Hard Crackers Come Again No More

Today (Sat­ur­day June 6) we’re pre­sent­ing a pro­gramme of folk music from North Amer­i­ca on our Main Stream, fea­tur­ing pieces that go as far back as the 18th cen­tu­ry and even beyond.

The show includes some pieces by Stephen Fos­ter (1826–1864), very much the father of Amer­i­can song­writ­ing. One of his most mov­ing songs is the poignant “Hard Times Come Again No More” (see video above). Inter­est­ing­ly, sol­diers dur­ing the Civ­il War came up with their own lyrics for this song, which com­ment­ed on the qual­i­ty of their rations.

Hard Crack­ers Come Again No More

There’s a hun­gry, thirsty sol­dier who wears his life away,
With torn clothes, whose bet­ter days are o’er;
He is sigh­ing now for whiskey, and with throat as dry as hay
Sings, “Hard crack­ers come again no more.”

Cho­rus:
‘Tis the song and the sigh of the hun­gry,
“Hard crack­ers, hard crack­ers, come again no more!
Many days you lin­gered upon our stom­achs sore,
Oh, hard crack­ers, come again no more.”

Let us close our game of pok­er, take our tin cups in hand,
While we gath­er ’round the cook’s tent door,
Where dry mum­mies of hard crack­ers are giv­en to each man;
“Oh, hard crack­ers come again no more!”

Tis the song that is uttered in camp by night and day,
‘Tis the wail that is min­gled with each snore;
‘Tis the sigh­ing of the soul for spring chick­ens far away,
“Oh, hard crack­ers come again no more.”

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