From the recording Wild And Wicked Youth

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Ron Hynes, © Peer Music, SOCAN

Mark Clavey: vocals, guitar
Mary Hanover: lead vocals, hammered dulcimer
Rachel Gaither: vocals, fiddle

Long a favorite of Mary's, "Sonny's Dream" was written by Newfoundland's Ron Hynes, one of Canada's premiere singer-songwriters, while touring with the "Mummers Troupe" in 1976. He originally recorded it on the Wonderful Grand Band’s self-titled album in 1978, and again on his own "Face to The Gale" album in 1997. The song went on to become his greatest composition - a folk classic recorded by artists worldwide, including Christy Moore, Mary Black, Hamish Imlach, Jean Redpath, and Emmylou Harris. If you’re missing the verse about Sonny's mother's voice haunting his dreams, that was a later addition attributed to Hamish. Mudcatter Willie-O (aka Bill Cameron) recounts Ron’s shock on first hearing the recording, as Hamish had done away with Ron's grandmother in the final verse (who was alive and well in Trepassey Newfoundland). Not wanting her to hear the recording, Ron issued a cease and desist order to Warner Brothers... to which they replied "We've sold 400,000 units in one month. Would you rather go to court, or the bank?" He chose the bank. The tune that precedes the song is "Sonny's Mazurka", considered to be the most well-known Irish mazurka. It was named for the late Co. Dublin accordion player Sonny Brogan, who recorded in the 1930's with the Lough Gill Quartet. The tune appears as "Garret Barry's Mazurka" on Willie Clancy's 1993 recording "The Pipering of Willie Clancy".


Sonny lives on a farm on a wide open space... where you can take off your shoes, stay out of the race… you can lay down your head by a sweet river bed; but Sonny always remembers what it was his Mama said.

"Sonny, don't go away, I'm here all alone. Your daddy's a sailor who never comes home. These nights get so long, and the silence goes on. Oh, I'm feeling so tired, and I'm not all that strong."

Sonny carries a load though he's barely a man. There ain't all that to do, still he does what he can; and he watches the sea from a room by the stairs, and the waves keep on rolling--they've done that for years. And it's a hundred miles to town, Sonny's never been there, and he goes to the highway and he stands there and stares. And the mail comes at four, and the mailman is old, but he still dreams his dreams full of silver and gold.

"Sonny, don't go away, I'm here all alone, &c"

Sonny's dreams can't be real - they're just stories he's read... they're just stars in his eyes... they're just dreams in his head. And he hungers inside for that wide world outside, and I know I can't hold him, though I've tried and tried and tried.

"Sonny, don't go away, I'm here all alone, &c"