Down Where The Drunkards Roll


I think I’m probably most familiar with Richard Thompson doing this and it first appeared on his album with Linda, I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight, but Jon remembers Adrian Matthews, “Adrian from FSC taught me this at an impressionable age (he also taught me Prickle-Eye Bush). Bellowhead used to do a pretty mean version too but it got lost somewhere along the way.” You’ll find this on Richard’s site here.


You can buy the September digital album now from all good download stores:


33 Responses to “Down Where The Drunkards Roll”

  1. Muzza says:

    I liked this one……………..the tempo and the tune exhude melancholy……….
    you can almost see the unfortunates slowly, rolling around……… and in my (limited)experience….no matter how “well oiled” a person is…….they always want to join in the chorus with an almost indistinguishable muttering.

  2. Nick Passmore says:

    I’ve said it before many times, and will say it again now: only a bold man/woman or a fool takes on a Richard Thompson song, especially one like this that has already had some pretty bad cover versions. However this version is just fantastic, bringing out all of the song’s subtlety and brilliance. Bravo, Mr Boden!

  3. SRD says:

    Ahhh, a fine version which brings back memories of Farningham Folk Club, Skinner’s Rats leading the club with the chorus resounding down the High Street.

  4. Phil says:

    You are Tony Rose and I claim my £5! (If only…)

    Works well unaccompanied, too – even in a pub which fits the lyrics.

  5. Mick Jenx says:

    In a body of work as distinguished as RT’s it is remarkable that the ‘Bright Lights’ album still stands out, but pretty much any song from it would be a fitting addition to Jon’s roll call of the folk canon.

  6. Jane Ramsden says:

    Brilliant song, brilliantly sung and brilliant accompaniment! I think Phil is right and it would work equally well unaccompanied, but oh, it is melancholy!

    Anyone wanting a change of mood and tempo, and a second song for today, click on the Propaganda Online link to the left here and scroll down to track of the week which is Fay Hield’s The Huntsman. Cracking! As usual, I had not paid much attention to the links until today. My loss to have missed Fay recently at Otley Folk Club, but signing up to Prop now!

    As an aside, we haven’t had a Roud reference since Rigs of Time, but I’ve just bought a book called The English Year by a Steve Roud. Since coming on here, I think I need to learn some stuff! This is a month-by-month guide to English customs and festivals, from May Day to Mischief Night, shortly upon us. Anyone know if there is a connection? Surely must be!

  7. Nick says:

    Bellowhead’s performance of this at Sidmouth Festival 2004 stands as the finest renditions I’ve heard at one of the best gigs I’ve ever witnessed. If it goes back in the band’s repertoire I will not complain!

    Thanks for putting this song in.



  8. StephenH says:

    One of my (many) favourite RT songs – and another excellent rendition from Mr. Boden. thanks.

  9. Brian says:

    Jane. You should also read Ronald Hutton’s “The Stations of the Sun”-a real masterpiece.

  10. Jane Ramsden says:

    Thank you, Brian! Duly noted!

  11. Jane Ramsden says:

    Thank you, Brian! Duly ordered off Amazon!

  12. John Bryson says:

    Another great song beautifully sung – a pleasure coming on this site.
    To support Jane re the English Year, I found the book 2 or 3 years ago, and it is a great guide (encyclopedia?) to various events/traditions.
    I don’t work for a book company (honest) but it’s worth a read.

  13. Malcolm says:

    A brilliant song, well sung. I recommend listening to Dave Burland’s rendition of this song on his album “His Master’s Choice”, an album dedicated to the songs of Richard Thompson. Recorded in 1992 on the The Road Goes On Forever label.

  14. Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    By hook or by crook I’ll be the first to comment this time round. Ref Richard Thompson…I hope that you all caught the ‘History of Fairport Convention’ that was on BBC4 earlier in the week………enjoyed this song yet again….Hick…..pass the cider!

  15. Pewter says:

    Sure did Muzza! Excellent Fairport concert followed it too.

    Jon, your version of this is brilliant. Please fit it in the Bellowhead set somewhere on the tour.

  16. Phil says:

    I did this in the early days of 52 Folk Songs, unaccompanied:

    Down where the drunkards roll

    I’m glad I chose a relatively distinctive name for my project, incidentally – googling
    song name 52
    will generally bring up my version of a song (if I’ve done it!).

  17. Diana says:

    A rather plaintive song but lovely – enjoyed the singing and the accompaniment.

    Muzza and Pewter – gentlemen it is nice to see you are still commenting – I have missed you!

  18. Jane Ramsden says:

    Hello all! I caught the Fairport/Thompson programmes too. Excellent.

    Off to dentist again to have temporary filling temporarily replaced – doh! Kitten re-homing yesterday. Am now angsting about whether will be alright ’til bedded in. Double doh!

    Keep calm… and keep on folking… regardless…

  19. Muzza(NW Surrey-UK) says:

    @Diana……………Young Pewt and old Muzza……always lurking m’dear!…….
    now angsting with Jane until she gets that tooth fixed….and I’ll bet she ends up with Porky Pye…what are the odds eh!

  20. Diana says:

    @Muzza: I believe Porkie Pye (now chirstened Pia by new owners-to-be) has left home for new destination. Do hope Jane’s tooth has been fixed – she saw the dentist yesterday afternoon so hope all is well. Glad to see you and Pewt are still here my dearie.

  21. Old Muzza(NW Surrey.UK says:

    How is Pia these days(after she was chirstened Diana)……….does Jane’s tooth still hurt……..we need to be told

  22. Linda says:

    Memories of Bellowhead farewell tour….

  23. John Bryson says:

    I was at the Leicester concert in November 2015 when they closed with this – a super version of a great song

  24. Linda says:

    memories down Bellowhead road for an hour or two

  25. John Bryson says:

    Linda, if you would like to stir memoriies of Bellowhead, Faustus are performing this November (line up includes Benji Kirkpatrick and Paul Sartin), while Jon Boden and the Remnant Strings are touring in March

  26. Linda says:

    Thanks John Tickets bought!

  27. Linda says:

    Jon and the Remnants touring again this November with a new CD l seats booked CD ordered…
    Orders for CD via Jon’s website and Hudson records

  28. Linda says:

    Believe Jon is releasing the follow up to Songs from the Floodplain and Afterglow next year something to look forward to plus Leveret have just released a double CD Variations Live..available to order on their site. Piers Cawley does a nice version of this song.

  29. OldMuzza (NWSurrey UK) says:

    Lindy Lou….Oi cheeky pops…..jumping forward four days is not cricket…beehaaaave
    (Is that Rita Coolidge I can hear singing “you’re so vain…you think that this song is about you!”….hic !)

  30. Linda says:

    Seem to do CD adverts in the comments to this one so here goes Spiers and Boden latest CD
    Fallow Ground on sale and its brilliant. Nice to have the duo back….and yes I still love this song

  31. John Bryson says:

    Hello Linda,

    Fallow Ground purchased and played, great to have them back as a duo and it is super stuff

  32. Linda says:

    Reading the comments there were lots of CD tours etc going on. This song always reminds me of the farewell tour and listening to Piers Cawley sing this at one of the after show sessions. I must mention the sad passing of Paul Sartin he will be so missed by all who had the pleasure of hearing him….R.I.P.

  33. Linda says:

    Sad comments from last year…….

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