A Drunkard's Child
Jimmie Rodgers Lyrics


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My father is a drunkard my mother she is dead
And I am just an orphan child no place to lay my head
All through this world I wander they drive me from their door
Someday I'll find a welcome on heaven's golden shore

Now if to me you'll listen I'll tell a story sad
How drinking rum and the gambling hell have stole away my dad
My mother she is in heaven where God and the angels smile
And now I know she's watching her lonely orphan child

We were once so happy and had a happy home
Till daddy went to drinking rum and then he gambled some
He left my darling mother she died of a broken heart
And as I tell my story I can see your teardrops start

Don't weep for me and mother although I know it is sad
But try to find someone to cheer and save my poor lonely dad




I'm awful cold and hungry she closed her eyes and sighed
Then those who heard her story knew the orphan child had died

Overall Meaning

Jimmie Rodgers's song "A Drunkard's Child" is a melancholic ballad that tells the story of a young girl who has become an orphan because of her father's addiction to drinking and gambling. The opening lines of the lyrics immediately paint a picture of a troubled family, with a drunkard father and a mother who has passed away. The girl is left with nowhere to go and is continually turned away from everywhere she seeks shelter.


The lyrics convey the girl's experience of being rejected and abandoned in a world that offers her no welcome. However, amidst her struggles, she holds out hope of finding a home in heaven where she will be accepted. What makes the lyrics even more poignant is that the girl relates the story of her family's disintegration and her mother's death with a sense of acceptance and resilience. She reveals how drinking and gambling ruined her family and led to her mother's untimely death. The girl's acceptance of the sad fate of her mother and herself, and her willingness to embrace the future with hope and optimism, make this song a moving reflection on the consequences of addiction.


Overall, "A Drunkard's Child" is a heartbreaking song that tells a powerful story of family tragedy and loss, and it underscores the human cost of addiction. The girl's story is a reminder that for every addiction, there is a family behind it that is being affected.


Line by Line Meaning

My father is a drunkard my mother she is dead
My father is an alcoholic and my mother has passed away


And I am just an orphan child no place to lay my head
As a result of their circumstances, there is no home that will take me in


All through this world I wander they drive me from their door
I am constantly on the move but I am rejected by most places I go to


Someday I'll find a welcome on heaven's golden shore
I hope to find a peaceful resting place in the afterlife


Now if to me you'll listen I'll tell a story sad
If you will lend me your ears, I have a tragic tale to share


How drinking rum and the gambling hell have stole away my dad
My father's addiction to rum and gambling ruined our family


My mother she is in heaven where God and the angels smile
My mother has passed on to the afterlife and is in a better place


And now I know she's watching her lonely orphan child
I believe my mother is watching over me from beyond


We were once so happy and had a happy home
Our family used to be happy and content with each other


Till daddy went to drinking rum and then he gambled some
However, my father's addiction to drinking and gambling caused our family to fall apart


He left my darling mother she died of a broken heart
My father abandoned my mother, and she eventually passed away due to the heartbreak


And as I tell my story I can see your teardrops start
As I recount my tale, I can tell it has touched your heart and made you emotional


Don't weep for me and mother although I know it is sad
Please do not cry for me or my mother, even though our situation is heartbreaking


But try to find someone to cheer and save my poor lonely dad
Instead, I hope you can help find someone to support and save my lonely father


I'm awful cold and hungry she closed her eyes and sighed
Unfortunately, I am currently in a state of despair and feel lost without a family


Then those who heard her story knew the orphan child had died
Sadly, after recounting my story, it was clear to those who heard that I had passed away




Writer(s): Jimmie Rodgers, Andrew Jenkins

Contributed by Xavier M. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Comments from YouTube:

Joan Marie LeLacheur-landry

Oh My dear Dad. I found your old song..I cannot believe it.. He use to sing only the first few verses.. May God keep him in mind during the resurrection time.. How I miss him so.. In memory of my dad.. John James lelacheur.. R.I.P. Love Joaniexxxxooo

Randy Linkert

Hello Joan

Nate Cheney

Beautiful song. Thank god it's here for everyone to listen. Along with all his songs.

Gerald McIvor

This brings back a flood of warm memories of my Father who used to sing and pick this song in the classic Jimmie Rodgers style.....Thank you for posting this for everyones enjoyment...

USN Corpsman

Same with me. My Dad was 10 years old and his Dad was a minor and passed away in 1929. My Dad had all this old music.

Billy Murray Fan

This is great music,but music of the 21th century is not

glorious leasi

Reminds me of my grandma she used to always sing this song 😭😭❤️ thank you for this 🥰

GravityAngel

0:15 My father is a drunkard my mother she is dead
And I am just an orphan child no place to lay my head
All through this world I wander they drive me from their door
Someday I'll find a welcome on heaven's golden shore

0:55 Now if to me you'll listen I'll tell a story sad
How drinking rum and the gambling hell have stole away my dad
My mother is in heaven where God and the angels smile
And now I know she's watching her lonely orphan child

1:46 We all were once so happy and had a happy home
Till daddy went to drinking rum and then he gambled some
He left my darling mother she died of a broken heart
And as I tell my story I see your teardrops start

2:25 Don't weep for me and mother although I know it is sad
But try to get someone to cheer and save my poor lonely dad
I'm awful cold and hungry she closed her eyes and sighed
Then those who heard her story knew the orphan child had died

Mark D. Akers

They played this song in "That Evening Sun" - a GREAT movie!!

Primrose Haran

Fantastic song and singer thanks for this great post

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