The Song

Dear Friends,

An important component of Etta is the beautiful and inspiring song, Hard Times Come Again No More.

In the book, Harry Longbaugh, the Sundance Kid, hears the tune at a labor rally in New York City and is inspired to social activism. Later in the story, Etta herself hears the song at a parade in support of the Spanish Civil War. In fact, the book ends with the songs' gorgeous chorus.

Hard Time coverThe man often called "the father of American Music" wrote Hard Times in 1854. Stephen Collins Foster (1826 - 1864) created some of the most memorable and lasting tunes in our country's history. His canon includes My Old Kentucky Home; Oh! Susannah; Beautiful Dreamer and Camptown Races. Hard Times has been recorded scores of times by such diverse artists as Bob Dylan, James Taylor and Kate and Anna McGarrigle.

I wanted readers to know the melody as well as the words, so I came up with the idea of recording a new version for the Etta website. Our Hard Times was produced by the multi - talented Roger Kendis: a long time figure in the Philadelphia music scene. A musician, singer and songwriter, Roger not only composed the arrangement, but also played all the instruments. That's me singing the melody; the low and high harmonies were sung with angelic grace by recording artist and music educator Eliza Jones. Eliza is a member of the innovative group Buried Beds. Their album, Empty Rooms is available from Eliza has sung with numerous bands as a guest musician and has even appeared with Philadelphia's own Dr. Dog on The Late Show With David Letterman.

I hope you enjoy the song. We had fun doing it.

Gerald Kolpan