Good Morning, Irene

“Good Morning, Irene”

As I suppose is obvious, this is an answer song to Leadbelly’s “Goodnight, Irene,” inverting that eve’s hope-tinged despair for the new morn’s despair-tinged hope. I needed a song to help my three-year-old daughter, Irene, wake up as the mornings got colder and darker. I also needed a song for the Paint Branch Bluegrass Boys to learn that we could call our own. Leadbelly’s song is a waltz; this one is in four.* Written during the week of October 21-27, 2007.

CHORUS

Irene, good morning; good morning, Irene
The sun will soon come creeping through
The day ahead I know will be
A day just for me and for you

VERSES

I told your mother that you were the one
I loved you with all of my heart
I’d love, honor, cherish, obey
And keep you ’til death did us part

I’ll stop all my rambling and staying out late
I’ll sit by the fireside bright
No rambling, no gambling, no bounding, no rounding
No staying away half the night

I’ll live in the country, I’ll live in the town
I’ll live in a land far away
And if I don’t jump in the river and drown
I’ll live anywhere that you say

I’ll take you to Georgia, I’ll take you to Rome
Far from these hills of Tennessee
I’ll take you to Georgia and we’ll make a home
In the land of the sweet what’s-to-be

I love Irene, the Lord knows it’s true
I love her with all of my might
I’ll pack up my morphine and put it all away
‘Til the day that Irene says goodnight

* The chords follow the Leadbelly changes (I-V-V-I, I7-IV-V-I), and the melody approximates his, though in the first half of each verse/chorus the lines are halved and double-timed (i.e., the same rhythm as the lines in the second half).

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