“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 6th in my series of authentic Confederate music. Because most of the big Southern “hits” of the 1860’s are found on C.S.A. vols. 1 – 5, I am proud to present many lesser known, yet important songs here. Like each of my other recordings; I played each instrumental part (many of the instruments heard were made in the 19th century), performed each vocal, hand drew the cover and liner notes, and recorded here in my home production studio – hence the “Homespun” in the title.
Several of these tunes were actually written by Confederate soldiers. Captain E. Lloyd Wailes of Kirk’s Ferry Rangers penned “Confederate Song” to be sung on July 4, 1861 as the ladies of Catahoula, Louisiana presented his unit with their hand made flag. In “Our Boys Are Gone”, Colonel Hamilton Washington wrote the lyrics to the well known Irish melody, “The Minstrel Boy”. One of my favorites on this recording was written by Private Robert Riley Berry on December 13, 1862 while he was on picket duty in Readiville, Tennessee - he named the song “I Love To Be A Soldier”. One of the most unique songs contained here was written by an unknown member of Company H, 4th Texas Cavalry. In this song, the author reveals how each member of his unit was captured while on patrol -- The title is “The Capture of 17 of Co. H, 4th Texas Cavalry”.
Songwriters of the 1860’s wrote many patriotic Southern tunes. Presented here are several such songs: “God Will Defend the Right” was written by an unknown lady in Richmond, Virginia; “God Save the South”, written by Ernest Halphin and Charles W. A. Ellerbrock, was considered to be the national hymn of The Confederacy; Stephen Glover wrote patriotic lyrics to a British Crimean War melody and named his composition “The Southern Watchword”; and M. F. Bigney, Esq. wrote the stirring “The Stars of Our Banner” in early 1862.
This Scottish song, “Annie Laurie”, was so beloved by Southerners that most military bands played it. Presented here is a traditional, period arrangement. Another ‘pop’ song in this volume, written by Benedict Roefs, describes a child questioning his mother on the status of the battle. Because of the look on his mother’s face, he senses that his father was killed; the song is entitled “Mother Is the Battle Over?”.
“The Battle of Shiloh” is unique because it was written by a Southern soldier on the night of April 6, 1862. At that time, the Confederates had pushed General Grant’s army back against the Tennessee River and the common soldiers in gray felt as if they had won the battle. This song reflects this belief.
There were many songs written in the South as the war progressed that was to bolster waning morale and to remind the soldiers and civilians why they were fighting. “The South”, by Charlie Wildwood and John Hill Hewitt reinforced Southern pride; “Take Me Home” reminded the soldier of his fond memories of home, and the loved ones there; and the song, “My Southern Land” by Mrs. Mary L. Wilson of Texas, raised the people’s spirits when the war was turning against the South.
Wounded young soldiers would often call out for their mothers when they were sick or wounded. This was the inspiration for Charles Carroll Sawyer’s very moving song, “Mother Would Comfort Me”.
On November 30, 1864, General Patrick Cleburne was marching with his division with The Army of Tennessee on the Franklin Pike. He observed one of the officers in his command pass him with bare, bleeding feet. While on a short rest, Cleburne reportedly gave the officer his boots and rode away on his horse barefooted. Late in the afternoon Cleburne’s command, with the rest of the army, charged the Yankee works at Franklin, Tennessee. Late that evening the battle finally ended. During the night the Union Army withdrew to Nashville. When the sun rose the next day, General Cleburne’s body was found with no shoes on his feet. A lady from Texas heard this moving story and wrote this wonderful tribute to Cleburne, called “O! No He’ll Not Need Them Again”.
When studying this war, one cannot help being overwhelmed by feelings of pride, affection, awe, and reverence for the young Southern volunteers who answered their country’s call in the 1860’s. These feelings are effectively addressed in the poem, “Southern Birthright”, by Mr. Monte Akers of Texas. With his permission, I put it to music and use the song to close the album.