Songs of the Civil War [Folkways]

Songs of the Civil War [Folkways]

by Pete Seeger


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Recorded as a tie-in with editor Irwin Silber's book of the same name (itself published to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the conflict), Songs of the Civil War presents 33 tracks on two discs performed by a variety of folksingers including Pete Seeger & the New Lost City Ramblers. Silber's book has words and music for more than another 90, but this subsection is a representative sampling of the kinds of songs that were inspired by the war, nearly all of them written during the era. (Irving Gordon's recently composed "Two Brothers" is the exception.) Some remain well-known, such as "John Brown's Body," "Battle Cry of Freedom," "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," and "Battle Hymn of the Republic," while others haven't been heard much in the ensuing century. Some were written by professional songwriters like George F. Root or Daniel Emmett, but many have unknown origins. The styles range from marching songs (note that all the best-remembered ones seem to be marches) to sentimental ballads, and the subject matter from general statements of patriotism to specific accounts of historical events. (Both "The Cumberland and the Merrimac" and "Cumberland Crew" recount the story of the sinking of a wooden Northern ship by the first Southern "ironclad.") More present the Yankee than the Confederate point of view, but the Rebels do get their say, from the stirring "Bonnie Blue Flag" to the slyly humorous "Richmond Is a Hard Road to Travel." The singers, accompanying themselves on folk instruments, sing in rough harmonies with untrained voices, providing a convincing approximation of what the songs may have sounded like when they were originally sung. Silber's notes place the songs in context, and the overall package makes for an unusually entertaining piece of aural history.

Product Details

Release Date: 05/30/2012
Label: Folkways Records
UPC: 0093070571723
catalogNumber: 5717
Rank: 107826


  1. John Brown's Body
  2. Johnny Is My Darling
  3. Billy Barlow
  4. Somebody's Darling
  5. Old Abe Lincoln
  6. The Vacant Chair
  7. Lincoln and Liberty
  8. Roll, Alabama, Roll
  9. Clear the Track
  10. Tramp, Tramp, Tramp
  11. Bonnie Blue Flag
  12. Tenting Tonight
  13. Richmond Is a Hard Road to Travel
  14. Battle Cry of Freedom
  15. The Cumberland and the Merrimac
  16. Just Before the Battle, Mother
  17. Farewell Mother
  18. [Disc]
  19. Weeping Sad and Lonely
  20. Marching Song of the First Arkansas
  21. Overtures from Richmond
  22. Pat Murphy of the Irish Brigade
  23. Goober Peas
  24. Cumberland Crew
  25. High Toned Southern Gentleman
  26. When Johnny Comes Marching Home
  27. Who Will Care for Mother Now?
  28. Marching Through Georgia
  29. No More Auction Block
  30. Kingdom Coming (Year of Jubilo)
  31. Booth Killed Lincoln
  32. Oh, I'm a Good Old Rebel
  33. Two Brothers
  34. Battle Hymn of the Republic

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Pete Seeger   Primary Artist

Technical Credits

Daniel Decatur Emmett   Composer
Patrick S. Gilmore   Composer
John Hill Hewitt   Composer
George F. Root   Composer
Henry Clay Work   Composer
Irving Gordon   Composer
Harry Macarthy   Composer
Charles Carroll Sawyer   Composer
Henry Tucker   Composer
Francis Child   Composer
Julia Ward Howe   Composer
Jesse Hutchinson   Composer
Walter Kittredge   Composer
Daniel Emmett   Composer
Marie Revenal De La Coste   Composer
Innes C.S.A. Randolph   Composer
John R. Thompson   Composer
Henry J. Washburn   Composer
Father Reed   Composer
Lindley Miller   Composer

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