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Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine (Jim Friedman)

SingsIrish Songs 14 Nov 08 - 12:52 AM
Jim Dixon 15 Nov 08 - 02:17 PM
GUEST 15 Dec 08 - 01:29 AM
SingsIrish Songs 17 Dec 08 - 01:00 AM
GUEST,Mark 18 Dec 08 - 11:50 AM
Joe Offer 19 Dec 08 - 01:46 AM
SingsIrish Songs 21 Dec 08 - 11:47 PM
GUEST,Mark 22 Dec 08 - 04:15 PM
GUEST,Mark 22 Dec 08 - 04:19 PM
GUEST,John in Florida 24 Dec 08 - 10:13 AM
GUEST,Mark 26 Dec 08 - 12:30 AM
SingsIrish Songs 29 Dec 08 - 12:50 AM
GUEST,Mark 29 Dec 08 - 12:50 PM
maeve 30 Dec 08 - 10:28 AM
GUEST,Mark 02 Jan 09 - 12:40 PM
maeve 03 Jan 09 - 02:05 AM
GUEST,Krystal 28 Aug 09 - 11:03 PM
GUEST,Sharon Boucher 22 Dec 10 - 02:24 AM
GUEST,Guest Ted 12 Nov 11 - 09:20 AM
GUEST,Bill 28 Dec 11 - 03:10 PM
GUEST,Bill 05 May 12 - 04:41 PM
GUEST,MikeK 06 May 12 - 10:30 AM
GUEST 02 Aug 12 - 03:35 PM
GUEST,Orioles guy 20 Dec 15 - 08:37 PM
GUEST 28 Sep 17 - 08:03 PM
GUEST,leeneia 01 Oct 17 - 03:00 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: SingsIrish Songs
Date: 14 Nov 08 - 12:52 AM

I am looking for the lyrics to Sweetest Dreams Be Thine composed by Jim Friedman and recorded by Theodore Bikel & The Pennywhistlers on the album Songs of the Earth.

First line: Shalom lecha - may peace be with thee, ahati - oh baby mine

Any help would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Mary


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 15 Nov 08 - 02:17 PM

Dave Milgram also sings SWEETEST DREAMS BE THINE on his album "Just Before the Helpers Come," 2004. I was able to transcribe this much from a sound sample at Allmusic.com:

They say a star shines bright in the heavens to glorify the new-born king,
But sleep, my joy; let nothing destroy thy blissful slumbering.
Loo-doodle-oodle-oo-doo, (etc.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Dec 08 - 01:29 AM

A woman from Israel helped me translate it from the recording I have. This is what she came up with:

SWEETEST DREAMS BE THINE

Shalom, lecha, may peace be with Thee, ahavti, O Baby mine,
Alma k'dosha, alma k'dosha, may sweetest dreams be thine.

Lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu. . .

They say a star shines bright in the heavens to glorify a newborn King.
But sleep, my Joy, let no one destroy Thy peaceful slumbering.

With gems and gold, with myrrh and frankincense,
All in praise came travelers three.
I wonder why, I wonder why they came in praise of Thee.


(Shalom lecha = peace to you; Ahavti = You have my love; Alma k'dosha = virgin holy)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: SingsIrish Songs
Date: 17 Dec 08 - 01:00 AM

Thank you for the help on this one! What beautiful lyrics...

Mary


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Subject: THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 18 Dec 08 - 11:50 AM

Oh my... how BEAUTIFUL!
Okay, I have to tell this story to someone, so it might as well be a bunch of strangers here. :)
I grew up listening to a Christmas album called "A Very Mery Christmas", by Grants deparment stores, and I pretty much always used to skip this track. But recently, I succeeded in tracking down those songs, and by far, the one that gave me the most goosebumps was this one.
First of all, being a gentile Christian, nobody in my house knew Hebrew from Shebrew (hey, that's good - I just made that up). But since those days, I've gone and married a wonderful Jewish girl, and, well, you get the idea. So you can imagine the joy I felt to hear that first word "Shalom". Even my wife was pleasantly surprised to hear it.
But "Shalom" was all I could manage. I even tried enlisting the help of our cantor, who got as far as "shalom lecha, ahavti", but couldn't pick out the rest. So I just assumed it was something that meant "may sweetest dreams be thine". But how stunningly beautiful that it would be "Alma k'dosha"! It brought tears to my eyes!
Also, I don't know if you all realize this, but the singer (Theodore Bikel) is not only a very accomplished musician and singer, but also a very committed Jew and Zionist. Now maybe he wouldn't have recorded a song like that today, or maybe he would have, but either way, WOW!
Anyway, once again - THANK YOU! And Merry Christmas!


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Subject: ADD: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine (Jim Friedman)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 19 Dec 08 - 01:46 AM

I'd agree with the lyrics posted above, but here's the layout of the song with all the choruses and repeats.

SWEETEST DREAMS BE THINE
(Jim Friedman)

Shalom, lecha, may peace be with Thee, ahavti, O Baby mine,
Alma k'dosha, alma k'dosha, may sweetest dreams be thine.

Lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu. . .

They say a star shines bright in the heavens to glorify a newborn King.
But sleep, my Joy, let no one destroy Thy peaceful slumbering.

Lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu. . .

With gems and gold, with myrrh and frankincense,
All in praise came travelers three.
I wonder why, I wonder why they came in praise of Thee.

Lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu. . .

Shalom, lecha, may peace be with Thee, ahavti, O Baby mine,
Alma k'dosha, alma k'dosha, may sweetest dreams be thine.

Lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu, lu. . .


(Shalom lecha = peace to you; Ahavti = You have my love; Alma k'dosha = virgin holy)

From the Theodore Bikel recording, Songs of the Earth, originally on Elektra and reissued on CD by Collectors' Choice Music.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: SingsIrish Songs
Date: 21 Dec 08 - 11:47 PM

Thanks for sharing that Mark!

OK, I am going to date myself...it must have been over 20 years ago when I was a "wee girl" listening to Christmas music on the radio as I opened my gifts. I was old enough to work a tape recorder and would tape my favorite songs. This particular song was one that was played quite frequently that Christmas season and I absolutely loved it! The melody is quite clear on the recording but not having any knowledge of Hebrew I was lost for those lyrics. Being a Christian/Catholic and knowing that Jesus grew up in a Jewish home just makes this song make so much sense!!! (If you know what I mean..the combination of the Christmas story and the Hebrew lyrics mixed in..)

I'll definitely have to listen to more of Theodore Bikel's recordings! I always remembered him only for Sound of Music!

Merry Christmas!

Mary


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 04:15 PM

Hi Mary,
Yes, I certainly know exactly what you mean. The use of Hebrew in the lyrics is just beautifully poetic. "Almah k'dosha, may sweetest dreams be thine". Awesome.
That's very interesting - and cool - that you remember it being on the radio. I don't know if you picked this up from my little story or not, but there is a remarkable synchronization between your posting this query on November 14 and my looking for it just a few weeks later. I can't explain what led me to track down those "Grants" songs exactly this year, but not any year before this, roughly 40 years after the songs were released, but I'm pretty sure it is not an accident. For me, it is a confirmation from God that He has been guiding my steps since I was born.
I mean, think about it - this song has been around for 40 years, and yet there is no place on the internet where you can find the lyrics. And so at the exact time in history when I would happen to come across this obscure song from my youth, you not only happen to launch a similar query - the only one on the Google-able internet, mind you - but some anonymous "woman from Israel" happens to come to the rescue with the answers. Really - just think how many billions of people have come and gone since 1965, and not one of them happens to inquire into this song in all that time, but you and I happen to seek after it simultaneously in 2008.
I don't know about you, but I'm going to pay close attention for what this could mean.
Here's a scripture verse for you...
(Luke 2:19) But Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart.
So just in case nobody else tells you this, dear Mary, please allow me to let you know - God loves you, sister!
Merry Christmas!
Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 22 Dec 08 - 04:19 PM

Oh, by the way... I told my mother about this, and passed along the words of the song to her. She immediately suggested that it sounded like it could have been the thoughts of Joseph, Mary's husband, as he was observing the birth of Jesus. I guess I'll have to ask Theodore Bikel next time I see him (haha), but I think that's a very beautiful thought indeed. He is addressing the newborn little baby with "ahavti", and his beloved Mary as "alma k'dosha". It certainly could be. I mean, who else but Joseph would have been in that room and known that Mary was indeed a virgin?
Sweet. :)
Okay - Merry Christmas.
Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,John in Florida
Date: 24 Dec 08 - 10:13 AM

Hi All

And thanks for clarifying the lyrics to this beautiful song. I also grew up listening to "A Very Merry Christmas" -- and wish it were released on CD! -- and this song always struck me as especially lovely and moving. I got the "Shalom lecha"-- but the "Ahavti" and "alma k'dosha" escaped me. But I agree, it made it both deeply appropriate and beautiful to have the Hebrew lyrics, even without knowing their meaning. Knowing now makes the song even more special. (I should also note the exquisite instrumentation of the song... this album had several extremely unusual gems, this song being one; others being Simon & Garfunkel's "Star Carol", the splendid Johann Sebastian Bach Chorale "Der Tag der ist so freudenreich", and Andre Previn's delectable fantasy on "God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen". As well as Johnny Mathis' splendid "O Holy Night" and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir and Philadelphia Orchestra's monumental "Hallelujah" Chorus.)

Shalom lecha!
John in FL


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 26 Dec 08 - 12:30 AM

Excellent, John! Shalom lecha to you, chaver! :)
Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: SingsIrish Songs
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 12:50 AM

I haven't been on Mudcat since my last post to this thread.

I hope everyone had a wonderful Christmas and will also have a Splendid New Year! Wow! Just days away!

Mark, I had never given it much thought as to "who" was the speaker in the song. Your mother's thoughts that it might be Joseph seem very plausible. It definitely makes sense--makes the song make a lot more sense! Who knew music could be so complex!

I've wondered about the Hebrew lyrics of this song for YEARS and for some reason started searching for it again this year. When I found a hit on the net for Theodore Bikel's recording and the name of the album, I felt I might be getting somewhere! At least I had a correct title for the song.

It is quite interesting and remarkably coincidental that you had started doing searches for this song at this same time too. God certainly works in mysterious ways! (Must be a Mudcatter as well! LOL)

John in Florida, thanks for mentioning that album and other songs on it. I am not familiar with it but will have to see if I can locate it (at the library or somewhere).

Again, I hope everyone has a terrific New Year!

Mary


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 29 Dec 08 - 12:50 PM

Hi again,

Okay - one last thing to note here. I had actually written to the contact listed on Theodore Bikel's web site, to ask about the context of this beautiful song. And believe it or not, someone actually wrote back! Here is what they wrote:

Jim Friedman - who wrote this song - and Mr. Bikel both Jews. They relate to the story of the birth of Jesus as allegory and have great respect the tradition. The intriguing notion was that Mary, singing a lullaby to the Christ child, would be singing in the language of the land and of the time - Aramaic.

So there you go - Theodore Bikel says it was supposed to be sung from the point of view of Mary (but probably not the "Mary" from this forum, hehe.)

That is a very beautiful notion indeed. The entire song seems very sweet from that point of view. Of course, it raises a few questions, like:
  • Why is Mary singing to the "holy virgin" (alma k'dosha)?
  • Wouldn't Mary have known "why they came in praise of thee"?
But the parts about her singing to her sleeping baby, and about her asking about the star shining "bright in the heavens" are very sweet indeed.

By the way - I may be reading into it, but it seems that the opening comment about Jesus being "allegory" speaks volumes. It's a little heartbreaking.

Well, anyway - Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

Peace,
Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: maeve
Date: 30 Dec 08 - 10:28 AM

I love this lullabye and am thankful for the lyrics and information various posters have offered in this thread.

One question, though. Guesat, Mark quoted the Bikel site response to his query as saying,

"The intriguing notion was that Mary, singing a lullaby to the Christ child, would be singing in the language of the land and of the time - Aramaic."

Are the non-English words Aramaic?

Thank you,

maeve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Mark
Date: 02 Jan 09 - 12:40 PM

Hi Maeve,

I wondered the same thing. I don't know much about either language, but as I understand it, Aramaic has some similarities to Hebrew. My guess was that the words shalom, lecha, ahavti, alma, and k'dosha are all Aramaic words that are close to the Hebrew. The other possibility is that the person who replied to me (not necessarily Bikel himself) simply made an error, and the intent of the original author was indeed to employ Hebrew.

I did write a follow-up reply to the email response I received last week, inquiring about this very thing, but I haven't received a reply. If I ever do, I'll be sure to post it here, since we seem to be the only people in the world who are captivated by the song. :)

We'll have to make sure to look each other up when we get to God's Kingdom and this whole plan all makes sense. ;)

Have a happy new year!

Mark


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: maeve
Date: 03 Jan 09 - 02:05 AM

Thank you, Mark. I love this song.

When I was little, I wanted to learn Aramaic. Somewhere, I have a "Teach Yourself" tape for it. I'll have to dig it out and compare it to Hebrew. It is minimal in scope, but it would be fun to give it a listen once again.

See you yonder.

maeve


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Krystal
Date: 28 Aug 09 - 11:03 PM

Like most of you I grew up listening to the album and truly loved this song.    I really, really want a copy of the sheet music as I want to sing it in church or have my husband sing it. Any suggestions as to where to look or search for a copy?


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Sharon Boucher
Date: 22 Dec 10 - 02:24 AM

I found the Grant's album online. It is available in CD or MP3 download, and some vinyl. If anyone wants the info, please email me directly at: stratqueen@gmail.com


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Guest Ted
Date: 12 Nov 11 - 09:20 AM

Like a few of you, I've been searching for years for this song from the W T Grants album, each year as I design a float for a holiday parade, and each year without success. But as if there were Divine Intervention on something so trivial, this year our float has special meaning and a purpose beyond holiday entertainment, and I found both a "clean" recording on Youtube AND the lyrics here. It is difficult for me to listen without tearing up a little. Perhaps part for my yesteryears, and part for the beautiful story told by the song.

Thank you all, and may sweetest dreams be thine.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 28 Dec 11 - 03:10 PM

Thanks all!

I found this:

lu, a particle that denotes potentiality, usually supplicatory, such as: if only, would it be that, may it be - in translations this word is often represented by 'Oh! May it be that...' More streamlined translations would probably choose something like 'Oh, I wish that...'


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Bill
Date: 05 May 12 - 04:41 PM

Thought I'd take a stab at answering Marks questions (from 29 Dec 08):

1) Why is Mary singing to the "holy virgin" (alma k'dosha)?

The "virgin holy" refers to the person who is speaking. I think the verses are Mary talking to Jesus and the chorus is the lullaby she sings.

2) Wouldn't Mary have known "why they came in praise of thee"?

Yes. But an adult will often playfully ask a question to which he/she knows the answer when talking to a child (e.g., a mother might say, "Who's that?" while pointing to her husband). It's another sweet, mother-and-child moment in the song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,MikeK
Date: 06 May 12 - 10:30 AM

A YouTube search (via Google) for "Sweetest Dreams Be Thine" returns a considerable number of hits, the first one being the Theodore Bikel version mentioned above.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Aug 12 - 03:35 PM

Thanks all of you!I have enjoyed reading about how this simple little ditty has touched so many hearts. My sister Ruthie and I were just musing about this song this past Christmas and the whole feeling it conjured up when we were children. Our entire Christmas celebration at home was always Christ centered and music was one of the most important elements.She and my other siblings will be so surprised when I sing this for them! We have always "blessed" the Jews as God's chosen people and so there is a very happy conecction here for us. I am 60 years old and have recently learned to play the harp. Now I can pick this one out and sing it at long last, because I now have the words. Shalom and God bless. Nancy


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,Orioles guy
Date: 20 Dec 15 - 08:37 PM

I can't tell you how hard I've been looking for this song. I have an old copy of the Grants Merry Christmas album, complete with nicks and scratches, but now it's better than ever. The lyrics, although mysterious as a kid, still drew me in. Now it means even more. This is one timeless song I'll never forget. Thanks so much for posting all the info!


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Sep 17 - 08:03 PM

So glad I found those. Been hunting lyrics forever. I have the Christmas album. Love it and this was always one of my favorite songs on it.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Sweetest Dreams Be Thine
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 01 Oct 17 - 03:00 PM

It's on YouTube.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dEtAuG1GvNA


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