Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Oh, Susannah

American Music is the bomb, just like the Violent Femmes said.
Case in point: three links to information on the life, work and legacy of Stephen Foster:

By Stephen Collins Foster
Rise Up Singing chapter: Play, 175
D - - A7 / D - DA D :// G - D A / D - DA D

I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee
I'm going to Louisiana, my true love for to see
It rained all night the day I left, the weather it was dry
The sun so hot, I froze to death, Susanna, don't you cry
Oh, Susanna, don't you cry for me
For I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee

I had a dream the other night when everything was still
I dreamed I saw Susanna a-coming down the hill
A buckwheat cake was in her mouth, a tear was in her eye
Says I, "I'm coming from the South: Susanna, don't you cry"

(Two original but pretty offensive verses follow):
I jumped aboard de telegraph and trabbled down de ribber
De 'lectric fluid magnified and killed five hundred nigger
De bull-gine bust, de horse run off, I really thought I'd die
I shut my eyes to hold my breath, Susanna, don't you cry

I soon will be in New Orleans, and then I'll look around
And when I find Susanna I will fall upon de ground
And if I do not find her, dis darkie'll surely die
And when I'm dead and buried, Susanna don't you cry.

It was performed in minstrel shows, after all.

Self correction (2:44): Stephen Foster didn't write "important songs for the development of American music". I think he wrote songs important for the development of American music.

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