Ignored, Maligned, and Forgotten Music

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Five Stephen Fosters in Memoria

Legbamel Not-Pop

Today is the anniversary of Stephen Foster's death, that pioneering gent so far ahead of his time that he tried to make a living as a songwriter and died, penniless and destitute, at the age of 37. Even if you have never heard of the man I guarantee you know at least one or two of his songs. He was that influential, eventually, he just couldn't make any money.

For today, let's have takes by well-known folks on Stephen Foster's well-known songs. I've started with a fantastic version of Old Folks at Home by Ray Charles titled Swanee River Rock. Then Taj Mahal's bluesy, harmonica-filled Oh, Susannah, Sam Cooke's soulful I Dream of Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair, and noddle around with Dave Brubeck and his quartet offering their take on Camptown Races. Finally, we come around full-circle to Louis Armstrong back on Old Folks at Homes.

Spare a thought for the music makers among us today and, the next time you download something that's "pay what you like", throw in an extra buck for them. You never know who's going to be the next lynchpin in the musical vocabulary of a country or even the world.

Five Stephen Fosters by legbamel on Grooveshark

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