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Songs of the Civil War
Various Artists
Songs of the Civil War
Genres: Country, Folk, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Soundtracks, Gospel
  •  Track Listings (25) - Disc #1

Kathy Mattea, Richie Havens, Waylon Jennings, John Hartford, Hoyt Axton, Ronnie Gilbert and other distinguished artists perform authentic songs from the Civil War period. — No Track Information Available — Media Type: CD — Ar...  more »


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CD Details

All Artists: Various Artists
Title: Songs of the Civil War
Members Wishing: 1
Total Copies: 0
Label: Sony
Original Release Date: 8/13/1991
Release Date: 8/13/1991
Genres: Country, Folk, Special Interest, Pop, Rock, Soundtracks, Gospel
Styles: Bluegrass, Outlaw Country, Classic Country, Today's Country, Traditional Folk, Contemporary Folk, Nostalgia, Singer-Songwriters, Oldies, By Decade, 1990s, Folk Rock, Country Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPCs: 074644860726, 074644860740


Product Description
Kathy Mattea, Richie Havens, Waylon Jennings, John Hartford, Hoyt Axton, Ronnie Gilbert and other distinguished artists perform authentic songs from the Civil War period.
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Street Release Date: 08/13/1991

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CD Reviews

Great Performances from Outstanding Performers
Theo Logos | Pittsburgh, PA | 05/04/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Civil War songs haunt my earliest memories. My father was a history buff who had his boys memorizing the Gettysburg Address before they entered kindergarten, and I cannot remember a time when I did not know the songs of the Union and Confederate soldiers. As someone who has known and loved these songs all my life, I must say that `Songs of the Civil War' is simply one of the best collections of this music that I have ever heard.
The songs on this collection were obviously selected with great care. Many of the greatest hits of the Civil War are here, like When Johnny Comes Marching Home, Dixie Land, and Marching through Georgia, but more obscure material has also been included, like Lincoln & Liberty, which was an unofficial campaign song for the Republican in the 1860 election. Both Union and Confederate songs are well represented. These songs do not attempt to recreate arrangements and instrumentation of the 1860s, and might not pass muster at a strict re-enactor's campfire, but they are outstanding examples of the best of folk, country, and gospel music.
The real strength of this CD is the all-star cast that performs these songs. Jay Unger is here, opening the CD with his haunting fiddle tune Ashokan Farewell, which gained fame through Ken Burn's Civil War documentary. The late, great John Hartford performed three songs, including the best rendition of Lorena that I have ever heard. Ever the good ol' Southern boy, Waylon Jennings lent his distinctive growl to fine versions of Rebel Soldier and An Old Unreconstructed. Hoyt Axton turned in my favorite performance on the CD with a near perfect rendition of Yellow Rose of Texas. I was initially put off by the country twang in Kathy Mattea's rendition of the mournful song of loss Vacant Chair, but through repeated listening, it grew on me as a beautiful alternate take on this sad old song. Sweet Honey in the Rock brought their amazing harmonies to songs of the experience of the black men and women around whose fate the Civil War raged. Their performances of No More Auction Block for Me and Run, Mourner Run bristle with power and beauty.
Whether you are an old fan of these songs adding to your Civil War collection, or are new to this music and are looking for a good introduction to this piece of American history in song, `Songs of the Civil War' is outstanding, and will not disappoint.

Theo Logos
A wonderful evocative collection
Simon Jackson | 08/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"As I sit here writing this review the CD `Songs of the Civil War' is playing in the background. There are two things, which surprise me; firstly that each time I listen to this collection I enjoy it that little bit more and secondly after playing it so much I'm surprised that the disc hasn't wore away to nothing! Ken Burns, the co-producer of this album and of course the producer of the spectacular TV series `The Civil War' suggests that "Music, songs are a kind of glue that holds our history together and binds the present with the past to form our most important memories." Unlike the soundtrack to the series, which is mainly traditional music and instrumentals `Songs of the Civil War', offers the listener a whole range of songs that capture the essence of the both the Civil War and the social and political philosophies that gave birth to it. There are songs from the perspective of both North and South, from the position of the soldier, from their families left behind, from the slaves on the auction block, ballads, foot stompers, humour and laments, they are all represented here and then there is Ashokan Farewell which still makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up! I highly recommend `Songs of the Civil War' to you and encourage you add not only it but also the soundtrack to the series to your music collection.Enjoy!"
An all-star collection of folk and country singers do "Songs
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 08/21/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)

"If you liked the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band's "Will the Circle Be Unbroken" or have actually heard of the album "White Mansions," then you would want to check out this 1991 collection of "Songs of the Civil War." The various artists are not only folk singers like Judy Collins and Richie Havens, but country singers such as Waylon Jennings and Kathy Mattea, and artists who work the area in between, namely John Hartford. But mainly this album is going to be of primary interest to those interested in the Civil War who will most enjoy hearing familiar songs sung by familiar voices, and certainly be introduced to both new songs and singers as well, such as when Sweet Honey in the Rock sings "No More Auction Block." Sometimes you will be surprised to learn who is singing what, as I was when Jennings did "Rebel Soldier," but that just speaks to why this is such a great album.

In fact, when the U.S. Military Band shows up to play instrumental version of "Dixie's Land" and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," it is something of a disappointment since these tracks are most like what we have heard on previous collections of Civil War music. I know that Havens is not doing "Follow the Drinking Gourd" the way it was done back in the 1850s, but I do not have a problem with his "modern" interpretation of the song sung by slaves traveling the Underground Railroad. The only one where I did not like the interpretation was when Hartford did "Lorena" more up tempo than I think the song should be sung. There are some liberties taken with the song selection, because while "Ashokan Farewell" is so closely identified with the Civil War because of the Ken Burns documentary, it is not a song "from" the Civil War (I suppose that semantically "of" gets the title off the hook). Not that I have gone through and checked the bona fides of each of these twenty-five songs. When Ronnie Gilbert of the Weavers shows up to sign the political song "Lincoln and Liberty," I am not about to complain. Hoyt Axton's "Yellow Rose of Texas" is about as far out of place as anything gets on the album, but he also does "Oh I'm a Good Ole Rebel," which is clearly on firmer ground.

What might be most impressive about this collection is the way it combines so many different musical styles, from Traditional Folk and Black Gospel to Bluegrass and Outlaw Country. There are more and you can quibble on the labels, but you get the point. Standout tracks for me were Mattea's "Southern Solider Boy," Hartford's tender "Aura Lee," Sweet Honey in the Rock's "Run, Mourner, Run," and the McGarrigle sisters on the Stephen Foster song "Better Times Are Coming." Actually, all three of the songs Kate and Anna sing on the album are by Stephen Foster, which certainly suits their harmonic talents. Mattea has three tracks as well and is as much of a standout performer on the album as anyone. Final Note: choosing to do "Marching Through Georgia" as an instrumental strikes me as making a point of avoiding having the lyrics of the most hated song of the Civil War (by far) on the album (not that there is anything wrong with that). The fact that "Songs of the Civil War" ends with Steve Luck blowing "Taps" is just a final reminder that they knew what they were doing when they put this album together."