MacEdward Leach and the Songs of Atlantic Canada
Be Home Early Tonight
Performed by Mrs. John Powers Accession # 78-054 NFLD 1 Tape 2 Track 11
Community: Tors Cove Audio:
Genre: Parlour song / mother  


I've travelled through life, I saw many's the strife
Which surprised me in every way
I've worked at the spade, I've worked with a plow
From sunset till sunrise at dawn
And when I'd be going my mother she'd say,
"Be home early tonight my dear boy"

CHORUS: Be home early tonight my dear boy
Be home early tonight my dear boy
Don't spend all your money on gambling and drink
For there's other things you can enjoy

One night I left home poor mother was ill
In torture and fever and pain
And when I returned I found my mother was dead
It was then I thought on her refrain

CHORUS: Be home early tonight …


Sources:Randolph IV: 379; Roud 7451.

History:An American song, possibly written by John Gibbons; published as early as 1882.

Text notes:Young man recounts his mother's advice to "Be Home Early...", explaining how he had partied one night when she was ill, only to find her dead on his return home.

Tune notes: A slow triple metre performance with extended second (and sometimes third) beats.   The stanzas alternate two lines (with cadential changes), but the refrain has new melodic material.

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