 Download Series Vol 3
     15 Nov 1971 Road Trips Number 3, Volume 2
     17 Nov 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 26
      6 Dec 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 22
      7 Dec 1971 Dave's Picks Volume 22
      7 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     11 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     14 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     17 Apr 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
      3 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
      4 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
      7 May 1972 Steppin' Out with the Grateful Dead: England '72 (note b)
     10 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     18 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     23 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     25 May 1972 Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
     26 May 1972 Europe '72 (note a) (note b)
     21 Jul 1972 Download Series Vol 10
     21 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 36
     27 Sep 1972 Dick's Picks Vol 11
      2 Apr 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 21
     25 Sep 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 20
     11 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
     17 Nov 1973 Dave's Picks Volume 5
      2 Dec 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 14
     19 Dec 1973 30 Days Of The Dead (2012)
     17 May 1974 Pacific Northwest '73-'74
     23 Jun 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 34
     31 Jul 1974 Dave's Picks Volume 2
      3 Oct 1976 30 Trips Around The Sun
     10 Oct 1976 Dick's Picks Vol 33
     11 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     13 May 1977 May 1977 Box Set
     19 May 1977 Dick's Picks Vol 29
      8 Jun 1977 Winterland June 1977 - The Complete Recordings
     29 Oct 1977 Dave's Picks Vol 33
      2 Nov 1977 Dave's Picks Volume 12
     24 Apr 1978 Dave's Picks Volume 7
     10 May 1978 Dick's Picks Vol 25
      3 Jul 1978 July 1978: The Complete Recordings
      8 Jul 1978 July 1978: The Complete Recordings
     16 Sep 1978 Rocking The Cradle: Egypt 1978 (bonus disc)
     31 Dec 1978 The Closing Of Winterland (DVD & CD)
      3 Dec 1979 Dave's Picks Vol 31
     30 Dec 1979 Road Trips Vol 3, No 1 (bonus disc)
     31 Oct 1980 Dead Ahead (video/DVD)
     30 Nov 1980 Dave's Picks Volume 8
     31 Jul 1982 30 Trips Around The Sun
      7 Aug 1982 Dick's Picks Vol 32
     21 Oct 1983 30 Trips Around The Sun
     12 Jun 1987 Giants Stadium 1987, 1989, 1991 Boxed Set
      7 Jul 1989 Crimson, White and Indigo (DVD & CD)
      9 Oct 1989 Warlocks Box
     18 Mar 1990 Spring 1990 (The Other One)
     29 Mar 1990 Wake Up To Find Out (note c)
     27 Oct 1990 30 Trips Around The Sun (note d)
     26 May 1993 Road Trips Vol 2, No 4
     15 Jul 1998 Furthur Most (The Other Ones)
(Plus live recordings by The Dead, Furthur, Dead & Company, Ratdog, Phil Lesh & Friends etc not listed here. See Grateful Dead Family Discography for a full list.)
Other Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     2005 Jerry Jams, Jerry Cares Jones
     2005 The 1000th Show Dark Star Orchestra
     2008 Fennario: Songs by Jerry Garcia and Robert Hunter Emory Joseph
     2012 Double Down Dead EP Band Of Heathens
     2015 Punk Is Dead Punk Is Dead
     23 May 2015 Live: Rome, GA Widespread Panic
     2017 Blackberry Smoke with Bob Weir: An Evening at TRI Blackberry Smoke
     2017 Crew Licks Dead Rider
     2020 Single Wynonna & Bob Weir

(a) also on the compilation What A Long Strange Trip It's Been.
(b) also on the box set Europe '72 - The Complete Recordings
(c) also included as part of box set Spring 1990 (The Other One)
(d) also on the compilation 30 Trips Around The Sun: The Definitive Live Story 1965-1995

Further Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography
For information on references in the lyrics see David Dodd's Annotated Grateful Dead Lyrics
For David Dodd's discussion of this song on dead.net see Greatest Stories Ever Told
For online chords and TAB see www.rukind.com
For sheet music, see:
          Grateful Dead Anthology Volume 1 (piano arrangement)
          Garcia/Hunter Songbook (vocal line and chords/TAB)


Home | Find words/phrases| Find Song lyrics| Dead originals| Dead covers|