Beautiful Dreamer: The Songs of Stephen Foster

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Barnes & Noble - David McGee
The American popular song begins with the work of Stephen Foster in the mid-1800s, and his contributions are honored on Beautiful Dreamer, wherein a contemporary cadre of performers from a broad range of musical disciplines render the songs as they were originally written, in several cases employing exotic instruments that heighten both the beauty of Foster's melodies and the poignant and often fatalistic idealism of his lyrics. For example, you'll hear a pump organ and glass harmonica on Beth Nielsen Chapman's lovely reading of Foster's translation of a German lied, "In the Eyes Abide the Heart," recorded here for the first time ever. The performances are universally ...
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Emergent , 2004. Music CD Retail Edition. Fine/Fine. All disks are guaranteed. Original art/inserts are intact. Free upgrade to 1st Class mail.

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Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - David McGee
The American popular song begins with the work of Stephen Foster in the mid-1800s, and his contributions are honored on Beautiful Dreamer, wherein a contemporary cadre of performers from a broad range of musical disciplines render the songs as they were originally written, in several cases employing exotic instruments that heighten both the beauty of Foster's melodies and the poignant and often fatalistic idealism of his lyrics. For example, you'll hear a pump organ and glass harmonica on Beth Nielsen Chapman's lovely reading of Foster's translation of a German lied, "In the Eyes Abide the Heart," recorded here for the first time ever. The performances are universally outstanding -- the artists treat the songs like the precious gems they are, and the listener is rewarded with a fresh perspective on Foster's enduring art. Raul Malo offers a robust reading of "Beautiful Dreamer," Alison Krauss checks in with a tenderly whispered interpretation of the graceful lullaby "Slumber My Darling," and Alvin Youngblood Hart brings a country blues flavor to "Nelly Was a Lady." Supported by piano, organ, and acoustic slide guitar, gospel great Mavis Staples unsurprisingly turns "Hard Times Come No More" into a hymn of salvation. Rootsy newcomers Ollabelle, with Levon Helm's daughter Amy singing evocative lead vocals, sends out a rustic remembrance to a departed friend in the exquisitely crafted "Gentle Annie," while Roger McGuinn, playing that familiar electric 12-string, infuses "Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair" with a chiming whimsicality as his multi-tracked vocal adds a Byrds-like feel to the track. If a thing of beauty is indeed a joy forever, as John Keats insisted, then Beautiful Dreamer is destined to age gracefully, and to live long in the heart.
All Music Guide - Steve Leggett
If ideas move forward on the shoulders of giants, and that is certainly true in the world of American pop music, then Stephen Foster's shoulders are the ones at the bottom of the heap, because he is the first truly American songwriter. Drawing both from the transplanted song traditions of the European émigrés and the rhythmic sophistication of African-American spirituals and folk pieces, Foster cobbled together a truly multicultural base for popular American music in the 1840s, turning out such enduring compositions as "Beautiful Dreamer," "Camptown Races," "Old Folks at Home" probably best known as "Swanee River", "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair," "Oh! Susanna," and "Old Kentucky Home," pieces that dressed up aspects of the frequently risqué and racist minstrel tradition in fine new clothes with the offensive parts thankfully excised. Foster was also the first American songwriter to get royally fleeced by the music business, and he died in 1864 with only 38 cents to his name, a forgotten resident of the Bowery. Foster was the founder of the pop music you hear on your car radio, whether it's jazz, country, rock, or rap, because all of these forms draw on the cross-thatching of traditions that Foster first joined into a single stream of American music nearly 150 years ago. This interesting collection of Foster songs by an assortment of country, folk, and pop performers points out how versatile and how exceedingly lovely these pieces continue to be. A song like "Don't Bet Money on the Shanghai," done here by BR5-49, even exhibits eerie postmodern sensibilities, right down to its hard-to-pin-down ironic tone, and one could easily imagine Randy Newman having written it. A version here of the often-maligned "Camptown Races" just remember the rendition in the movie Blazing Saddles by the Duhks restores its inherent polyrhythmic richness, while Mavis Staples brings gospel wisdom to the elegantly sad and hopeful "Hard Times Come Again No More." Roger McGuinn turns "Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair" into a lost Byrds' classic, and it is interesting to recall that the Byrds recorded Foster's "Oh! Susanna" for their second album in 1966. Foster's songs have all too often been viewed through the lens of nostalgia a device Foster deliberately employed and willingly exploited, but their deceptively simple melodies and rich cultural histories full of merging rhythms from different continents make them a good deal more than that, not only the first true American songs, but also among the best. Their amazing longevity proves the point, because in pop music nothing survives without utility.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 8/24/2004
  • Label: Thirty Tigers
  • UPC: 635759159428
  • Catalog Number: 591594

Tracks

Disc 1
  1. 1 Beautiful Dreamer - Raul Malo (3:23)
  2. 2 Slumber My Darling - Mark O'Connor (4:50)
  3. 3 Don't Bet Money on the Shanghai - BR5-49 (2:24)
  4. 4 Nelly Was a Lady - Alvin Youngblood Hart (3:17)
  5. 5 No One to Love - Judith Edelman (3:48)
  6. 6 Camptown Races - The Duhks (3:00)
  7. 7 My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight - John Prine (3:46)
  8. 8 Autumn Waltz - Henry Kaiser (2:54)
  9. 9 In the Eye Abides the Heart - Beth Nielsen Chapman (2:55)
  10. 10 Old Folks at Home (Swanee River) - David Ball (3:40)
  11. 11 Oh! Susanna @@Michelle Shocked & Pete Anderson (3:46)
  12. 12 Willie We Have Missed You (3:43)
  13. 13 Hard Times Come Again No More - Mavis Staples (4:13)
  14. 14 Gentle Annie - Ollabelle (4:05)
  15. 15 Jeanie With the Light Brown Hair - Roger McGuinn (3:20)
  16. 16 Ah, May the Red Rose Live Always - Suzy Bogguss (4:10)
  17. 17 Holiday Schottisch - Will Barrow (2:05)
  18. 18 Comrades Fill No Glass for Me - Ron Sexsmith (5:39)
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Album Credits

Performance Credits
Stephen Foster Primary Artist
Martin Terefe Organ, Percussion, Background Vocals
Beth Nielsen Chapman Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Paul Hostetter Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Mandolin
Raul Malo Acoustic Guitar, Bass, Vocals
Chuck Mead Acoustic Guitar, Vocals
Edgar Meyer Bass
Charlie Chadwick Bass
Roger McGuinn Bass, Vocals, Guitar (12 String Electric)
David Roe Bass
Byron Isaacs Bass, Vocals
Geoff Firebaugh Bass
Jack Clement Dobro, Rhythm Guitar
Don Herron Fiddle, Mandolin
John Prine Guitar, Vocals
Billy Panda Guitar, Mandolin
Alvin Youngblood Hart Guitar, Mandolin, Vocals
Pat Bergeson Guitar
Pat McLaughlin Mandolin, Rhythm Guitar, Harmony Vocals
Matt Rollings Piano
Ron Sexsmith Piano, Vocals
Judith Edelman Piano, Vocals
Jeff Taylor Piano, Accordion
Grey DeLisle Autoharp, Vocals
Yo-Yo Ma Cello
Stefanie Fife Cello
Julie Adams Cello
Pasi Leppikangas Drums
Shaw Wilson Drums, Gong
Tony Leone Drums
Henry Kaiser Electric Guitar, Slide Guitar
Chris Scruggs Electric Guitar, Steel Guitar
Alison Krauss Vocals
Mavis Staples Vocals
Glenn Patscha Vocals, Pump Organ
Amy Helm Vocals, Mandola
Kimmie Rhodes Background Vocals
Wood Newton Background Vocals
Yvonne Staples Vibraphone
Steve Fishell Hawaiian Guitar, Acoustic Guitar
Jimi Zhivago national steel guitar, Guitar
Mark Thomas Bell Davul, Riqq
David Raven Footsteps
Robin Petrie Santoor, Santouri
Marvin Etzioni Guitar (Nylon String), Guitar, Bells
Tania Elizabeth Fiddle, Background Vocals
Will Barrow Piano
Greg Leisz Pedal Steel Guitar
Boo Berstein Pedal Steel Guitar
Danny Coots Drums
Suzy Bogguss Vocals
Jordan McConnell Acoustic Guitar
Leonard Podolak Banjo
Robin Ruddy Banjo, Background Vocals
Dave Ferguson Bass
Fiano McBain Guitar, Vocals
John Orine Guitar, Vocals
Mark O'Connor Violin
Gawain Mathews Electric Guitar
Jessica Havey Vocals
Gabe Rhodes Glass Harmonica, Pump Organ
Buddy Miller Guitar (Tremolo)
Pete Anderson Bass, Guitar, Drums
Technical Credits
Beth Nielsen Chapman Arranger
Marvin Etzioni Arranger, Producer, String Arrangements
Edgar Meyer Arranger
Henry Kaiser Arranger, Producer, Engineer
John Prine Arranger, Producer
Michelle Shocked Arranger
Robin Petrie Arranger
Paul Hostetter Arranger
Roger McGuinn Arranger, Producer, Engineer, drum programming
Wood Newton Arranger, Producer
Mavis Staples Arranger
Jimi Zhivago Arranger
Ron Sexsmith Arranger
Alvin Youngblood Hart Arranger, Producer, Engineer
Judith Edelman Arranger, Producer
Chuck Mead Arranger
Don Herron Arranger
Glenn Patscha Arranger
Shaw Wilson Arranger
Amy Helm Arranger
Byron Isaacs Arranger
Grey DeLisle Arranger
Tony Leone Arranger
Chris Scruggs Arranger
Mark Thomas Bell Arranger
Geoff Firebaugh Arranger
David Raven Sound Effects
Steve Fishell Producer
Raul Malo Producer, Engineer
Steve Rosenthal Producer
Steven Epstein Producer
Camilla McGuinn Producer
Martin Terefe Producer, Engineer
Dave Sinko Engineer, Mastering
David Vaught Engineer
Joe Gracey Engineer
Tony Rambo Engineer
John Saylor Engineer
Boo McCloud Engineer
Jason Robbins Engineer
Juan Bautista Sánchez García Engineer
Nathaniel Chan Engineer
Tamara Saviano Executive Producer
Aimee Roberts Artwork
David Ball Arranger
Tania Elizabeth Arranger
The Duhks Producer
Boo Macleod Engineer
Suzy Bogguss Arranger, Producer
Will Barrow Producer
Murry Hammond Engineer
Aimee Roberts Mazurek Artwork
Fiano McBain Arranger
John Orine Arranger, Producer
Gabe Rhodes Producer
Gawain Mathews Producer
Dave Ferguson Engineer
Brian Gardner Mastering
Pete Anderson Arranger, Producer
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Exceptional job with their interpretations and arrangements

    Playing Time – 62:28 -- As one of America’s greatest songwriters, Stephen Collins Foster created a legacy that lives on in the hundreds of songs he left us. Although he died at only age 37 in 1864, Foster crafted many masterpieces that are presented here such as “Beautiful Dreamer,” “Oh” Susanna,” “Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Camptown Races,” “Old Folks at Home,” and “Hard Time Come Again No More.” Besides some of the more familiar compositions, there are many others that are less often heard on this generous disc that exceeds an hour of fine music. The tunes make up part of the intricate patchwork of our national musical identity. It’s high time that we rediscover this important part of our essential American heritage. Contemporary artists do an exceptional job with their interpretations and arrangements of Foster’s songs on Beautiful Dreamer. These beloved parlor songs are presented by some highly-respected musicians that represent diverse genres, yet acoustic instrumentation is very central to most offerings. Some of the participating artists include John Prine, Raul Malo, Alison Krauss, Alvin Youngblood Hart, BR5-49, Judith Edelman, Mavis Staples, Michelle Shocked, David Ball, The Duhks, Grey DeLisle, Roger McGuinn, Beth Nielsen Chapman, Ollabelle, Suzy Bogguss, and Ron Sexsmith. Two instrumentals (“Autumn Waltz” and “Holiday Schottisch”) are performed by Henry Kaiser and Will Barrow, respectively. The energy level is high on this exhilarating tribute. Thus, the well-executed album is able to keep the music fresh sounding whether covering a plaintive folk ballad or an uptempo toe-tapper. Proceeds from the sale of this album benefit American Roots Publishing, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving American regional culture through literature and art. Liner notes, lyrics and credits are plentiful in the CD’s 24-page jacket. (Joe Ross, staff writer, Bluegrass Now)

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