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My old man was vaudevillian, his wife his vaudeville bride
Who lived to see their sons grow up then died at forty-five
They raised three sons of equal height, of equal strength and grace
The youngest followed his vaudeville folks into a sudden grave
Well the second lived to rue the day he burnt the snakeberry tree
For money grew upon the leaves which he would never see
And I just lie here in wait for the bed to swallow me
And I that I can offer now are the these words of my ancestry

Don’t die ragged
Don’t die sad
Don’t do the Vaudeville Rag

My mother’s hands were coathangers, my father’s jars of jam
Rhubarb, raspberry, apple and plum, just like his old man’s
The brothers three alive were we, our mother knew no rules
We’d crack the whip and drink the spit of humbleberry roots

We’d listen to the rhyme
We’d listen to the roll
We’d listen to that vaudeville moan

I stare at people’s hands but they never look the same
And fish swim in barrels filled with water from the rain
Now with nothing in my arms, my family name upon my back
I search for lost meanings in the word of the vaudeville rag

Don’t die ragged
Don’t die sad
Don’t do the Vaudeville Rag


from Five Miles to Vaudeville, released May 17, 2013
Mark Baker - Vocals, Banjo
Edward Tapceanu - Double Bass
Cathal O'Leary - Drums
Brian Cannon - Violin
Chris Rafter - Trumpet
Pierpaolo Vitale - Piano, Vocals
Brian Lynch - Percussion



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Saint John the Gambler Dublin, Ireland

Saint John the Gambler is an exciting original Gypsy Swing band with a dance-inducing spirit. This Dublin-based band have melded sounds from by-gone eras and distant lands with modern songwriting taking in influences from Old-Time Jazz, Klezmer, Latin and Vaudeville to create a bluesy gypsy piracy. ... more

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