“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.”
By 1987, “Homespun Songs of the C.S.A.” Volumes 1 and 2 were exceeding expectations. In fact, my dealers told me their customers wanted more music. There were still many “unrecorded” tunes that I had found, so I produced this one - the third in my series of authentic Confederate songs. Like all the others, I played all the instruments, performed the vocals, did the cover and liner notes by hand, and recorded here in my home production studio on my old eight channel analog recorder (state of the art in 1987) – hence the “Homespun” in the title. Many of the instruments used in this recording are from the “period”. The instruments used are varied with banjo, fiddle, mandolin, guitar, whistle, concertina, hammer dulcimer, cornet, baritone horn, drums, and piano.
The recording features several soldier “campfire” tunes: “Old Abner’s Shoes” (also known as “I can Whip the Scoundrel”), “Root Hog, or Die” (a song written about the Southern victory at 1st Manassas), “Goober Peas”, “Katy Wells” (this one was a favorite of the common soldier), the popular Texas tune “Gay and Happy”, and a song that documents the hardships of soldier life in the trenches during the Siege of Vicksburg, “A Life On The Vicksburg Bluff”. Martial tunes with military band instruments include “Cheer Boys Cheer” (the unofficial theme song for the soldiers in The Army of Tennessee), and “Boys Keep Your Powder Dry”. Other songs include: “God Save The Southern Land” (a wonderful, patriotic tune); “Somebody’s Darling” (a moving song about a wounded soldier); “The Southern Soldier Boy” (celebrates the love and devotion of a young lady for her own beloved); and “The Captain and His Whiskers” (this one suggests the social mores of the period and the gallantry of Southern manhood as seen through the eyes of a young lady); “The Drummer Boy of Shiloh” (describes the actual death of a very young soldier at The Battle of Shiloh); and “The Soldier’s Grave” (an emotional description of the burial of a Southern hero). The soldiers often used music to escape the realities and hardships of army life and total war: “Mister Here’s Your Mule”, and “The Reluctant Conscript” are comedic, novelty tunes that accomplished that purpose. “Wearing of the Gray” is a nostalgic post war song written by a veteran for veterans – this song moves me to the point that I have trouble getting through it. The recording closes with a big arrangement of “Dixie” that I did after an emotional trip to Shiloh National Military Park.