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Origins: Sonny's Dream

DigiTrad:
SONNY'S DREAM


Related thread:
Lyr/Chords Req: Sonny / Sonny's Dream (Ron Hynes) (36)


GUEST,Wayne 04 Sep 01 - 07:08 AM
bill\sables 04 Sep 01 - 07:37 AM
flattop 04 Sep 01 - 08:00 AM
Wolfgang 04 Sep 01 - 08:00 AM
GUEST,Phillip 04 Sep 01 - 10:05 AM
GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com 04 Sep 01 - 10:31 AM
Malcolm Douglas 04 Sep 01 - 10:42 AM
George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca 04 Sep 01 - 11:01 AM
Charley Noble 04 Sep 01 - 11:17 AM
Naemanson 04 Sep 01 - 01:18 PM
Charley Noble 04 Sep 01 - 01:51 PM
Dita 04 Sep 01 - 05:41 PM
GUEST,Wayne 04 Sep 01 - 10:43 PM
GUEST,MAG at work 05 Sep 01 - 10:41 PM
GUEST 06 Sep 01 - 10:15 AM
MAG 06 Sep 01 - 05:12 PM
Willie-O 06 Sep 01 - 05:26 PM
Willie-O 06 Sep 01 - 05:43 PM
Charley Noble 06 Sep 01 - 07:51 PM
GUEST,little john cameron 09 Sep 01 - 03:05 PM
GUEST,Dita (at work) 09 Sep 01 - 04:24 PM
GUEST,Ewan McVicar 10 Sep 01 - 03:04 AM
WyoWoman 10 Sep 01 - 10:03 PM
GUEST,Big Jim from Jackson 16 Jan 04 - 10:38 PM
Charley Noble 17 Jan 04 - 11:01 AM
McGrath of Harlow 17 Jan 04 - 02:38 PM
GUEST,Jacqued 18 Jan 04 - 02:07 PM
Charley Noble 19 Jan 04 - 10:06 AM
GUEST,Jacqued 19 Jan 04 - 03:17 PM
GUEST,Annalee 10 Dec 12 - 05:17 PM
PHJim 10 Dec 12 - 10:06 PM
Jon Bartlett 10 Dec 12 - 10:09 PM
Beer 10 Dec 12 - 10:52 PM
mg 10 Dec 12 - 11:07 PM
meself 10 Dec 12 - 11:35 PM
mg 11 Dec 12 - 01:04 AM
meself 11 Dec 12 - 01:11 AM
GUEST,Wbb 20 Aug 17 - 08:03 PM
meself 20 Aug 17 - 09:27 PM
Joe Offer 22 Aug 17 - 10:37 PM
Iains 23 Aug 17 - 06:12 AM
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Subject: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Wayne
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 07:08 AM

Jean Redpath sang a version of Sonny's Dream on Prairie Home Companion on 4/26/86. That version had only three verses, the last in part being, "Sonny's old and alone...Sometimes he wonders what his life might have been." That version has quite a different story line than the one in the Mudcat files. In Jean's version he heeds his mother's request to not go away. In the Mudcat version it seems inevitable that he will go away.

Does anyone know the origin of the version Jean sang? Also, the exact words. I can get most of the words from the videotape I have of the show, but a couple of words are not clear.

I find the version Jean sang to be a much more powerful, moving song.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SONNY'S DREAM
From: bill\sables
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 07:37 AM

Hi Wayne, These are the wordss I sing, they may be of help to you.

SONNY'S DREAM

Sonny don't go away, I'm here all alone
Your daddy's a sailor, he never comes home
Nights are so long, the silence goes on
I'm feeling so tired, I'm not all that strong

Sonny lives on a farm in a far distant place
Take off your shoes stay out of the race
Lay down your head by a soft river bed
Sonny always remembers the words his mama said

Sonny lives all alone though he's barely a man
There's not much to do but he does what he can
Sits by his window in his room on the stairs
Watching the waves drifting soft on the fields

Many years have rolled by Sonny's old and alone
His daddy was a sailor he never came home
Sometimes he wonders what his life might have been
Still from the grave mama's voice haunts his dreams

Cheers Bill


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: flattop
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 08:00 AM

You might like to contrast this lyric with Lenny Gallant's song Peter's Dream (I believe it's called) if anyone has the words.


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Subject: Lyr Add: SONNY'S DREAM (Ron Hynes)
From: Wolfgang
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 08:00 AM

maybe it also helps to read the original lyrics. They are in the link below what Christy Moore sings.

Wolfgang



SONNY'S DREAM
(Ron Hynes)
  
G
Sonny lives on a farm, in a wide open space
C G
Take off your shoes, stay out of the race
D
Lay down your head, on a soft river bed
C G D
Sonny always remembers the words Mamma says.
CHORUS
  
G
Sonny don't go away, I'm here all alone
C G
Your Daddy's a sailor, never comes home,
D
Nights are so long, silence goes on,
C G D
I'm feeling so tired and not all that strong.
  
Sonny works on the land, though he's barely a man
There's not much to do but he does what he can
Sits by his window in his room by the stairs
Watching the waves drifting soft on the pier.
CHORUS
  
Many years have rolled on, Sonny's old and alone
His Daddy the sailor, never came home
Sometimes he wonders what his life might have been
But from the grave Mamma still haunts his dreams.
CHORUS

Here are the original lyrics to this song:
  
Sonny lives on a farm, on a wide open space
Where you take off your sneakers,and give up the race
And you can lay down your head, by the sweet river bed
But Sonny always remembers what it was his mamma said

Sonny carries a load but he's barely a man
That ain't all that you do, still he does what he can
And he watches the sea,from a room by the stairs
And the waves keep on rollin', they've done that for years

CHORUS
  
Oh Sonny don't go away,I am here all alone
And your daddy's a sailor who never comes home
And the nights get so long,and the silence goes on
And I'm feeling so tired,I'm not all that strong.....
  
And it's a hundred miles to town
Sonny's never been there
And he goes to the highway and stands there and stares
And the mail comes at four
And the mailman is old
Oh.. but he still has his dreams,full of silver and gold....

Sonny's dreams can't be real, they're just stories he's read
They're just stars in his eyes, they're just dreams in his head
And he's hungry inside for the wild world outside
And I know I can't hold him
Though I tried and I tried and I tried........
Ron Hynes (as recorded by Christy Moore)


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Phillip
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:05 AM

A few weeks ago I had a chance to see The Crooked Stovepipe band from St.Johns do the original tune by Ron Hines ??(Hynes) After they were through, they stopped and told the following story:

Apparently, some years ago, when "Sonny's Dream" first became popular, there was a pub in Charlottetown, P.E,I, that played host to a lot of touring folk bands, ensembles and singers. It seemed like everyone was singing "Sonny's Dream" during every set. It seems that the pub kept their back door open and a lady who lived across the alley was subjected to a summer-long serenade of various versions of "Sonny's Dream". She wrote a tongue-in-cheek parody version she called "Sonny's Dream: 25 Years Later" where Sonny has grown old and fat and is now a burden on his mother who is trying to encourage him to finally leave the nest.They followed with the parody version.

I don't know the author's name or the whole song but the chorus goes:

Sonny, please go away! Leave me here all alone!
Your Daddy's the smart one; he never comes home.
If you eat any more, you'll go right through the floor,
And I'm starting to wonder, if you'll fit through the door...
oor...orr!


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,mgarvey@pacifier.com
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:31 AM

look what they've done to my song ma..look what they've done to my song.. mg


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:42 AM

The DT file  SONNY'S DREAM  gives Ron Hynes' text and tune, and traces the altered version (as given by Bill) to Hamish Imlach.


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: George Seto - af221@chebucto.ns.ca
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 11:01 AM

The main thing is that several European bands who toured Canada, heard Sonny's Dream. They took back what they thought they remembered, and added to it. It's almost more popular (the altered version) in Ireland, than the original is here in Canada.


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 11:17 AM

Thank you, Phillip, for your tasteful and sensitive parody; I'd love to have the verses as ammunition for the next time this song surfaces around here.;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: Naemanson
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 01:18 PM

C'mon Charley! I just copied the lyrics and chords so I could learn it! Stand by to hear it many times in the near future. This song means a lot to one who has been trapped in a bad marriage with a bad career choice and no way out.

But I'm free now!


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: Charley Noble
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 01:51 PM

Sigh! Naemanson, rather than wallow...how about a rousing freedom song!;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: Dita
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 05:41 PM

I have had the luck to share stages with both Hamish and Ron and to count both among my friends.
Hamish heard Ron singing his song, but could only remember two verses when Chirsty (? and Donal), decided that Hamish should have a crack at having a hit single on the Irish charts. They then wrote the second version, and recorded it, with some young lass called Mary Black doing the back up vocals, but gave Ron full writing credit. It was this version that Chirsty subsequently recorded on "Ride On", again crediting Ron.
Ron told me that a friend of his had done a ?PhD researching the many versions of this song now in circulation, I may be mis-remebering, (it was Girvan Folk Festival and drink had been taken), but my recollection is he had found some hundred or more variants.
Ron is a wonderful songwriter, with 3 CDs of songs other than Sonny, well worth singing (I do one or two in my sets), well worth checking out, although they are not easy to find, I got them from Ron while he was in Scotland, and imported the later one from Canada, but worth the effort.
love, john.


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Wayne
Date: 04 Sep 01 - 10:43 PM

Thank you! Thank you! to all who have responded. I love hearing all these perspectives.

However, I have not been able to tell which versions some of you are refering to. Thus, I'm still not clear if we know who created the version I heard Jean Redpath sing. (And that has been identified in some of your postings as almost identical to the version Christy Moore sings.) The essential feature of that version being that Sonny heeds his mother's request to not go away.

Could someone clearly address that question.


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,MAG at work
Date: 05 Sep 01 - 10:41 PM

Fred Holstein's double CD includes the revised version, called "Sonny."

I had never heard it before, but put it on my "to learn" list -- I have a nephew who needs to leave his mother sooner rather than later. (But I'm learning it for myself. Actually, I like the version where he will get away better. less depressing. The child eating parent doesn't win.)


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 10:15 AM

I would be interested in others' preferences for the original version where it appears that Sonny will leave versus the revised version where he stays.

I find the revised version to be supurb poetry, a stunning use of simplicity of language to create a rich picture. The original version seems to me to be good, but not great.

Also, I had a very strong personal reaction to the revised version. I was not aware of the song at all until I heard it recently when playing a videotape of PHC from 4/26/86. I, an only child, "DID go away" from a midwestern farm. Hearing it reminded me of the profound sadness my parents must have felt when I went off to college and then to jobs in New England.

My mother and dad stayed on the farm until Mother died about ten years ago. Now, at age 92, my dad is in a nursing home with me, his grandchildren, and his great grandchildren all in New England. We can only visit occasionally.

Wayne


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: MAG
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:12 PM

Interesting question, Wayne. I agree that the shorter version is a better song. much tighter, the bodyblow about adults who never individuate much more telling.

In my own case, since I know a young person in that situation, the hopeful version has appeal, plus it turns out to be in a woman's voice.


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: Willie-O
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:26 PM

Well, I still prefer the original like Ron Hynes wrote it.

Even though I was in a St Paddy's Day pick-up band once that played it six or eight times in the one show. (12 hour gig).

W-O
left home early, stayed gone. Now yearns for freedom from own home despite emotional attachments to same...


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: Willie-O
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 05:43 PM

Well, I still prefer the original like Ron Hynes wrote it.

Even though I was in a St Paddy's Day pick-up band once that played it six or eight times in the one show. (12 hour gig).

W-O
left home early, stayed gone. Now yearns for freedom from own home despite emotional attachments to same...


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: Charley Noble
Date: 06 Sep 01 - 07:51 PM

Willie-O - please stop! We get the message.;-)


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,little john cameron
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 03:05 PM

Phillip,whaur's the rest o' the parody please.This cud be mah next big hit!!! ljc


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Dita (at work)
Date: 09 Sep 01 - 04:24 PM

Wayne,

Ron's original version is the one where Sonny leaves.


The Hamish/Christy version is the one where he stays and "his mother's voice still haunts his dreams.

Hope that helps
love, john.


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Ewan McVicar
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 03:04 AM

Hamish often told the story, and it is in his book Cod Liver Oil, of being pressed to sing something in Germany - the Hamburg red light district I think - at a table with friends in a bar late one night. The bar's guitar was terrible and Hamish had to think what was simple enough to work with such an instrument. He sang Sonny's Dream, and a whore at the bar bought him a drink! Hamish thought, "There's something special here!"


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: WyoWoman
Date: 10 Sep 01 - 10:03 PM

Well, I'm absolutely bereft. When you 'discover' a great song, you look forward to introducing it far and wide to friends who'll love it as much as you do. Turns out this one, which I learned from the Mary Black CD, apparently is already trite and true. I feel so out of the loop!

ww


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Big Jim from Jackson
Date: 16 Jan 04 - 10:38 PM

At the top of this thread reference is made to Jean Redpath's singing of "Sonny's Dream" on PHC. Since then she has issued a recording (sorry, I can't remember the title of the CD) of the song, this time with two extra verses. They are somewhat similar to some of the versions above, but with some differences. A good CD.......


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 11:01 AM

And I was hoping this thread would NEVER BE REVIVED AND THE SONG WOULD DIE, DIE, DIE.

Sorry, in my opinion this song is one of the most blatent examples of sentimental claptrap, only suitable as last-ditch therapy for a middle-aged person who was never able to leave his clinging parent. Pathetic.

For the last few years I've been doing a whole lot to sustain my aged parents on their family farm. Maybe I'll write a positive song about that.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 17 Jan 04 - 02:38 PM

But without the original you couldn't have the parody - that's always the thing to bear in mind, when you think a song is trite or oversentimental. (Though I don't think the revised version is anyway, if it's sung right. But sung "with feeling", that's another matter...)

So could someone come up with the rest of the parody that GUEST Philip posted a bit of earlier in this thread?


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Subject: RE: Help: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Jacqued
Date: 18 Jan 04 - 02:07 PM

The lovely Hilary Spencer did a version on her CD "Other Roads Other Images"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: Charley Noble
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 10:06 AM

Hilary's CD is actually called OTHER ROADS OTHER LIVES and, alas, she does not sing the parody version of "Sonny's Dream." I would also love to have the words for the parody, please, please!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Jacqued
Date: 19 Jan 04 - 03:17 PM

Whoops!


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Annalee
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 05:17 PM

Has anyone got the full lyrics for the version "Sonny please go away"?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: PHJim
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 10:06 PM

Charley Noble, I most often agree with your posts, but not here. I've loved this song ever since I heard Jamie Snider sing it in the mid nineties at Folk At The Forum in Cobourg. I've heard many versions and it has been done too many times, but I still love hearing it from Ron or Jamie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 10:09 PM

I'm with Charlie on this one.

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: Beer
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 10:52 PM

There is no other but "Ron Hynes".
Adrien


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: mg
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 11:07 PM

I think it was wonderful the way it was originally written..and that was only the three verses I think..at least it was only sung with the three verses. I have never seen an "improvement" on a song that really was.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: meself
Date: 10 Dec 12 - 11:35 PM

Someone correct me if I'm wrong - but on the 'Wonderful Grand Band' album on which this song first appeared (I believe), it only had the first two verses. I learned it off that record, and it was many years later that I first heard the 'Sonny's dreams can't be real' verse - which I felt weakened the song, the poetry of that third verse being flaccid compared with that of the first two, which is perhaps why it didn't make the cut on the original(?) recording.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: mg
Date: 11 Dec 12 - 01:04 AM

I think that three verses were originally sung...sneakers, stand by window and watch for ;mailman. I think Ron wrote the dreams verse and took out the mailman verse. I agree that the first two verses are the best. And why would anyone change a song that is so iconic and describes what almost no song ever has before but is a very common problem..beats me. Also some Irish singers took it back to Ireland and sang it at about half speed. It really has a perky tune.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: meself
Date: 11 Dec 12 - 01:11 AM

Sorry - I should have said that the original recording had the three verses you refer to ('sneakers, stand by window and watch for ;mailman'), and the 'Sonny's dreams can't be real' 4th verse seems to have been added later - an ill-advised addition, IMO.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: GUEST,Wbb
Date: 20 Aug 17 - 08:03 PM

I read somewhere that Hynes had written the tune about a young autistic boy. Is this true or is it common knowledge?


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: meself
Date: 20 Aug 17 - 09:27 PM

Never heard that - but who knows? As I recall, the notes on the back of the Original Grand Band album with Sonny's Dream spoke of 'Sonny' as a somewhat typical lad from the outports .....


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: Joe Offer
Date: 22 Aug 17 - 10:37 PM

I can certainly picture Sonny as being autistic.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Sonny's Dream
From: Iains
Date: 23 Aug 17 - 06:12 AM

It has to be one of the saddest songs ever. (for me anyway)


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