Go to sleep, my baby (songs from Suzi's childhood) ~ lullaby
I first met Suzi when she and I were colleagues in a publishing house, where Suzi was a marketing manager. Now she is Head of Communications for Kent Music, and has aligned her career with one of her great enjoyments - music. Suzi was a keen member of our workplace ukulele club ~ an enthusiastic, lunchtime get together to fluff our way through three-chord songs. Here she recalls a song which was very special to her.
The song I remember most affectionately from early childhood is a lullaby my mum sang to me. It was one which my mum's mum sang to her, and it's the song I have sung to my own babies. So it has been loved by at least four generations of my family.
It's called Go to sleep, my baby, close your pretty eyes. It’s not a lullaby I heard from anywhere else, so it really reminds me of my family. Golden Slumbers, Paul McCartney's Blackbird, You are my sunshine are all songs which I've passed on to my own children, but most especially, Go to sleep, my baby.
Go to sleep, my baby, close your pretty eyes, Angels up above you, peeping at my honey from the skies. Great big moon is shining, stars begin to peep.
Time for sleepy heads like you, dear, to go to sleep.
With a bit of online research, we found that the original song was titled The Wyoming Lullaby and was written by the American composer, Gene Williams, aka Lawrence Wright. Its 1920s popularity launched it into public 'ownership'. It has travelled the globe by word of mouth, and for every remembered version, we've found another variation on the words. Here is Suzi's remembered version:
Go to sleep my baby, close your pretty eyes, Angels up above you, peeking at you dearly from the skies, Great big moon is shining, stars begin to peep, Time for little piccadilly to go to sleep,Time to go to sleep.
The song is mentioned with great affection from far and wide ~ Newcastle in the NE of England to Newcastle in New South Wales ~ and always as a song sung by a mother, whose mother sang it to her.
Here is a link to the original sheet music:
In a nice little twist back to Suzi and her ukulele, we found out that Gene Williams wrote another 20s hit called Give me a Ukulele and a Ukulele Baby and here it is: