Hard Times Come Again No More

George Clooney’s telethon to raise money for Haiti assembled top pop, and you can donate a little money by buying the record. I did, though I don’t like pop. Many of the songs are sung with such pathos that you get the impression that everyone on Haiti is dead. So we’re walking a fine line here. Wyclef Jean, who’s been down in Haiti helping and is heavily involved in fundraising, said “Alright, enough of the moping!” and got down on “By the Rivers of Babylon.”

Mary J. Blige did a fine soul rendition of Stephen Foster’s song “Hard Times Come Again No More,” written during the Civil War in 1854. Though from a supremely racist time, when minstrel singers were performing in blackface, many of Foster’s songs crossed racial lines. Not too long ago, in 2004, Stax legend Mavis Staples contributed to a beautiful album of his songs.  And finally, I’m posting a classic interpretation by Kate and Anna McGarrigle and friends, which is probably very much how it was sung back in Foster’s day.

Mary J. Blige

Mavis Staples

Kate and Anna McGarrigle and friends

Let us pause in life’s pleasures and count its many tears,
While we all sup sorrow with the poor;
There’s a song that will linger forever in our ears;
Oh Hard times come again no more.

Tis the song, the sigh of the weary,
Hard Times, hard times, come again no more
Many days you have lingered around my cabin door;
Oh hard times come again no more.

While we seek mirth and beauty and music light and gay,
There are frail forms fainting at the door;
Though their voices are silent, their pleading looks will say
Oh hard times come again no more.

There’s a pale drooping maiden who toils her life away,
With a worn heart whose better days are o’er:
Though her voice would be merry, ’tis sighing all the day,
Oh hard times come again no more.

Tis a sigh that is wafted across the troubled wave,
Tis a wail that is heard upon the shore
Tis a dirge that is murmured around the lowly grave
Oh hard times come again no more.

song of the week  🙂 englisch lernen mit liedern

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Trainer/ coach from Washington, D.C. based in Berlin. Enthusiastic gardener, sailor, reader.

4 thoughts on “Hard Times Come Again No More”

  1. Beautiful! Who’s the lady in the middle with that magnificent voice?
    Emmylou & Co. also did a harmonious, rich rendering.
    Have a good day,

  2. Having listened to the songs and having done a little research on the McGarrigles I found out that Kate passed away just on January 18.
    I’d never heard of her or the group before. So, thank you Anne for the enlightenment.
    May she rest in Peace.

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