Goodnight Irene

May 24, 2007 at 11:00 pm 11 comments

When I was growing up in Noveleta, Cavite, back home in the Philippines, we had this turntable that played vinyl records.  My father would listen to records of The Platters, The Temptations, The Commodores, etc.  We also had this record of a Tagalog birthday song with a narration at the beginning that goes something like this:  “Ito lang ang tanging maiaalay ko sa iyo.  Maligayang bati sa iyong kaarawan.”  I can’t remember now how exactly it goes and so does the song that follows.  It was such a long time ago.  My father would play that song if we had a birthday in the family.  And that song would wake me up on the morning of my birthday.

Another song I remember is Goodnight Irene.  It brought a smile to my face everytime I heard that song.  That is my name after all.  I also can’t recall now which version of the song my father owned.  When I saw Three Men and A Baby many years ago, I immediately recognized the lullaby that the three men sang to baby Mary.  Hey, that is my song, I thought.  I can’t remember either if they changed the name Irene to Mary.

I found these lyrics a few years ago and only then did I realize that the words are quite grim.  These are probably the same lyrics my father sang when he and my mother separated.  Sad it might be, but the chorus makes for a good lullaby.


Goodnight Irene
by Huddie Ledbetter a.k.a. Leadbelly

Irene good night, Irene good night,
Good night Irene, good night Irene,
I’ll see you in my dreams.

Last Saturday I got married,
Me and my wife settled down,
Now me and my wife we are parted,
I think I’ll go out on the town.

Sometimes I live in the country,
Sometimes I live in town,
Sometimes I take a great notion
To jump in the river and drown.

I love Irene, God knows I do,
I’ll love her ’til the seas run dry,
But if Irene should turn me down,
I’d take morphine and die.

Stop rambling, stop your gambling,
Stop staying out late at night,
Go home to your wife and your family,
Stay there by your fireside bright.


Entry filed under: About Me, Memory Lane, Special Occasions.

Lilacs in bloom Let’s do The Twist

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. zeroimpact  |  May 24, 2007 at 11:06 pm

    Yes, the sound and sight of the yester years that brings back memories
    The lyrics sounds nice, thatnks for sharing, will try to get a hold of the song to listen to it

  • 2. Kyels  |  May 25, 2007 at 4:21 am

    Songs of yesteryears brings back a lot of fond memories to me too. Especially those played by my daddy during our roadtrips.


  • 3. Belle  |  May 25, 2007 at 9:16 am

    when i was listening to the song, my husband at a far corner asked me to turn the volume louder. he listened for a while and said, “that’s enough, i could quite hear it.” he said he heard the song many times before. indeed, it is a sad song. but i enjoyed listening to it and evoked old memories. thanks for sharing.

  • 4. vic  |  May 25, 2007 at 7:46 pm

    well, I grew up with that song, and in the early years became an expression of someone trying to end the conversation or just meaning had enough, instead will just say, Goodnight Irene…try listening to Johny Cash version…

  • 5. Wil  |  May 25, 2007 at 9:32 pm

    drowning and overdosing on morphine? not grim at all. hehe. but I do know that song. It’s a classic. Sometimes it’s just better if we don’t know the lyrics to a song. I can think of some songs right now where the catchy tune doesn’t match the grim lyrics. 🙂

  • 6. Kyels  |  May 25, 2007 at 10:44 pm

    Tita, I’ve posted the photo of comparison between Pi’s palm and the rose.


  • 7. tin  |  May 26, 2007 at 7:16 am

    The lyrics are kinda..sad.

  • 8. bw  |  May 27, 2007 at 6:48 am

    Nice song. My daughter has truned 5. I kinda miss singing the lullaby to her when putting her to sleep 🙂 She can sleep on her own now.

  • 9. eric aka senor enrique  |  May 27, 2007 at 8:00 am

    This song made me think of The Police’s “Every Breath You Take.” Most people think of it as a love song, but it is actually a dark song about stalking. Even Sting was astonished that the public failed to recognize it as such.

  • 10. niceheart  |  May 27, 2007 at 8:41 pm

    Thanks for the comments everyone.

    Yes it is a sad song. And I also notice that there are some songs out there where the catchy tunes don’t match the lyrics.

    Eric, if you haven’t pointed it out, I wouldn’t have known that the lyrics of that song is about stalking.

    Vic, I have heard many versions of Goodnight Irene, but i don’t think I’ve heard Johnny Cash’s version. I tried to search on Youtube but I was not successful.

    BW, that’s the downside of teaching our kids to be independent. We miss the things we do in taking care of them like singing a lullaby. 🙂 My youngest one is 9 but he still likes me to lie down with him until he falls asleep. Of course he could sleep on his own pero naglalambing lang, to which I give in, because he’s my last baby. 🙂

  • 11. Kimberly  |  September 8, 2012 at 4:44 am

    The lullaby from Three Men and a Baby is actually the song Goodnight Sweetheart Goodnight originally recorded by The Spaniels in the 1950s.


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