Hard Times Come Again No More

Hard times come again no more

Hard Times Come Again No More was written by Stephen Foster in 1855. Since Foster was a songwriter by trade I’m sure the song was composed with monetary gain in mind-however-I’ve read it was also penned cause the words directly related to events that were taking place in Foster’s own private life-in other words Foster had fallen on hard times himself.

We’ve been performing the song for the past few months-any of you that tuned in to hear Pap and Paul on the radio heard it there. I’m always amazed at the longevity of songs like this one-how it was written all those years ago-well over a 100-and still resonates in today’s modern world. Foster was a masterful writer-more than a few of his songs are still popular today.

I believe Hard Times Come Again No More has hung around-cause who hasn’t had hard times? The songs first lines indicate just that “Let us Pause in Life’s pleasures to count its many tears for we all share sorrow with the poor“. The song goes on to discuss how as humans it’s natural for us to seek mirth and beauty-even though frail folks at the door are experiencing hard times and some of those hard times may be waiting for us across the troubled waves or upon the shore.

While this life is full of troubles and trials-a common thread of hard times folks in the US are experiencing at the moment-is the economic downturn. In my area of Appalachia-the current unemployment rate is 15.5%. Over the past several months, the number of friends whose homes are in foreclosure has risen from 2 to 3. Hard times indeed.

This Pickin’ and Grinnin’ In The Kitchen Spot features Foster’s song-Hard Times Come Again No More.

Hope you enjoyed the song-and I hope hard times come around your cabin door no more. If you know what the unemployment rate is in your area-please leave a comment about it.



You Might Also Like


  • Reply
    Joy Lewis
    January 5, 2017 at 7:00 pm

    Hi Tipper!
    It’s been a while…but, I just got my whole hog sausage double ground and tomorrow, ready to get started canning. I remember as a young girl, my Daddy would buy half a hog and then Granny would come up and after sterlizing the sink….dump it all in there and begin her seasoning ”magic!” My sister and I made patties all day and fried them to a golden brown, stacked them in sterile jars, pour in the HOT grease, and turn them upside down after tightening the lids. I carried those memories with me my whole life. Of COURSE, every time I ate sausage….I compared it to Granny’s. Truthfully, hers was the best. SO! I set out to figure what spices she used, frying little bites, until I got it just right. The first time I canned it, I did the pressure cooker recipe…good taste, but not moist, juicy, or as flavorful as before the PC or Granny’s. I did A LOT of research on her method…most foreign countries still do it her way and the grease does give a great seal, and is a natural preservative. Now, it is the only way I do it, and folks near and far come for a visit, but always want to take my sausage back with them. So…after spicing it up tomorrow, I’ll let it set overnight to let the flavors work throughout and then I’ll be fryin’ upa storm!!!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    February 23, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    To Elliott, who wrote the essay about Hazel Creek. It was a wonderfully written essay, very informative and creative at the same time. I think you may have a future in writing if you desire!
    Great job, and best wishes in the future.
    Waynesville, NC

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    February 7, 2010 at 8:03 pm

    After my long, long comment above, I forgot to mention that I really enjoyed hearing the song and I’ve never heard it before. Paul and Pap have such good harmony. Reminds me of my brothers when they sang together many years ago.

  • Reply
    Glenda Beall
    February 7, 2010 at 7:56 pm

    For the young, this spell of economic downturn seems to be the worst thing ever, but I lived through hard times, my parents lived through hard times, and I’m sure everyone has had a time when they needed work and it wasn’t there.
    My father lost his job during the Great Depression, but he used what he had. He had a truck and he swapped hauling jobs for food staples, flour, salt, sugar, etc.
    My husband lost his job twice in the 45 years we were married. It was such a frightening time, but we tightened our belts, I continued to work and he took jobs that were not up to his caliber of employment, but it was work and brought in some funds until he found the kind of job he wanted.
    In today’s market, it seems that employment in the services and Medical areas are plentiful. Our newspapers are full of opportunities for hospital personel. Nursing Homes are always short staffed.
    We can’t always find just what we want when we want it, but have to take another job, or start a small business to get by.
    The people I feel sorry for are the older people who don’t have enough money saved to retire, and face age discrimination when they look for work.
    Sadly, some of our local people might have to relocate to find jobs or go into another type of business. Also, people might have to take small jobs, more than one, until things get better.
    But Americans have heart and hard times will pass for most. But I hope when the good times come again, we don’t have the greed set in like we have had over the past ten or twelve years. I hope our citizens will learn from this that having thousands of dollars worth of material THINGS, is not so important as having good values and teaching children to be less greedy about having so much – especially when they can’t afford to pay in cash for what they want.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2010 at 10:03 am

    I agree that people really relate to music like this and hence the reason it has stood the test of time.

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    February 6, 2010 at 11:06 pm

    Dee from Tennessee
    Just checked online and found our county’s rate for Dec was 10.4 so not quite the 11-12% I thought…don’t know what it is for Jan after the seasonal workers were let go. It’s just so hard for people and losing their health insurance has been catastrophic for several..esp those with existing health issues. And, there, but for the Grace of God…go I.

  • Reply
    petra michelle
    February 6, 2010 at 7:34 pm

    Hard times are definitely knockin. I agree with you, Tipper, the reason why these songs stand the test of time. Most listen to feel they’re not alone, and seek comfort.
    My sister works for the city’s mayor where people are getting furloughs and will be layed off pretty hard.
    It’s all over. And how can there be jobs when most of them are outside the U.S.–our companies offering employment where labor is cheap!
    Much needs to change to be certain citizens of this great country are taken care of first in my opinion.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Well I don’t know about the rest of our town, but here at home it’s 50%. tee hee
    Things will get better. They always do.
    Loved listending to Pap and Paul!!!

  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    February 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Dee from Tennessee
    Well we are right at the 11-12% rate too (I think– it may actually be higher) — haven’t seen Dec. rate yet. And I don’t believe that doesn’t count the ones whose benefits have expired. You can’t buy a job here right now. WBIR announced another plant closing in our neighboring county — it’s just really hard. We are so blessed that we are both working…so blessed.
    Great job as usual by Pap and hubby. (And Vicki (I think)…I love Mike Craver and Red Clay Ramblers…saw them last at the Fold and that was a long time ago. Love to hear them sing “Daniel Prayed.”)

  • Reply
    Donna W
    February 6, 2010 at 3:34 pm

    One of the regular readers of my blog directed me, knowing how partial I am to folk music. I love this! I just posted a video of this song (done by other people) on a blog entry a couple of days ago.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2010 at 11:56 am

    Tipper, I believe some of these great songs like that one stay around so long because it means something to so many people.
    People can relate to those songs because it makes them not forget the bad times and what they had to do to get out of them.

  • Reply
    February 6, 2010 at 11:28 am

    I love this song. Have you heard the album, “Beautiful Dreamer-The Songs of Stephen Foster”? It has a lot of my favorite artists singing his songs. Fantastic!
    Unemployment rate in Durham is 7.9%. We are fortunate that my husband has a much needed skill set in his particular area of software programming, so even though he was laid off in October, he has found plenty of well-paid contract jobs. We have had plenty of hard times in our short 7 years of marriage, but God has always provided what we needed when we needed it.
    We are praying He does the same for all of those without jobs and are seeking ways to be generous. That’s one thing I love about Appalachian communities. People help each other. We’re trying to instill that value in our kids, even though we don’t live there anymore.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    February 5, 2010 at 10:45 pm

    Tipper: Into every life a little rain must fall, so hard times will return. Of course up North this comes in the form of snow.

  • Reply
    Rick M
    February 5, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    Chattanooga has an unemployment rate of 8.6% But thank the Lord
    my wife and I both still have our jobs.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Nice job on the song. Yes, it is interesting how some songs seem to last forever and some are played a few times and gone.
    The sentiment is certainly current. Hard times abound.
    I have seen a time in the past when I was unemployed and didn’t have a clue what was coming next in my life. But with that said I have never been without something to eat and a place to sleep. That means that a have been and still am richly blessed!
    We will get through this!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    I live in Utah — our county must be doing really well because the rate is only 5.5%. However, my unemployed friends would say, “Who cares what they say the rate is. I don’t have a job!” Tough times are everywhere aren’t they?

  • Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 4:48 pm

    Hi Tipper, I love many of Stephen Foster’s songs. Some that come to mind are My Old Kentucky HOme, Camptown Races and Jeanie with the Light Brown Hair… Oh–the memories.. Thanks for sharing!!!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    February 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm

    A very nice rendition! I first heard this song done by Mike Craver with The Red Clay Ramblers — haunting. . .

  • Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 4:12 pm

    I just checked on line and in Dec 2008 Jackson Co’s (WV) rate was 5.2 and in Dec 2009 it was 12.9. Pretty big difference I’d say.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 4:07 pm

    In Bradenton FL we are at 10.5 % unemployment, hard times are here, we depend on tourist trade and winter visitors and they are not here this year. we have had several large factories close, thousands outof work. our foreclousue were at 5000 for one month last year and continue at around 500 county wide per month. my son who lives in TN was laid off from a log house warehouse in April of 08 and has not found work since. they are struggling. I like the song

  • Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 3:51 pm

    To clarify my previous comment: The unemployment rate does not take into account all those who went back to school when their unemployment benefits ended and they still were jobless. Nor does it count the number that lost their job and then had to “retire” even though they really WANT and NEED to be working. It is down right depressing to go into a coffe shop around here that has free internet wireless,the places are packed with the unemployed and underemployed, those working part time until something comes along full time.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 3:22 pm

    I had to google to look it up. Only found the state figures for January 2010: 6.9% for the state a jump of one whole percentage point from the previous month and the highest rate since 1993 here in Massachusetts. 40,000 jobs were lost in November and December 2009 alone. I expect this number to go up as we have heard of many more layoffs and have seen more store closings in the past two weeks. Some people we know are leaving the state for a hopefully brighter future elsewhere, others are saying they are changing professions hopefully, when their work on their master programs are finished in May. I read the local paper and know that there are families hurting as in our small community we have three foreclosure postings again in this weeks paper. Different ones evry week but the number is usually 3 to 5 of them.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Jefferson City Missouri has an unemployment rate of 4.9%
    My daughter in Oklahoma City has been laid off since last fall. She is a television producer.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    The unemployment rate in Detroit is nearly 50%:
    “The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that for the year that ended in September, Michigan’s official unemployment rate was 12.6 percent. Using the broadest definition of unemployment, the state unemployment rate was 20.9 percent, or 66 percent higher than the official rate. Since Detroit’s official rate for October was 27 percent, that broader rate pushes the city’s rate to as high as 44.8 percent.”
    I give thanks every day for the job I have and pray for those whose days are filled looking for work to keep their stomachs content and/or a roof over their heads.

  • Reply
    February 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

    I believe here in NE Arkansas, our unemployment is about 9.5%. we’ve had some new industry move in, and that has kept us below the national average.

  • Reply
    Chef E
    February 5, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    Oh Tipper I enjoyed that! 🙂
    They are good, I would have them play at my open mic night on Tuesdays…music does ease the hard times…it did as my mom and dad would sing to the radio and we danced in the kitchen…

  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    February 5, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    In my little area of east TN, they’re saying the unemployment rate is 10.9%. I see foreclosures listed in our local paper each week. It’s a sad situation.

  • Leave a Reply