The Travelling People lyrics

by The Johnstons

We are freeborn clans of the travelling people
Got no fixed abode with nomads we are numbered
Country lanes and by-ways were always my ways
I never fancied being lumbered.

Oh, we knew the woods and the resting places
And the small birds sang when winter days were over
Then we'd pack our load and be on the road
Those were good old times for a rover.

Now I've known life hard and I've known it easy
And I've cursed the life when winter days are dawning
But we've laughed and sung through the whole night long
Seen the Summer sunrise in the morning.

There was open ground where a man could linger
For a week or two, for time was not our master
Then away you'd jog with your horse and dog
Nice and easy no need to go faster.

All you free born men of the travelling people
Every Tinker, Rolling Stone and Gipsy Rover
Winds of change are blowing, old ways are going
Your travelling days will soon be over.

Song Details

The Johnstons
Adrienne, Lucy & Michael Johnston

Composer & Lyricist: Ewan MacColl

Brief: The song portrays the lifestyle of Britain's nomadic people. It was first broadcast in 1964 as one of eight BBC Radio Ballads.

Tinker - A travelling mender of metal household utensils.
Rolling Stone - a restless or wandering person
Gipsy - variant spelling of Gypsy - a member of a race of wandering people

Category: Folk

The Johnstons original line-up: Family trio consisting of Adrienne, Lucy and Michael Johnston... more

Charts: Reached No. 1 on the Irish Charts in July, 1966

Covers: The Dubliners, Liam Clancy, Bobby Clancy, Christy Moore, The Pogues, Johnny McEvoy, Dick Gaughan, Cherish the Ladies, and Patrick Clifford.

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