I'm looking for more manly songs to sing to my children
September 4, 2014 10:56 PM   Subscribe

What songs can I sing to my kids as lullabies or traditional songs that are more for a manly voice.

I don't have a great singing voice, but it is pretty deep. I enjoy singing to my kids at bedtime but many traditional lullabies are too high for me to do well in a quiet voice without cracking.

I'm looking for calming campfire songs, mildly religious songs, Viking sagas, etc. that I can add to my repertoire. I'd really like a couple good songs that tell a story or a history, ala sagas. I would also really like if the songs are simple enough to keep the tune without music.

Here's a list of what I like to sing on rotation:
Go to sleep little baby (from o brother where art thou)
Down to the river to pray (ibid)
Our paddles keen and bright (scout song)
Scout vespers
Gillian's island theme (good story)
posted by toomanyplugs to Society & Culture (23 answers total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
Sea chanteys?
posted by wintersweet at 11:13 PM on September 4, 2014 [3 favorites]

You know you can sing the regular songs an octave lower, right?

Also, check out this site which has arrangements specifically for male voices. You have to pay for the sheet music, but many of them have recordings that you can listen to and if nothing else, just youtube the song title and you can find other performances.
posted by Athanassiel at 12:02 AM on September 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

I sing Crowded House's Weather With You to my kids because it is one of the few songs that I know all the words to. They now consider it their lullaby. It was so cute when they realized that it was a real song. My point is, sing whatever you like, they will love it.

My dad always sang Nobody Knows the Trouble I've seen and How Much is that Puppy in the Window, along with a slew of other oldies that he enjoyed. He sang them non-stop my entire life, to me, my brothers, the neighbors, the dog, and then my own children. He sang until he didn't have any breath any more to sing. And then at his funeral, we all sang Nobody Knows to him.
posted by myselfasme at 2:01 AM on September 5, 2014 [3 favorites]

Search Youtube for Paul Robeson songs - he had the manliest voice ever, and you can get a good idea of what sounds really good in a deep voice.

Joe Hill
The Minstrel Boy
posted by Azara at 2:08 AM on September 5, 2014

I'm a big fan of singing oldies (especially 50s doowop) to mah babey. Goodnight Sweetheart, Teenager in Love, My Girl, Blue Moon, etc. especially the bass parts.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:26 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

Her favorites though are Camptown Races, Working on the Railroad, and Froggy Went A'Courtin. Also it's easier for male voices to sing in higher registers if you sort of whisper sing it. Check out the way Iron and Wine hits high notes for example.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 2:28 AM on September 5, 2014

Same situation here. Even the notes that I can hit under other circumstances elude me (read that as: voice cracking) when I'm trying to sing softly. Two things work in my favor: the two little girls are not yet very critical listeners, and they seem to be lulled to sleepiness by lively songs as much as by the soft and soothing.

Clancy Brothers and Schooner Fare figure largely in our repertoire. Favorites include:

Fawn Grove (Schooner Fare - I can't find a link)
Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
Four Strong Winds
Blowin' in the Wind
Done Laid Around
Home, Boys, Home
The Maryellen Carter
posted by wjm at 2:46 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

South Coast (traditional folk, MrK sings the Kingston Trio version) and Leonard Cohen's Suzanne are the big favorites around here, straight to sleep. He also enjoys Old Man River, but can't resist the dramatic bits (...and SCARED OF DYYIIIn') so not as effective.
posted by kestralwing at 3:15 AM on September 5, 2014

My dad used to sing "Tell Me Why" when I was young. I sometimes still sing it to myself to comfort myself.
posted by chainsofreedom at 3:35 AM on September 5, 2014

My dad used to sing "Pitcher a Cowboy" to us. We would sing it loudly and rambunctiously in the car, but at night it would just be slowed WAYYYY down to almost and Eyeore-type thing. It is a slightly horrific song, what with the bashing in of his head and the great big globs of blood all around, but we loved it. Still love it.

Dude, I just read the actual lyrics. I didn't know it was picture A cowboy, not Picture THE cowboy. I thought the cowboy's name was "pitcher". Freg. Mind blown...

How about "Shelter from the Storm" by Bob Dylan? Look to the live recording from Budokan recording. Very soothing and lovely.

Also, "The Tennessee Stud" by the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band has a great story, does well with a low man's voice. Love that song.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 5:34 AM on September 5, 2014

Oh, and Burl Ives is awesome. Down in the Valley comes to mind.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 5:40 AM on September 5, 2014 [1 favorite]

I aways sang "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" to my kids when they were little. (Yes, there are actual verses!) At bedtime for several years, my youngest demanded both "Silent Night" and one other song, and I was happy to oblige because they fit my voice pretty well.
posted by wenestvedt at 6:07 AM on September 5, 2014

My dad sang me to sleep with Yellow Submarine.
posted by Sara C. at 7:33 AM on September 5, 2014

On the Nickle by Tom Waits
posted by Jane the Brown at 9:29 AM on September 5, 2014

My parents went to college in Colorado in the 50s, so we got a lot of cowboy songs:
Marty Robbins (maybe in a lower key)
Frankie Laine
Gene Autry
Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:08 AM on September 5, 2014

And then there's this classic.
posted by Orange Dinosaur Slide at 10:26 AM on September 5, 2014

Hobo's Lullaby
posted by LauraJ at 12:45 PM on September 5, 2014

My dad taught me the drinking song "Away With Rum" when I was very young, which is great, because it has a nice chantey-ish rhythm, and works well for most male vocal ranges, and is a great way to teach your kids about irony! There are tons of verses floating around out there, and a bunch of recordings, since it's been around since Prohibition.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:50 PM on September 5, 2014

My dad always sang "Swing Low Sweet Chariot." It was beautiful.
posted by MrBobinski at 4:49 PM on September 5, 2014

My father's standby was always "Take me out to the Ballgame."
posted by Jewel98 at 9:37 PM on September 5, 2014

Dimming of the Day - we're mortals, but we love each other.
posted by Multicellular Exothermic at 7:58 PM on September 24, 2014

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