By Roger Neil
I’ve been listening to recordings made in the 1930s and early 40s by the black American contralto, Marian Anderson. She’s one of my very favourite singers, not only among altos, and one of the finest songs on the CD is her rendition of Stephen Foster’s ‘My Old Kentucky Home’.
It seems such a pity that so many of Foster’s songs – which include ‘Campdown Races’, ‘Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair’, ‘Oh! Susannah’, ‘Old Folks at Home’ (also known as ‘Swanee River’), ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ and ‘Old Black Joe’ – are no longer deemed PC in modern America and have fallen out of the repertoire.
Impoverished, Foster died in Manhattan in 1864, aged just 37. America’s Schubert!
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