“A seasoned performer, Bobby Horton is a multi-instrumentalist, a composer, producer, and a music historian. For more than 30 years he has performed with the musical-comedy group Three On A String. He has also produced and performed music scores for ten Ken Burns PBS films, including ‘The Civil War’, ‘Baseball’, and ‘Mark Twain’, two films for the A & E Network, plus sixteen films for The National Park Service. His series of recordings of authentic “period” music has been acclaimed by historical organizations and publications throughout America and Europe.”
While working on music for a film in 1984, I discovered a large collection of music that had been written during The War Between the States. Although I had been a student of that war since childhood, I had no idea how important music was to our ancestors; there were literally thousands of songs written, published, and sold in the form of sheet music.
After the film project, I got the idea of making a recording using the songs I had found. I decided to present a variety of musical compositions, such as string band tunes, parlor songs, and military band music. While some of my arrangements and settings are based on photographs of soldiers holding a wide variety of instruments, many of them are traditional. I designed and hand sketched the cover and liner notes based on “period” sheet music. I played all the instruments, sang all the vocals, and recorded here in my home production studio on an old analog 8 track recorder – hence the name “Homespun” in the title. Whenever possible, I played instruments dating back to the 19th century, or reproductions of those used by our ancestors. Because of this process of recreating the songs they knew and loved, I feel closer to these amazing people.
This recording features several patriotic Southern tunes: “Everybody’s Dixie” (the soldiers’ version of Dixie), “God Save The South”, played with a cornet, dating back to a New Jersey regimental band, “Battle Cry of Freedom” (Southern version), “Maryland My Maryland”, “The Bonnie Blue Flag”, and the guitar version of “Dixie” that was used by Ken Burns. Several ‘pop’ songs are included: “Rose of Alabama”, “The Yellow Rose of Texas”, “Home Sweet Home” (instrumental), and “Lorena”. Several of these tunes were written during the war describing life and events in the armies and on the home front: “Maryland My Maryland”, “All Quiet Along The Potomac Tonight”, “Stonewall Jackson’s Way”, “The Homespun Dress”, “The Rebel Soldier”, “ ‘Twas At The Siege of Vicksburg”, and “Riding A Raid”. Other selections include an obscure song, “Long Ago”, written twenty years after the conflict by an Alabama veteran, and the famous post war tune written during the hardships and bitterness of Reconstruction, “Oh! I’m A Good Old Rebel”.