Tuesday, July 29, 2008

{Review} Doo-dah!: Stephen Foster and the Rise of American Popular Culture by Ken Emerson

This is the story of Stephen Foster, who wrote so many songs in the nineteenth century that are considered American standards such as "Oh, Susanna", "Campdown Races" and "Swanee River". The book focuses on Foster as one of the first song writers to be benefited by the commercialization of music, in the guise of sheet music and copyrights. He became a well recognized figure based upon his fame as a popular music composer. Foster initially struggled to be a successful composer, then spend of good part of the rest of his life in court defending his rights and chasing "music pirates", to use a modern term. However, the book is not easy to read. The author goes on for page after page, chapter after chapter, relating how Foster did this and went there and said that and after a while it becomes a blur. Recommended only to those who really have an interest in the subject.

Link to LibraryThing entry for this book

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