Sing me a Lullaby

Why is that lullabies have such enormous power to soothe?  I have sung lullabies to my children since they were tiny babies and it is such a special time, just before sleep, all warm and quiet and cuddled up.  I remember my grandmother singing this one:

Go to sleep my baby
Close your pretty eyes
Angels round about you
Peeping at you from the skies
Great big moon am shining
Stars begin to peep
Time for little picaninnies to go to sleep
Time for little picaninnies to go to sleep

I have never heard this song anywhere else and I wonder if any of you are familiar with it?  My grandmother was from Lancashire and her family worked in the cotton mills and we have often wondered whether, with its talk of ‘moon am shining’ and ‘picaninnies’ it might have come across from the West Indies.

However, this is my absolute favourite lullaby of all time and I still sing it to both my boys, despite the fact that Boy the Elder is speeding towards 14.  It is sung by Harry Nilsson and is on his astonishingly beautiful album ‘A Little Touch of Schmilsson in the Night’ which came out in 1973.  It is a collection of old ballads given a big smoochy orchestra, generously topped with his sleepy, sensual vocals.  Wrap your ears round this:-

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53 Responses to Sing me a Lullaby

  1. wartimehousewife June 4, 2013 at 23:16 #

    Nice to hear from you again Alison. I will definitely look this up as I really like the sound of it. Maybe if it was Creole it had some pirate connection? I’d love to hear the tune….

  2. Claire Baxter October 9, 2013 at 22:37 #

    My Nan is from the East End of London and would sing to me in the 80′s:

    Go to sleep my baby
    Close your little eyes
    Angels up above you, peering at you deary from the skies
    Great big moon keeps shining
    Stars begin to peep
    Time for little girls/boys like Claire (child’s name) to go to sleep

    Makes me feel warm and safe singing it :)

  3. wartimehousewife October 9, 2013 at 22:47 #

    Welcome Claire. Isn’t it interesting how these songs turn up everywhere and they continue to be comforting as long as we remember.
    I still sing it to my ten year old except that we have to sing endless variations eg the cat, his favourite bear, the hamster etc etc.
    Hope you keep reading.

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