Thursday, August 28, 2014

Music Review: Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster

Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster (2004)
This is a compendium of songs written by Stephen Foster, and performed by a variety of performers.  We all know Stephen Foster songs, but rarely give him credit.  They are considered to be old folk songs, which have always existed.  Stephen Foster published music from 1848 until his death in 1964 at the age of 37.  One of his early song, “Oh Susanna! Became a favorite of the California gold miners.  One of his most popular songs is “Camptown Races” and the version in this CD is well done.  Judith Edelman sings “No One to Love” and her voice gives the song a beautiful haunting quality.  “My Old Kentucky Home (State song of Kentucky) is also a favorite.  He wrote a song for his wife, “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair.”  Another love song is “In the Eye Abides the Heart.”  “Ole Folks at Home” is also included in this collection.  And one of my favorites growing up, which was published after Foster had passed away, “Beautiful Dreamer.” 
Beautiful dreamer, wake unto me,
starlight and dewdrops are awaiting thee.
Sounds of the rude world heard in the day,
Led by the moonlight have all passed away.

Beautiful dreamer, queen of my song,
List while I woo the with soft melody.
Gone are the cares of life's busy throng,

Beautiful dreamer awake unto me.
Beautiful dreamer awake unto me!
In all he composed over 200 songs.  It was hard to make a living writing songs, as copyright laws were not as strict, and anyone could publish your work.  The versions in the C.D. are interesting, from upbeat to slower songs.  There is banjo, violin and piano and of course guitar.  A couple are instrumental.  For the most part this music is very enjoyable. 

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