What to do with Stephen Foster? Among the greatest of American songwriters, reportedly the first to actually make a living at it (for a while), regarded by many scholars as the “father of American music.” Many of his 200+ songs written in the mid-19th century are embedded into the very fabric of American culture via countless cover versions by renowned musicians, abetted by millions of schoolchildren taking easily to his infectious, easily digestible tunes (“Beautiful Dreamer,” “Oh Susanna”, “Camptown Races,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Swanee River,” “I Dream of Jeannie With the Light Brown Hair,” “The Hard Times Come Again No More”).
Author of these lines, written for his wife Jane:
Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
Starlight and dewdrops are waiting for thee;
Sounds of the rude world, heard in the day,
Lull’d by the moonlight have all pass’d away!
… Beautiful dreamer, awake unto me!
But there was this about...Read More