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Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??

3 years 8 months ago #616 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum created the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
My late Mother used to sing this lullaby to me every night. She said her Mother sued to sing it to her and I now sing it to my children. They love it. I wish I could remember the correct tune, does anyone know if it has been recorded, or even recognise the lyrics?
Goodnight Mama, Goodnight Papa, goodnight to all the rest,
Goodnight Mama, Goodnight Papa, I must love dolly the best (chorus)
I had a black dolly called Topsy, who didn't like sleeping alone,
So I put her right under my pillow,
and Topsy and me we'd have fun,
And when I woke up in the morning, I'd take her on down to the sea,
And I'd wash her and wash her and wash her, but I can't get her white like me.
(Chorus)

I'd be so grateful for any information anyone can come up with.

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3 years 8 months ago #617 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum replied the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
Hi
I can't believe somebody else has heard of this lullaby. My grandmother, who has been dead for some years now used to sing it to me when I was young and went to stay the night with her. She also said that her mother sang it to her which must have been about 1910. She did have a tune that went with it, which I can actually remember. The difference is that she didn't do the goodnight mama, goodnight papa bit. Her version went like this:

I had a black dolly called Topsy, who didn't like sleeping alone,
Cause Topsy's afraid of her shadow thought in darkness I know there are none,
But Topsy is only a dolly and doesn't know better you see
So I just put her under my pillow, I know she likes sleeping with me.

When I wake up in the morning, I lie till I think she's awake,
And then we go down to the garden and I give her a bath in the lake,
But Topsy is blacker than ever, as shiny and shiny can be,
Though I scrub her and scrub her and scrub her, I can't get her white like me.

I am so glad that you have also heard of this as everyone I have ever mentioned it to thinks I am making it up!

Hope this is of some help to you, perhaps we can do some research and if I find out any more, I will let you know.

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3 years 8 months ago #618 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum replied the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
Hi! I know this too! My whole family used to sing it in the 50s and 60s. I put the first line in on Yahoo today, because I couldn't remember all the words. Your versions are slightly different to what I remember, but the second one submitted is closest. I will ask my Mum and Dad if they remember their words, if anyone's interested, and how they know it. We lived in Hull, East Yorkshire, at the time.

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3 years 8 months ago #619 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum replied the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
Its really interesting that someone else also has heard of this. Since I last posted a reply I have done a little research. The closest I have come up with at the moment is that it could have been connected with Uncle Tom's Cabin, the anti slavery novel by Harriet Beecher Stowe from 1852. This has a character called Topsy who fits the bill. It is possible that as this was such a hugely popular book at the time, the name Topsy became used for black american dolls and I found out that they were still producing Topsy dolls in the 1970's and 1980's. It would be great if you managed to find out anything else from your parents. By the way, my family all come from Kent and London so it is obviously a nationwide thing.

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3 years 8 months ago #620 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum replied the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
I know this is a late reply,I've just seen the site.
janewicks, i think you may have two songs mixed up, I remember my mother singing both of them to me.
Topsy has been answered the other one I think you will find is:

It's past 8 o'clock and it's bedtime for dolly,
it's past 8 o'clock and it's bedtime for me.
Goodnight mama, goodnight papa, goodnight to all the rest.
Goodnight mama, goodnight papa, I must love dolly best.
Dolly will sleep on my pretty little pillow . dolly and I both agree
(Repeat) goodnight mama etc.

I may have missed a few words,but to the best of my memory
that's it.
rosieroo

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3 years 8 months ago #621 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum replied the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
My late mother used to sing this song to me also Im looking for a song
In a pretty garden I saw a little maiden rocking her dolly to sleep on her knee
As I stood there watching & listening to her singing these gentle words came wafting o'er the breeze
Sleep dolly sleep Gods in His garden he will watch over thee sleep without fear

The next verse Ive forgotten does anyone know as after singing it to my children I now have g/children that love lullabyes thanks all

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3 years 8 months ago #622 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum replied the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
I have a black dolly called Topsy was sung to me as a child by my mother (we're Australian) (I now sing it to my children), her mother came from England however her Grandparents were Scottish. Our version went like this:

I have a black dolly called topsy
she does not like sleeping alone
she says she's afraid of big bogeys
but I'm perfectly sure there are none
but Topsy is only a dolly
and is frightened as frightened can be
so I tuck her right under my pillow
cause I know she likes sleeping with me
and when I wake up in the morning
I sing til I think she's awake
then I take her right down to the garden
and give her a bath in the lake
but Topsy is blacker than ever
and is shiny as shiny can be
and I've washed her and washed her and washed her
but I can't make her white like me

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3 years 8 months ago #623 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum replied the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
WOW.. I am like you .. am thrilled someone else knows this old lullaby.
My mother who was born in Manchester 1910 - (I am Australian) used to sing this to me. I loved it so much I managed to receive a black doll for christmas and you'll never guess what i named her !

My mum's version is slightly different again - I would guess slight variations with time and distance. She obviously forgot part of the second verse.. I will put an asterisk where I believe some lines are missing. I never heard the chorus part ever, till I read this forum. Goodnight mama, goodnight papa. I wonder what the tune of that part might be? I remember the tune mum sang for the verses - and used to sing it to my two girls when they were small.

Here goes:
I've a little black dolly named "Topsy"
Who doesn't like sleeping alone
For Topsy's afraid of the shadows
In darkness I'm sure there are none
But Topsy is only a dolly
And doesn't know better you see
So I just tuck her under my pillow
For I know she likes sleeping with me.

And when the sun shines in the morning
I sing till I know she's awake
Then I take her right out in the garden
And give her a bath in the lake
**
Tho I scrub her and scrub her and scrub her
I can't get her white like me.

**but Topsy is blacker than ever
and is shiny as shiny can be - I think this is the bit Mum forgot !

I believe this song has disappeared because of it's assumed political in-correctness. The inference being that the black doll was not clean. I protest this, as I adored my black doll and interpreted the lyrics as saying that she was just different, not dirty.
I wonder if anyone has the music sheet with the notes.
Thank you all for your posts.

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3 years 8 months ago #624 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum replied the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
addendum: reply to linsm (post Mon May 14th, 2007)

I know this is all late, but I only just found this site.
Your reference to Uncle Tom's Cabin got me thinking too, and I found this site with a chapter devoted to Topsy.
I believe you are right !

www.iath.virginia.edu/utc/childrn/cbcbhema16t.html

Hope someone can come up with the music.
And perhaps the Goodnight Mama, Goodnight Papa is a totally different song as 'rosieroo' suggests.

Thanks again to everyone.

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3 years 8 months ago #625 by ArchiveForum
ArchiveForum replied the topic: Goodnight Mama Goodnight Papa??
Hi, so glad I found this site as the song is something my Nan used to sing to me in the very early 60's. She was born in the early 1900's and knew a lot of songs. These lyrics are from what she could remember before she passed away and I've put some guitar chords to it for simple strumming:

C I had a little dolly named Topsy
Who G does not like sleeping C alone
'Cause C dolly's afraid of white shadows
Though I'm G perfectly sure there are C none
But F Topsy is only a C dolly
And F doesn't know better you G see
So I C just put her under my pillow
For I know she likes G sleeping C with me

And C I get up in the morning
I G sing til I think she's C awake
Then C I take her out in the garden
And G give her a bath in the C lake
As F Topsy is only a C dolly
And as F shiny as shiny can G be
Tho I C wash her and wash her and wash her
I can't make her G white like C me


I like the line about white shadows, i'm surprised no one else's version features this. I'm sure there's whole portions missed out, it'd be great if between us we could get a full version going.

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