I don't know. Maybe it's just me. But I get chill bumps just reading these lines written so many years ago by a young songwriter who died drunk and unloved. Can you hear the pleading between the lines here? Listen to James Taylor's version. (These are actually the lyrics to his version.) Do you feel it? Try again.

Well I come from Alabama with my banjo on my knee
And I'm bound for Louisiana, my own true love for to see
It did rain all night the day I left; the weather was bone dry
The sun was so hot I froze myself
Susanne don't you go on and cry

I said, Oh, Susannah
Now, don't you cry for me
As I come from Alabama
With this banjo on my knee

Well I had myself a dream the other night when everything was still
I dreamed that I saw my girl Susanne; she was coming around the hill
Now, the buckwheat cake was in her mouth; a tear was in her eye
I said, that I come from Dixie land
Susanne don't you break down and cry

I said, Oh, Susannah
Now, don't you cry for me
'Cause I come from Alabama
with my banjo on my knee

Stephen Foster

Oh! Susanna was written by Stephen Foster in 1848.

This was actually Foster's first hit, and was performed in minstrel shows all over the United States. Later in life, Foster deleted the second verse, feeling that it was offensive.

It's a nonsense song -- it's meant to be funny, not sad. Keep in mind it was being performed by white guys in blackface, and it was before Foster made it his mission to reform the minstrel show.

Oh! Susanna

by Stephen Foster, 1848

I come from Alabama with my Banjo on my knee
I'se gwine to Lou'siana my true lub for to see.
It rain'd all night de day I left, de wedder it was dry;
The sun so hot I froze to def -- Susanna, don't you cry.

chorus:
Oh! Susanna, do not cry for me;
I come from Alabama,
Wid my Banjo on my knee.

I jump'd aboard the telegraph and trabbled down de ribber,
De lectrick fluid magnified, and kill'd five hundred Nigga.
De bulgine bust and de hoss ran off, I really thought I'd die;
I shut my eyes to hold my bref--Susanna don't you cry.

I had a dream de udder night, when ebry ting was still;
I thought I saw Susanna dear, coming down de hill,
De buckwheat cake was in her mouf, de tear was in her eye,
I says, I'se coming from de souf, --Susanna don't you cry.

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