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The Tramp
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'...I received a letter that contained my destiny...' A haunting historical ballad about Charlie Chaplin.
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Daniel P. Raymer
2005
Raymer Brothers
Sat Nov 25, 2006
Acoustic : Acoustic Folk
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Charts position
» highest in charts:   # 588   (151,504 songs currently listed in Acoustic)
» highest in sub-genre:   # 67   (20,074 songs currently listed in Acoustic > Acoustic Folk)
About the song
The Charlie Chaplin behind the beloved little Tramp of countless films grew up in a hard world of hunger and loss. He used comedy to escape and to bring laughter to millions. This song was written methodically for a songwriting workshop at UCLA taught by Grammy-winning songwriter Buddy Kaye. It was done with historical research and an outline before attempting the lyrics. Then the music was done in my usual bumbling "that sounds OK" approach.
Lyrics
Chorus:
A gentleman, a poet and a dreamer
Adventurer and shy romantic schemer
A small moustache declares that he's a dandy
He'll tip his hat and rob a child of candy
The Tramp

I was born an April morn' in 1889
Mother's skill and lack of money
made the theater mine
Five's the age I took the stage
To make them laugh and cry
Mother's voice was failing
I could not wonder why
To the Lambeth workhouse we did go
Soon I left to join a traveling show
While I became Karno's protegee
Mother's mind slipped away

Chorus:

I received a letter that contained my destiny
Making me an offer with the Keystone Comedy
In LA, Mack Sennet said we need a gag or two
Put some makeup on for laughs - anything will do
Baggy pants and big shoes, coat too tight
Mustache to age the neophyte
Character came as the cloths were worn
When I walked on stage he was fully born

(Chorus melody:)
He enters left and trips across a lady
He turns and tips his hat to make apology
Behind the camera comes laughter's outroar
He trips and tips his hat towards a cuspidor
The gathering crowd now laughing loud before him
Messengers of millions who'll adore him
The Tramp

Copyright C 2005 by D. Raymer. All Rights Reserved