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 Go to sleep my baby

This is another very short little lullaby which can be found in Peggy Grainger's A Mum's (Mostly Musical) Memories. I cannot recall her singing it in my own toddler and little-boyhood years, it was no doubt too incredibly soppy for the tiny macho-twerp that I once was.
Since writing the above, I have been amazed at the number and variety of versions all you kind people have sent me to be posted. As of June 2004, the following surfers have contributed versions:
Richard Howlett, Anne Prickett, Michele M. Macombe, Ian Brown, Trish Brown, Nina Leach, Marilyn Tippett, Ani Black, Dawn Hulse and Janet Cutmore.
And now dear surfers and contributors, in June 2004, the ultimate lyrics have been sent from North Wales by Lesley Baxendale. All questions are answered: Correspondence is finally closed (or is it!)!!.
Thanks to surfer Karen Williams, correspondence has been re-opened. She has an interesting question regarding this songs popularity and as a result a new webpage Go to sleep my baby: Odds and Ends has opened for business.


On 25.02.2003, surfer Richard Howlett sent me these lyrics which his mother sang to him:

Go to sleep my baby close your pretty eyes,
Angels up above you are peeking through the skies.
Great big moon is shining stars begin to peep,
It's time for little boys (or girls) like CHILD'S NAME to be asleep.

Thanks a lot Richard!

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Anne Prickett wrote on 15th May, 2003 the following:
"My mother sang this to me when I was a child (I was born in 1939) and I have sung it to my children and grandchildren. Our version differs from the one on your site and is :"

Go to sleep my baby close your pretty eyes.
Angels up above you looking at you dearie from the skies.
Great big moon a shinin come now don't you cry,
Time for little Piccaninnies to go to sleep

Go to sleep my baby close your pretty eyes,
Sandman is a comin time to say goodnight.

"I would be interested to learn anything about its origin, Anne Prickett"

Many thanks Anne!

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Yet another version received from Surfer Michele M. Macomber on 28th June 2003. She learned it from her English grandmother who herself learned it in the 1920's. Michele has also written that this lullaby cannot be found in the Recorded Sound Division of the Library of Congress and suspects an erroneous title.
Go to sleep my baby close your pretty eyes.
Angels up above you peeping at my dearie from the skies.
Great big moon am shining stars begin to peep.
It's time for little Piccaninnies to go to sleep.

Many thanks to you too, Michele!

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This is a never ending story! On 8th July, 2003, Ian Brown wrote:
The song "Go to sleep my baby" I now sing to my children. (I am an older parent!) It was sung to me in the 1950's and I see from your site the first date is 1939. The version in the N.E. of England UK is slightly different. Maybe oral tradition changes things. I would be very interested to know more about this lullaby.
Go to sleep my baby close those big blue eyes
Angles up above you peeping through the clearing in the skies.
When the great big moon is shinning, stars begin to peep.
Now it's time for little babies to go to sleep.

Many thanks, Ian!

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Wow, the versions just keep coming! Surferess Trish Brown of Newcastle, NSW, Australia wrote on 9th August, 2003: "The version sung to me as a child (by my Irish Nanna and also by my Mum) goes as follows:
Go to sleep, my baby - close your weary eyes
Angels are above you looking at my baby from the skies
Great big moon is shining, stars peep overhead
And it's time for little Trishie Mary (Insert child's name here) to go to bed!

Many thanks to you, too Trish !

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And just to prove a point, yet another version from Nina Leach [51] who is also looking for the origin of this lullaby. She sent the following on 18th October, 2003:
Go to sleep my baby, close those dreamy eyes.
Angels watching o'er you, guard you pretty baby from the skies.
Great big moon a shinin', stars begin to peep.
Time for little pickaninnies to go to sleep.

Thanks a lot, Nina!

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Surfer Marilyn Tippett sent her version and comments on 15th November, 2003. She wrote:

"I had put the lullaby title "Go to sleep my baby" into Google because my grandfather used to sing it to me, and I have never found anyone else who knew it. Until today! Delighted to hear that others know of it/still sing it as I did to my 2 children (now grown up and in their 20s). I still haven't quite worked out where the song came from in the first instance-sounds like an American southern lullaby to me, but if anyone knows the answer, I'd love to hear it. My version is very slightly different:

Go to sleep my baby, close your weary eyes.
Angels up above you, peeking at you dearie from the skies.
Great big moon am shining, stars begin to peep.
Time for little picanninies to go to sleep.

My grandfather, a Lake District native, served in the Royal Navy as boy sailor in the early years of this century, and sang it to me in the early 1950s . It must have made quite an impression as I have never forgotten it, and he died in 1962. Thanks for throwing at least some light on the mystery for me."

And thanks to you too, Marilyn!

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Ani Black writing on 17th November, 2003 had this to say:
"Hi! I found your site while searching for the lyrics to the lullaby my mum sang to me. She was Scottish, born in 1927 -- I don't know where she learned it, though, because her mother was tone deaf and I very much doubt she sang any lullabies at all (Gran never sang it to me, anyway). The lyrics are different from those posted by other folks, however:
Go to sleep, my baby, close your weary eyes.
Angels up above you, watching pretty babies from the skies.
Great big moon is shining, stars begin to peep.
And it's time for little pickaninnies to go to sleep. Time to go to sleep.

I sing it now to my own wee daughter, in memory of Mum. It works like a charm -- even I can't get through it without yawning! I'm delighted to see that, in its many incarnations, it survives in other families, too."

Many thanks, Ani!

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And not to be left out, Dawn Hulse writing on 23rd February, 2004 tells us:
My grandmother used to sign this lullaby to my father and myself when we were children, her mother sang it to her. Our version goes:
Go to sleep my baby, close your big blue eyes
Angles are above you, peeping at you dearly from the skies
The great big moon is shinning
Stars begin to peep, and now its time for piccaninnies to go to sleep,
Piccaninnies time to go sleep.

My grandmother died last year and I've wanted to know ever since if anyone knows what a piccaninnies actual is. I'm writing a book around this lullaby so its great to know that others have known and loved it as much as me.

Many thanks to you too, Dawn!

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Having not let Dawn out, why should we exclude Janet Cutmore who has her own two-penn'orth!
In March 2004, Janet wrote that her mother used to sing to her when she was a child during the late 1940's and the early 1950's. Her mother was born and grew up in London, but she has no idea where she learned the lullaby.This slightly different (again) and goes as follows:-

Go to sleep my baby, close your pretty eyes,
Angels high above you, smiling at you sweetly from the skies.
Great big moon is shining. Stars begin to peep.
Time for little picaninnies to go to sleep.

Well, indeed and many thanks to you too, Janet!

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"Go to sleep my baby" has been recorded by:
cd15.gif Andrew Stewart on "Hushabye Trilogy" flag15us.gif flag15uk.gif flag15de.gif flag15fr.gif flag15ca.gif