Skip to comments.FReeper Canteen - Tunes For Our Troops - 16 Feb 2013
Posted on 02/15/2013 6:11:05 PM PST by AZamericonnie
While almost everybody had a piano in the parlor, almost every family also had someone who could play fiddle. Most churches had someone who could play the pump organ. Most towns had amateur brass bands. Many towns had fiddlers, banjo pickers and others who could play dances. This was a very musical country.
This is one of his most famous tunes. It turned up in countless TV westerns in the Fifties.
You cant help but dance to this one.
This is synonymous with Foster and is a critical part of American song.
A good example of the slow, sentimental songs of the era. Thats Jay Ungar of Ashokan Farewell on fiddle.
With successful songs like this under his belt, Foster felt prosperous enough to marry Jane MacDowell in 1850. Their daughter was born a year later.
The syncopation and melodies that Foster employed showed admiration and affection for emerging Black musical forms. During the 1960’s, there were those who decried Stephen Foster’s songs as racist, but they were not. Even though some of the language seemed pejorative by late Twentieth Century standards, they were NOT racist terms in the early 19th century. Foster’s lyrics never mocked or demeaned Black people. The lyrics were mostly about home, family, poverty, nostalgia, elderly people, love, and humor.
I especially like the funny oxymorons in “Oh! Susanna”. My students do too. They get the humor, where perhaps their parents do not.
“Political Correctness” can take a lot of joy out of life!
We will encounter quite a bit of the challenge of political correctness in the next few segments.
The second problem was financial. Foster, like Irving Berlin a century later, counted every nickel and knew where it went. After having Oh! Susanna pirated out from under him, he took great care to make sure that the royalties from the sales of his sheet music went to his bank account, not somebody elses. That of course assumed the honesty of his publishers in a rough business. He made nothing from performing rights. Foster insisted on his own handwritten contracts with his publishers, and they are the earliest known contracts between publishers and individual songwriters in America.
This tune is best known for Irish tenor John McCormacks 1934 performance. As a student of Schuberts songs, I cant help but notice that the piano accompaniment sounds a lot like his classic song Alinde. That German music teacher was thorough!
Political correctness has kept this one under wraps in the modern era, which is why the melody is often heard, but not the lyrics. Its a great toe-tapper.
Beautiful and contemplative. This is one from the heart.
This is the song with its original, politically incorrect lyrics. It was not a hit during Fosters lifetime, but became popular in the early 20th Century. Its now his most popular tune and the Florida state song.
A fine song, beautifully sung.
This is another one of his plantation songs.
Looks like I am gonna have lots of opportunities for wallerin’ this weekend! :) You’re doin’ good stuff!
I have noticed that some of the you tube videos of these songs contain obsequious apologies regarding the 19th century Political Incorrectness! (sigh)
You’ll need a box of tissues for some of these songs.
Political correctness taints everything it touches.
Thanks for the early warning! :)
I make sure my little rock stars learn at LEAST Four Chords!
Computer stuff can wear ya out! Get a good night’s rest and maybe it’ll be easier in the morning! :)
Yes it does!
Thank You for tonight’s series.
I am really enjoying it!
Foster did not knock out his songs in a slapdash manner. Like George Gershwin and Paul McCartney, he worked over the smallest details in his songs to get the idea down in a way that was immediately accessible to his audiences.
In 1853, Foster moved to New York to be closer to his publishers, and in that year he wrote one of his best songs. This version uses all the verses, politically incorrect and otherwise.
This is Nelson Eddy singing one of the great sentimental weepers of the era about a man and his dog. I learned this song in grade school.
In 1854, Foster relocated to Hoboken to make room for his wife, who had come out from Pittsburgh. Thomas Hampson does this classic justice.