- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich; 1st edition (October 29, 1990)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 015605650X
- ISBN-13: 978-0156056502
- Product Dimensions: 8 x 1.3 x 10 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 23 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,591 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The American Songbag Paperback – October 29, 1990
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From the Back Cover
This long-established anthology, compiled by Sandburg and 'his friends from coast to coast and from the Gulf to Canada, ' contains singable words and music--complete harmonizations or piano accompaniments--to 290 songs, ballads, and ditties that people have sung in the making of America.
About the Author
CARL SANDBURG (1878–1967) was twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize, first in 1940 for his biography of Abraham Lincoln and again in 1951 for Complete Poems. Before becoming known as a poet, he worked as a milkman, an ice harvester, a dishwasher, a salesman, a fireman, and a journalist. Among his classics are the Rootabaga Stories, which he wrote for his young daughters at the beginning of his long and distinguished literary career.
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That potentially offensive content includes many blackface minstrel songs, traditional songs presented in dialect, racial epithets, and a few other obstacles. However, when Sandburg originally compiled the book, he seems to have been motivated by a desire not to bowdlerize or "whitewash" the songs he was gathering.
So the value of this book to you may depend on your ability to ignore material that, although originally presented in good faith, many now find objectionable. If you can do so, you will find much valuable information. For example, you can learn the original Spanish lyrics to "La Cucaracha," with the marijuana reference in the chorus still securely in place. Also, the presence of a few lake chanteys -- songs of danger and hardship aboard the iron ore freighters that plied the Great Lakes -- helped solve a long-standing mystery for me: I now know that there was a historical reason why Gordon Lightfoot wrote "The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald."
Unfortunatly, the product offered by Amazon is an amazingly poor xerox copy of the original book. ULAN Press, who ever they are produced this book. The copy is so poor that the music is not readable sitting at the piano. The text is also out of focus and barely legible. I get a headache tring to read it.
Sandburg work is amazing and I am anxious to uptain a better copy. I hope to find an old copy of an original printing.
I strongly discourage anyone from buying this Amazon/ULAN offering!