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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
Raymer Brothers
Sat Nov 25, 2006
Acoustic : Acoustic Folk
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Charts position
» highest in charts:   # 588   (150,440 songs currently listed in Acoustic)
» highest in sub-genre:   # 67   (19,765 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.
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


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