The Lullaby Cheat

Oh man. So you know how you’re supposed to sing your baby to sleep? That’s great and all. But what song are you supposed to sing? And who has any songs memorized anymore anyway?

I faced this very conundrum when Fox was born over a year ago. Rockabye Baby wasn’t an option, on account of my gay friends tell me its gay. The only other children’s songs I could think of were a) Itsy-Bitsy Spider, which inhibits drowsiness on account of the jazz hands, and b) You Are My Sunshine, which is thematically inappropriate for nighttime renditions.

Putting the newborn Fox to sleep one night, I was confronted by an awkward silence that all but demanded a song. Desperate and on-the-spot, I went with the only downtempo ditty I could remotely recall: the theme from The Dukes of Hazzard. I got lucky. With nightly repetition, the song became a reliable soporific.

Here’s a refresher in case you’ve occasion to use it, with lyrics below.

The Dukes of Hazzard theme song

Just-a good ol’ boys.
Never meanin no harm.
Beats all you never saw; been in trouble with the law
Since the day they was born.

Straigtenin the curves,
Flattenin the hills.
Someday the mountain might get ’em
But the law never will.

Makin their wa-a-a-a-a-a-y the only way they know how.
[Well] that’s just a little bit more than the law will allow.

Just-a good ol’ boys.
Wouldn’t change if they could.
Fightin the system
Like-a two modern day Robin Hood[s]. (Yeeeee-haw!)

The song is of course sung by Waylon Jennings, who also narrated the show. Rock & Roll fun fact: Jennings gave up his seat on Buddy Holly’s doomed airplane. What’s more, after Holly ribbed him about slumming it on the bus, Jennings jokingly hoped for the plane to crash. Predictably, Jennings was henceforth more reserved with his sarcasm.

So feel free to suggest any other songs that a) a guy can’t screw up, and b) won’t embarrass me if The Wife overhears. Oh and you may as well recommend any songs good for singing girls to sleep. Just in case.

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2 Responses to The Lullaby Cheat

  1. Jeanine Southall November 9, 2011 at 5:42 pm #

    Love the posts, Jon! Esp this one b/c I have been faced with this very conundrum for years. Instead of beating myself up about not knowing the lyrics to any kids’ songs, I just go with a few standbys. I often wonder, though, whether I’m dooming them to lives of heartbreak, addiction and death with the songs I sing them. Like ‘Delta Dawn’ by Tanya Tucker, ‘Angel from Montgomery’ by John Prine/Bonnie Raitt, Patsy Cline’s ‘Walking After Midnight’, John Cash’s ‘Long Black Veil’ and Warren Zevon’s ‘Carmalita’ (which I probably should omit from my repertoire since he sings pointedly about being strung out on heroine). I now hear Aniela in the shower crooning her version of Delta Dawn so sweetly, and that makes me smile.
    Thanks for sharing…and for the Dukes of Hazzard suggestion; we could use the upbeat diversion!

  2. Michele November 12, 2011 at 3:55 pm #

    Dukes of Hazzard is an excellent addition to my repertoire. Heavy rotation in our household includes Freight Train by Elizabeth Cotton, Golden Slumbers by the Beatles, Slip Slidin’ Away by Paul Simon and Me and Julio Down by the Schoolyard also by Paul Simon. The latter perhaps a little less appropriate. An old favorite of Maisie’s was the Chivalrous Shark (first two verses). Lots of sophomoric giggles in that one for the adults.

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