The 2nd South Carolina String Band recorded their first album; WE'RE TENTING TONIGHT, in 1991. Containing 15 of the most popular songs of the War Between the States, it was well received from the start and continues to be a strong seller. In fact, it was so well received that the band was encouraged to produce a second album, WE ARE A BAND OF BROTHERS, released two years later in 1993. This recording profited from the experience gained since the first - being produced in a better studio with better technology - as well as from two more years of performances together by a band whose reputation was already spreading rapidly. This second album contained another 15 of the most well known songs of the era, thus making the two together a sort of "Top 30" of the Civil War.
Many years later, these two albums continue to attract listeners and fans, new and old. So much so that, pursuant to countless requests to bring them both out on CD, we have done just that! We are proud to offer the our first two albums together at last on one recording. The best of WE'RE TENTING TONIGHT and WE ARE A BAND OF BROTHERS, are here presented with a driving, spirited, and exciting sound worthy of the men whose memory and spirit we strive to honor and evoke.
Robert E. Lee once said, "We couldn't have an army without music."
Throughout history, music has always been of great importance to the military. The American Civil War was no exception. Critical group activities such as drilling and marching were taught to rhythm so as to forge automatic responses by constant repetition - an effective tool for teaching troops maneuvers needed for going into battle. Bugle calls and drum figures were components of music used to instruct new recruits and to guide veteran soldiers in the field.
But perhaps the most important use of music was not on the parade ground or battlefield. Often in war there are long periods between battles spent waiting in camp or bivouac. Boredom was one of the soldier's worst enemies and music in camp was one of his principal antidotes. On campaign, regimental brass bands and field musicians playing fife and drum performed on the march and in bivouac. In winter quarters it was the camp band or minstrel troupe's job to keep up morale. Every brigade had its own minstrel show, with commanders trading or commandeering the best talent for their band.
The 2nd South Carolina String Band is a true recreation of such a camp band. These musicians originally met as did those among the volunteers of 1861 - as riflemen in a company of infantry. This band was formed as theirs was - to entertain themselves and their comrades around the campfire. Since 1989 when they first began to play together, some of the founding members have retired and some new men joined, but the music has continued to improve and flourish.
Regarded by many as the best band of their kind in America, they have played in concert and at period dances at nearly all of the major national reenactments of the last ten years, for fund raisers as at the Museum of the Confederacy in Richmond, Virginia, and at the dedication ceremonies for the last two monuments to ever be placed at Gettysburg National Battlefield Park. Their music can also be heard in two of Ken Burns' films, JAZZ and MARK TWAIN, as well as in performance and on the sound track of Ted Turner's GODS &GENERALS.