Sunday, 13 May 2012

Lemon Jelly - Ramblin' Man (2002)


In honour of me finally renewing my passport after a couple of years dithering I'm doing a post on one of the greatest travel songs ever. And also one of the best list songs too, right up there with Hello by The Beloved. Now I'm not a very well travelled chap, in fact I sometimes get a nosebleed walking to the corner shop for a newspaper, but there's something about this track that stirs a desire in me to go-a-globetrottin'. Despite its title conjuring up images of worn out shoes and dusty roads, it's decidedly more Dan Cruickshank in spirit than it is Woody Guthrie, and that's a large part of its appeal. 

(Click over the jump for more on Lemon Jelly's Ramblin' Man.)
Ramblin' Man featured on Lost Horizons, the debut album from Lemon Jelly, and its spoken word vocals take the form of an interview between Michael Deakin (father of Lemon Jelly's Fred Deakin), and actor John Standing Aka 'John' the ramblin' man.  Its lyrics are basically a list of places from around the world, from the exotic to the seemingly mundane. It's the lesser celebrated places that jump out at you and so it should be. After all what's so impressive about name-checking New York in song when you can sing the praises of Felixstowe or Fingringhoe. (For similar kicks have a listen to Panic by The Smiths - "Dublin, Dundee, Humberside"). It''s an approach that can make you see the world afresh, and find interest in the everyday and the ordinary.

Fans of '70s children's TV will also be chuffed to find that the message "BAGPUSS SEES ALL THINGS" is spelled out midway through the song (beginning with Brixton about four minutes in), using the first letter of each location. Add to this the track's laid back summery groove and some lovely pedal steel. If it doesn't make you want to hop aboard the next available ferry then there's something wrong. Unfortunately there's no official video but it's not about the visuals. If you're familiar with Ramblin' Man now's the time to get re-acquainted. If you've not heard it before, click below, close your eyes and enjoy!