Since the violence in Virginia yesterday may suggest to some that we have another civil war brewing, I thought it might be appropriate to play some songs of the original American Civil War, or inspired by it. I’m sure they’ll be familiar to my readers.
Let’s start with a folk song that was written long before the Civil War, but became popular with both sides, and was also widely sung as a sea shanty. It’s ‘Oh Shenandoah‘, performed here by Chanticleer.
‘Tenting Tonight‘ was popular with Union Army troops, but ‘crossed the line’ to be sung in the South as well (not surprising, since its words are non-sectarian).
Finally, here’s one that many people mistakenly think is a Civil War-era ballad, but was actually written after World War II by Irving Gordon. Nevertheless, it fits the Civil War so well that it’s frequently used as incidental music for re-enactments, film and TV productions, etc. It’s ‘Two Brothers’. My favorite performance is by the Johnny Mann Singers, but that doesn’t seem to be available online; so here’s a 1967 rendition by Dusty Springfield.
Let’s hope we don’t sink any deeper into the current morass of political, social, cultural and sectarian division, to produce another crop of songs about a new civil war.