“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.”
Interest in The War Between the States was strong during the period of the 1980’s and I got requests from dealers and friends who had my Volumes 1, 2, and 3 for more Confederate music. I was more than happy to oblige for I had many uncovered tunes just waiting to be recorded. As I continuously researched songs from the 1860’s I became more aware of the importance of music to the soldiers as well as the citizens. The destruction of total war, both in lives and property, caused the people to turn to music for escape, for the boosting of morale, to celebrate the lives and heroic actions of fallen soldiers, to remind people of the causes for which they were making sacrifices, and to chronicle important battles.
This volume features several patriotic Southern songs: “Dixie, The Land of King Cotton” was a wildly popular tune; James Pierpoint, a former New Englander and citizen of Savannah, GA, wrote two such songs of patriotism – “We Conquer Or Die” and “Strike for the South”. Mr. Pierpoint was the composer of the popular “Jingle Bells” in the 1850’s. Two songs are presented that were written to celebrate the bravery and sacrifice of the Southern soldier: “The March of the Southern Men” honors Southern gallantry and “When Upon the Field of Glory” is a song of Southern sacrifice. One of the more interesting songs written during the war dealt with the evils of drinking – “Think of Your Head in the Morning”, written to be performed on the stage, was used by those espousing temperance in society and especially the army. Many period tunes honor the girl left behind as she sends her true love off to war; “Johnny Has Gone for a Soldier” and “Pray, Maiden, Pray” are two such songs. Soldiers have used music to complain about the army and to make light of their circumstances and hardships; “The Brass Mounted Army” is a delightful tune sung by the privates to complain about their officers, and “Short Rations (To The Corn-fed Army of Tennessee)”, a favorite of men in The Army of Tennessee, makes light of their privations. “The Soldier with a Wooden Leg”, and the popular dance tune, “Soldier’s Joy”, were favorites around the campfire. “Roll Alabama Roll” was a popular sea shanty that tells the story of the most famous of all Confederate warships, the C. S. S. Alabama.
Through the ages civilizations have used music to record their history. Since public education is a relatively new concept, previous generations have been mostly illiterate, but they could and did learn their history in song lyrics. These songs would be passed from father to son through the ages. Were it not for Blind Harry, the troubadour, we would not know about William Wallace, Scotland’s national hero, and Mel Gibson would have never done his great movie Braveheart. There are two such songs included here that tell such stories: “Richmond Is A Hard Road To Travel” tells of numerous, unsuccessful Yankee attempts to capture Richmond: and “The Battle Of Shiloh Hill”, written by a common soldier shortly after the horrible battle, is a moving, first hand account of what he saw and how if affected him.
In this volume, I played all the instruments, sang all the vocals, drew the cover and liner notes by hand, and recorded in my home production studio – hence the “Homespun” in the title. Many of the instruments played date back to the ‘period’ and include: banjo, mandolin, fiddle, guitar, tin whistle, dulcimer, piano, trumpet (cornet), baritone horn, harmonica, and drums.