Stephen Collins Foster Biography - online book

A Biography Of America's Folk-Song Composer By Harold Vincent Milligan

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in 1855 and one each in 1856 and 1857. Several of these songs became immensely popular, although few of them are remembered to-day: "Ellen Bayne," "Hard Times Come Again No More," "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair," "Willie, We Have Missed You," and "Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming," belong to the past, along with the crinoline and the daguerreotype.
In many of the contemporary references to Stephen Foster, found in old newspapers and magazines, he is described as "the author and composer of 'Willie, We Have Missed You.' " The popularity of this song is difficult to account for, as it is one of his poorest. "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" and "Come Where My Love Lies Dreaming" have more to recom­mend them. In the latter song he attempted a more elaborate construction than was his wont, but it cannot be said that he succeeded well in handling it, for the song is overly long and rather wandering.
Foster is said to have believed that the melody of the song "John Brown's Body" was taken from his "Ellen Bayne." The resemblance is certainly close enough to have justified this belief, although it is not sufficient in itself to be conclusive proof of plagiarism.
All of these songs were published by Firth, Pond & Co. There is a contract with this firm, dated December 21st, 1854. The first "Article" states that Foster is to receive 10% on all future vocal compositions, except the arrangements with guitar accompaniment; Articles Two and Three enumerate twenty-nine previously published compositions on which Foster is to receive 10% and 8% as specified. Other articles deal with instrumental com­positions and arrangements for voice and guitar; ac­counts to be rendered every three months; Firth, Pond & Co. to own the copyright and proprietorship of the music and to attend to all business and to pay all ex­penses; the contract to annul all previous contracts, reference being made to contracts signed December 3rd,

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