Starry Night For a Ramble

by Phil Berthoud | In the Footsteps of the Vagabond

Listen to an excerpt of Phil Berthoud’s arrangement of A Starry Night for a Ramble, from the album In the Footsteps of the Vagabond – inspired by John Bradburne

“This album is inspired by my Godfather, the extraordinary John Bradburne.  The album features traditional music from places that were significant in John’s life – Cumbria, Norfolk and Devon.  There is also a distinct Zimbabwean flavour to the music as this is where John spent many years caring for the patients at Mutemwa Leprosy Centre.”

The music is arranged and performed by Phil Berthoud, with help from his wife Mahrey (vocals, recorder), son Louis (drums and percussion), daughter Rhianna (artwork) and her partner Billy Tucker (mixing and mastering).

100% of profits go to Mutemwa Leprosy Settlement

Track listing of In the Footsteps of the Vagabond

  1. The King’s Head Hornpipe (The King’s Head Hornpipe; The Elterwater Hornpipe)
  2. Skirwith, Cumberland (John Bradburne poem set to Untitled Air from Cumbria)
  3. A Starry Night for a Ramble (The Old Garden Gate; Starry Night for a Ramble)
  4. Seventeen Come Sunday
  5. Woodland Flowers (Woodland Flowers; The Ulverstone Volunteers)
  6. Cumberland Nelly
  7. Bell Ringing
  8. The Perfect Cure (The Perfect Cure; The Helm Wind; Trip to the Lakes)
  9. The Wanderer
  10. Adam Lay y Bounden
  11. Bold Carter

Skirwith, Cumberland – poem written by John Bradburne 1949


  • Phil Berthoud – Guitars, Fiddle, Mandolin, Bass, Harmonium, Keyboards
  • Mahrey Berthoud – Vocals, Recorder
  • Louis Berthoud – Drums and Percussion
  • With John Bradburne’s voice recorded in Mutemwa featured on track 4
  • Cover design and artwork – Rhianna Berthoud
  • Mixed and mastered by – Billy Tucker


A Starry Night for a Ramble – A popular old tune, which was collected from Mr Newstead of Wickmere, Norfolk in 1932, was also mentioned in the autobiography of inveterate poacher Frederick Rolfe “I Walked by Night”.  Rolfe lived in the King’s Lynn area of Norfolk most of his life and he mentions the following words to the song:

A starry night for a ramble, in the flowery dell,

Through the bush and bramble, kiss and never tell.

I like to take my sweetheart out (“Of course you do”, says she)

And softly whisper in her ear, “How dearly I love thee”.

When you picture to yourself a scene of such delight,

Who would not take a ramble on a starry night.

There are versions of this song popular in Australia.  The version I’ve used is the Norfolk version, which is in G major.  But I’ve arranged it in E minor, which I think gives the tune a more night-like character.