“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.”
This is the second in my series of Confederate music. I used original sheet music, 19th century song books, and the oral tradition to gather the material presented here. Like the others, I did the cover and liner notes by hand, played all the instruments, did all the singing, and recorded here in my home production studio (in 1986 on an 8-track analog recorder) – hence the “Homespun” in the title. I cover a variety of musical styles of the 1860’s, and play a wide array of 19th century instruments, or reproductions thereof, including banjo, fiddle, guitar, mandolin, hammer dulcimer, whistle, mandolin, cornets, baritone horns, drums, fife, bones with vocals.
Prior to the audio technology boom of the 20th century, music was often the only outlet for common folks to express their patriotism and pride in their military exploits; to vent their anger with officers, politicians and the enemy; to mourn the loss of comrades and the destruction of property around them; to express the desire to see home and loved ones again. To sing their songs helps us more clearly understand these people and makes them even more endearing.
The recording features two patriotic Southern tunes: “Wait For The Wagon” and “The Virginia Marseillaise”, written by Rouget De L’isle. Confederate victories on the battlefield are celebrated in “For Bales” (Kirby Smith and Richard Taylor’s defeat of Nathaniel P. Banks’ Union Army in the Red River Campaign), and “Cumberland Gap” (the 1862 victory by Kirby Smith over George Morgan in Tennessee). Confederate heroes are honored in “Sonewall’s Requiem” (M. Deeves’ song of mourning on the death of General Stonewall Jackson), and Eugene Raymond honors the famous General from Kentucky in “The John Hunt Morgan Song”. The young Southern boy leaving home for the army is chronicled in two John Hill Hewitt tunes: “You Are Going To The Wars Willie Boy”, and “The Young Volunteer”. “Jine the Cavalry”, written by General J. E. B. Stuart and his staff, was used as a recruiting tool. Several songs loved by the common soldier are included: “The Upidee Song” deals with soldier complaints about the bugler; “The Plains of Manassas” chronicles the lickin’ of the Yankees in the first major battle of the war; and Abraham Lincoln is belittled in “Old Abe Lies Sick”. Two instrumentals are included, “Rock of Ages” / “On Jordan’s Stormy Banks”, and “Dixie”. “The Kennesaw Line”, a modern song written by Don Oja-Dunaway, is based on the writing of Sam Watkins, Co. H, 1st Tennessee Infantry, in his marvelous book, Co. Aytch.