And We Bid You Goodnight

Lyrics: Traditional [Sarah Doudney]
Music: Traditional [Ira David Sankey]

Sung a capella by the Grateful Dead to close many of their concerts in the late sixties and the beginning of the seventies - and then revived again in 1989-91.

The lyrics varied a bit from performance to performance. This is the version from Dick's Picks Volume 8 (2 May 1970), which is one of the fuller versions:

Lay down my dear brothers, lay down and take your rest
Oh won't you lay your head upon your saviour's breast
I love you, oh but Jesus loves you the best
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

Lay down my dear brothers, lay down and take your rest
Oh won't you lay your head upon your saviour's breast
I love you, oh but Jesus loves you the best
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

Walking in Jerusalem just like John (bid you goodnight, goodnight)
I remember right well, I remember right well (bid you goodnight, goodnight) (note 1)
His rod and his staff shall comfort me (bid you goodnight, goodnight)
Tell "A" for the ark, that wonderful boat (bid you goodnight, goodnight) (note 2)
Tell "B" for the beast at the ending of the wood (bid you goodnight, goodnight)
Well it eat all the children that would not be good (bid you goodnight, goodnight)
I'm walking in Jerusalem just like John (bid you goodnight, goodnight)
Walking in the valley of the shadow of death (bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight)

Lay down my dear brothers, lay down and take your rest
Oh won't you lay your head upon your saviour's breast
I love you, oh but Jesus love you the best
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
And I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
Notes
(1) this line sometimes appears in lyric collections as "I never would ride, I never would ride" but I think that's a mis-hearing of what Jerry sang rather than an alternate version.
(2) Jerry misses out the second half of the couplet, which is something like "It was built on the land, got water to float"

Grateful Dead Recordings
     Date Album
     11 Feb 1969 Fillmore East 2-11-69
     28 Feb 1969 Fillmore West 1969 -The Complete Recordings
      2 Mar 1969 Live Dead (note 3)
     24 May 1969 Road Trips Volume 4, Number 1
      8 Nov 1969 Dick's Picks Vol 16
     12 Dec 1969 Dave's Picks Volume 10 (note 4)
      2 Feb 1970 Dave's Picks Volume 6
     14 Feb 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 4
      2 May 1970 Dick's Picks Vol 8
     29 Apr 1971 Ladies And Gentlemen ... The Grateful Dead
     28 Feb 1973 Dick's Picks Vol 28
     11 Nov 1973 Winterland 1973 - The Complete Recordings
     20 Oct 1974 Grateful Dead Movie (CD only)
     31 Dec 1976 Live At The Cow Palace
     31 Dec 1978 The Closing Of Winterland (DVD & CD)
     17 Jul 1989 Downhill From Here (video/DVD only)
      8 Oct 1989 Warlocks Box
     16 Oct 1989 Nightfall Of Diamonds
     24 Mar 1990 Dozin' At The Knick

Recordings from dead.net Tapers Section

"The Dead" Concert Recordings

Furthur Digital Downloads and CDs
 
Other Related Recordings
     Date Album Recorded By
     1992 Nightfall Of Diamonds Tom Constanten
     2000 Might As Well The Persuasions (note 5)
     2003 Grateful Guitar David Cullen

Notes
(3) also on Fillmore West 1969 -The Complete Recordings
(4) previously released on Best Of The Grateful Dead Hour
(5) re-released in 2011 on "Persuasions of the Dead"

Origins
The Dead learnt the version they performed from the recording by Joseph Spence and the Pindar Family. The origins of the song go back rather further, though, as is explained in the sleeve notes from Waterson:Carthy [TSCD 475, 1994]:
"In the 1960s, the Incredible String Band renamed a song called 'I Bid You Goodnight' which they learned from Jody Stecher's recordings of the great Bahamian guitarist Joseph Spence and his family, the Pindar family, and the song became, for some folkies, one of those great standards. A year or two ago, John Howson visited Staithes to record the Fisherman's Choir, and was accompanied by Maggie Hunt who, at the same time, was interviewing the individuals involved. During conversations, Mr Willie Wright sung a snatch of the Sankey hymn 'Sleep On Beloved' which he described as a lowering down song at funerals, and which was clearly the same song as 'I Bid You Goodnight' but in an earlier form, and when Norma [Waterson] heard it she went to see Willie, who kindly provided her with the other verses. When we sang the song to Jody Stecher, he was enormously pleased, not least because its function as a funeral song in the Bahamian fishing community was identical to that in its North Yorkshire counterpart."
This hymn features in a number of hymnals, normally under the title "The Christian's Good Night." See for example the version in the Cyber Hymnal

The version 'Sleep On Beloved' as learnt by Norma Waterson is:
Sleep on beloved, sleep and take thy rest
Lay down thy head upon thy saviour's breast
We love thee well, but Jesus loves thee best
Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

Until the shadows from this earth are cast
Until he gathers in his sheep at last
Until the twilight gloom is over passed
Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

Until made beatiful by love divine
Thou in the likeness of thy Lord shall shine
And he will bring that golden crown of thine
Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

Until we meet again before the throne
Clothed in the spotless robes he gives his own
Until we know as we are known
Goodnight, goodnight, goodnight
The lyrics on the Joseph Spence version include more verses than the Dead sing - and has a lot of lyrics in common with Bye And Bye sung by Bob Weir with Kingfish:
Lay down my dear brother, lay down and take your rest
Won't you lay your head now upon your Saviour's breast
I love you, oh but Jesus love you the best
Lord I bid you goodnight, Lord, goodnight, Lord, goodnight
Lord I bid you goodnight, Lord, goodnight, goodnight

Lay down brother Spence, won't you lay and take your rest
Won't you lay your head now upon your Saviour's breast
I love you, oh but Jesus love you the best
Lord I bid you goodnight, Lord, goodnight, goodnight

One of these mornings bright early and soon (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
Not a [creepy] not a spirit gonna shout me on (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
Lord I go walking in the valley of the shadow of death (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
His rod and staff shall comfort me (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
Jesus and Moses shall follow me on (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
John the wine said I saw the sign (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
John said a number of sign (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
Tell "A" for the ark, that wonderful boat (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
She building on the land, getting water to float (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
Now "B" for the beast at the ending of the wood (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
It ate all the children that would not be good (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
I remember right well, I remember right well (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)
I went a-walking in Jerusalem just like John (goodnight, Lord, goodnight)

Lay down brother Pindar, lay down and take your rest
Won't you lay your head now upon your Saviour's breast
I love you, oh but Jesus love you the best
Lord I bid you goodnight, Lord, goodnight, goodnight
An earlier version from the Bahamas was recorded by Alan Lomax in 1935. (Available on the Rounder CD "Deep River of Song: Bahamas 1935") It was sung by a group of men from Nadros Island. The liner notes say:
"A well known anthem wake song in the Bahamas, traditionally sung at the end of a wake. ... The unusual version here is sung without the familiar verses, but rendered with amazing excitement. "Very emotional," noted Alan Lomax years after this was recorded. ...

"Except for occasional words, the rhyming verses of the lead singer cannot be interpreted."
I can confirm the impossibility of interpreting the verses, except for a few phrases like "one by one," "never been born," "very last time," "his sword and his staff" and "King of the Jews."

The last verse (sung a little more slowly) is transcribed in the liner notes:
Last Sat'day night and the night before
Now I had a dream that my mother, she been dyin'
Listen me children, Jesus love you the best
I bid you goodnight, goodnight, goodnight

Futher Information
For an online discussion of the lyrics to this song see the deadsongs.vue conference on The Well.
For more information on recordings see Matt Schofield's Grateful Dead Family Discography

 


Home | Find words/phrases| Find Song lyrics| Dead originals| Dead covers|