Monday, October 24, 2011
Hard Times Come Again No More
Hard Times Come Again No More has become, over time, my favorite song by the great Stephen Foster, who may have been America's first commercial songwriter. I grew up with some of his best-known songs, such as Oh Susannah and My Old Kentucky Home, probably learning them in Miss Bessie Conner's eighth-grade "Introduction To Music" Class at the then-new Memorial School, completed soon after the end of World War II.
I don't recall the first time I heard Foster's wonderful song, Hard Times Come Again No More, but it was not in Miss Conner's class.
Among the places where I have heard the song are these:
Bob Dylan sang it, with just acoustic guitar, on one of Willie Nelson's televised birthday parties (maybe his 60th?);
Thomas Hampson has recorded a wonderful version of the song; and,
it has been sung more than once on the unique radio program, The Prairie Home Companion.
And, when Winnsboro citizens gathered to assist local artists Lynn Adler and Lindy Hearne at Crossroads after damage from a flood at their Organic Song Farm on Goolsby's Pool, this song was performed as a group sing-along.
Now, I humbly offer my version of Hard Times Come Again No More, accompanying myself on a vintage The Gibson banjolele (sometimes called a banjo-ukulele), an instrument which seems appropriate in view of the era from which this great old song originated.
Click on the arrow to activate the music video: