Friday, April 10, 2015


I mentioned in my post for the "When I Was Young" meme that one of the songs
my mother and grandmother sang to me when I was a child was "Pony Boy".  I don't
actually remember them singing it to me but I know they did because the song was
sort of a family tradition. It usually was sung while the child was sitting on your lap or
knee and you bounced the child up and down as you sang. When our younger brother came
along, Mom, my sister and I would sing it to him. Years later when Cheryl and Phil had
children of their own we sang it to their kids.

Last night when I was working on that meme post I wondered how long the "Pony Boy"
song had been around, so I looked it up online. It turns out it was written in 1909 and
the full title is "My Pony Boy". The lyrics were written by Bobby Heath and Charlie
O' Donnell wrote the music. (Wouldn't you know, two fine Irish American lads!). My
grandmother Agnes was born in 1898 so she would have been at least ten years old when
she first heard it. It would probably have been some time later though, probably when the
radio came along.

It turns out that the song that was sung to us kids was only the chorus, which is:

    Pony Boy, Pony Boy
    Won't you be my Tony Boy

    Don't say no
    Here we go
    Off across the plains

    Marry me
    Carry me
    Right away with you

    Giddy up, giddy up, giddy up, whoa!
    My Pony Boy.

The only difference in the version sung in our family is "Tony" is dropped for "Pony"
in the second line.

You can hear a performance of the full song here on YouTube:

The song has been sung to children in my family at some point or another for nearly a
century now. I wonder if the tradition will survive another century?


Linda Stufflebean said...

I had forgotten about this song, but the chorus reminded me of it. I think my grandmother, who was very musical and artistic, used to sing this to me along with "How Much Is That Doggie in the Window?" Thank you for the memory!

Sara said...

I didn't recognize the song until I heard the music. Ithink someone sang this when I was young too. But the most often sung was "Goodnight Irene", and second to that was "Ragtime Cowboy Joe." That was a good memory jog.