GOODNIGHT IRENE

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
GOODNIGHT IRENE
“Goodnight, Irene” or “Irene, Goodnight,” is a 20th century American folk standard. The
lyrics tell how the singer lost his love through “rambling and gambling”. He contemplates
suicide in the famous line “Sometimes I take a great notion to jump in the river and
drown”. The final verse urges the listener to “go home to your wife and family”. In
addition to many recorded versions, it is also a favorite camp and fireside song. Some
sources, including blues scholar Paul Oliver, claim the version popularized by Lead Belly
in the 1940s, which he titled just “Irene,” is based on the 1886 pop song by Gussie L.
Davis. Lead Belly himself said he had learned it from his uncle. It was a US #1 hit for
folk group The Weavers in 1950. It has since been recorded by a number of artists, in
pop, country, folk and rock styles. In 2002, Lead Belly’s 1936 Library of Congress
recording received a Grammy Hall of Fame Award.
Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
I’ll see you in my dreams
Last saturday night I got married
Me and my love settled down
Now me and my love are parted
I’m gonna take another stroll downtown
Irene goodnight, Irene goodnight
Goodnight Irene, goodnight Irene
I’ll see you in my dreams
Sometimes I live in the country
Sometimes I live in the town
Sometimes I have a great notion
To jump In the river and drown
Irene goodnight, Irene good night
Good night Irene, good night Irene
I’ll see you in my dreams
Ramblin’ stop your gamblin’
Stop stayin’ out late at night
Go home to your wife and your family
Sit down by the fireside bright
Irene goodnight, Irene good night
Good night Irene, good night Irene
I’ll see you in my dreams