"Ramblin' Woman"

© 1974 Lee Ruth

Ken Shepherd
& The Baghdaddies

Ken Shepherd - Vocal & Guitar

The Baghdaddies
Ken Shepherd
- Background Vocal
Lee Ruth
- Background Vocal
Ron Morris
- Background Vocal
Neal Miller
- Background Vocal

  MP3 Sample of Lee's Original


Song Lyrics:
Lee's Lyrics:
Ramblin' woman, with your ramblin' mind...
and your ramblin' body and your lovin' free and fine.
I'm a ramblin' man too....tell you what I want to do.
I'm gonna ramble on down the line a little way with you.

First time I saw you was the first I knew
what a ramblin' woman could make me want to do.
They say it's all been done before, but I just don't think so...
and not by me with a ramblin' woman like you.

Makin' love with you in paradise...
what you do to me--fire does to ice.
what happens once don't happen twice,
and I love you, ramblin' woman.

Ramblin' woman, when you go your way... if it ain't my way,
it'll make me sad to say. but it'll make me happy much more
than blue to know you're alive in love with a life that's true.

Ramblin' woman I love you so. With a ramblin' woman, it's
easy to let go. ramblin' woman, I know you know I love you,
Ramblin' woman.

Ramblin' woman, with your ramblin' mind
And your ramblin' body, oh
And your lovin' free and fine
I'm a ramblin' man too, and what I'd love to do
Is to ramble on down the line a little way with you

First time I saw you, was the first I knew
What a ramblin' woman, oh
Could make me want to do
It's all been done before, somebody said so
But not by me with a ramblin' woman like you

What happens once, can happen twice
Makin' love with you, paradise
It's fire, not ice. That will suffice
I love you, ramblin' woman

Ramblin' woman, when you go your way
If it ain't my way, no
Well it makes me sad to say
But it makes me happy, much more than blue
To know you're alive and live in love that's true

Ramblin' woman, I love you so
Ramblin' woman, so easy to let go
Ramblin' woman, I know you know
I love you, ramblin' woman

(repeat verse 1)
Ramble on down the line a little way with you
I'd love to ramble on down the line a little way with you

Artist on the Song:
Lee on the Song:

Ramblin' comments:
There are a lot of Lee's songs that I might have picked to do for this particular recording... real personal to me. Singing and playing with Lee and listening to Lee over these many years has been an exchange with an open invitation into the events of Lee's life... often like stepping into a painting. "Ramblin' Woman" paints a "fact of life" love situation, when you feel blessed and sad, and you realize love won't be ordinary, and that love sometimes does not intend that two people stay together. When you acknowledge that for some, love can't be usual, but rather than damning your luck, you choose to celebrate the opportunity... I relate to "Ramblin' Woman."

Written in the latter part of 1974, perhaps finished in early 1975, "Ramblin' Woman" was intended to put a positive spin on a broken heart. Seems to have succeeded in doing so. Also was intended as a gender-switching alternative to a plethora of well-known "ramblin' boy/ramblin' man" songs. As has happened with many songs that I once sang on a regular basis, this one eventually became a rarity in my song-bag, in part because I never found the right key to play and sing it in, but I never let it slip completely out of my repertoire. Starting to sing it again, and hearing Ken's creative reconstruction of it has reminded me that I still like "Ramblin' Woman."
Artist on Lee Ruth:
Lee on the Artist:
From the earlier days.
'62-'63. Lee Ruth, tall, thin pompadoured red-headed, white t-shirt/levied, folk rocker hanger outer in the MU student union stairwell where the resonant reverb of the sounds we made with our guitars and voices against the man-made marbled stair steps and the flat concreted walls of the several storied winding staircase gave an incredibly warm and sweet, bigger-than-life return, a sound not then available through any known electronic wizardry. We missed a lot of studies. Even then I'd been singing and writing for as long as I can remember, but guitar was (still is) new for me and Lee knew a lot--ever willing to show and share. We just found ourselves where the music was. Since that time, and including the interruptions travel and life bring, we've managed to continue making music for these better than 40 years--from street scenes to coffee houses and club jams and into the early morning moonlit woods sessions till dew would collect on our guitars. In fact, I think I can hear him now down the hall. Lee's music inspires.

I first laid eyes and ears on Ken in the fall of 1963 at a "hootenanny" (an informal public gathering of people for the purpose of playing and singing folk songs together and/or for each other), in a meeting room in the University of Missouri Student Union. His guitar playing was relatively undeveloped at the time (a condition he has long since remedied), but his tenor voice was strong and rich, loaded with emotion and vibrato. Initially I thought he sounded a bit like Glenn Yarborough, lead singer of a commercial folk group called The Limeliters, but I came to recognize the singular uniqueness of Ken's voice and singing style. Pleased to have Ken as a forty-year friend. Most people on this project selected their song from cassettes or CDs I provided them of home-recordings of anywhere from 5 to 25 songs. Ken signed on to the project before I had any recordings to provide him with, so I sat down with him one evening late last winter and I played him songs and song-fragments, remembered and half-remembered, for maybe an hour and a half, at the end of which he said, "I'd like to do `Ramblin' Woman.'" Good choice, Ken.
Producer's Notes:
Recording Credits:

Our first session recording of "Ramblin' Woman" was done late after a few other sessions with Ken and his guitar in front of one KSM-44 microphone. That recording was pretty sweet, but it is not the version you will hear on the disc. We dedicated a whole evening's session to recording it again. Ken played the guiter part straight through so we could track it separately, and then he laid down three stellar vocal tracks to pick from. The Baghdadddies just happened to be hanging around the studio at the time, so their services were pressed into action to form that background of male voices.

The result is a wonderfully different version of "Ramblin' Woman." It was clear that all involved could picture a ramblin' woman they had known at some moment of their life.

Recorded at Pete Szkolka's Studio

Record Date: 6/25/03


Mixed by Pete Szkolka and Steve Donofrio