Familiar Songs - Their Authors & Histories

300 traditional songs, inc sheet music with full piano accompaniment & lyrics.

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There is another familiar set of words which seems to be altered from Mr. Bayly's, and Is sung to the same air.
Tell me the tale of the friends you have loved,
Long, long ago, long ago, Tell me of those by whose side you have roved,
Long, long ago, long ago. Say were your playmates as blithe and as gay, Joyous as those I have been with to-day ? Who were the children you met in your play,
Long, long ago, long ago?
What were the pleasures you gathered at home,
Long, long ago, long ago? Where were the meadows enticed you to roam
Long, long ago, long ago? Mother, sweet mother, why starteth that tear? Tell me the tale you delighted to hear Told by the friends that to you were so dear,
Long, long ago, long ago.
Who is not famihar with " Old Uncle Ned," " Swanee Kibber," " Massa's in de cold, cold ground," "Old Dog Tray," and " 0, boys, carry me 'long?" But how many know any­thing of the life of the extraordinary man who wrote them? He must have passed unnoticci 1 through the streets when from every lighted concert-room, from almost every family circle, from every hand-organ or roaming ballad-singer's lips, were poured forth his irresistible melodies. He wrote between two hundred and three hundred popular songs—more than any other American; and though they are not of equal popularity or merit, we have yet to hear one which is devoid of meaning in the words, or beauty in the air.
Stephen Collins Foster was born in Pittsburgh, Penn., July 4, 1826. He was a musi­cian almost from his cradle, and at the age of seven had mastered the flageolet without a teacher. Every instrument in turn gave up its sweetness to his touch; but he never cared to become a distinguished performer. To compose the words and music of a song was his chief delight from boyhc-od. He wrote the words first, and then hummed them over and over till he found notes that would express them properly. His first published song ap­peared in 1842, when he was a merchant's clerk in Cincinnati; a second was published the same year in Baltimore. The success of these impelled him to give up business and devote himself to composition for a livelihood. He returned to Pittsburgh, where he married. Mr. Foster had a wide range of culture, was an eager reader, and proficient in French and German, and was somewhat of a painter. The few who became his intimates speak most enthusiastically of his varied powers; but he was retiring and sensitive. He attempted to illustrate one of his pathetic songs, and handed the sketch with the manuscript to his pub­lisher, who looked at it a moment, and said pleasantly, "Oh! another comic song, Mr. Foster!" The artist tore up the sketch, and made no more pictures for the public.

E-Book - An Annotated Compendium of Old Time American Songs by James Alverson III