Saturday, May 22, 2010

A small room above a bay window. A single bed, a table and chair, and a sink. I could manage something larger, with more conveniences, but I could never match the view.

At the foot of the bed, a guitar, and beside it, a song book open to Stephen Foster's "Camptown Races", first published in Foster's Plantation Melodies (1850). Camptown was not a place but a situation that occurred wherever railroads were being built. In camptowns, people live in tents.

"Camptown Races" was written from the perspective of someone on the outside looking in. At times I get the feeling that the "races" part has less to do with the town's activities (betting on horses) than the ethnicities of those who live there.

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