O Holy Night

Something for the weekend.  A powerful rendition of O Holy Night by Tennessee Ernie Ford and Gordon MacRae.  Written in 1847 by Adolph Adam, a French composer who was asked by his parish priest to compose a carol for Christmas.  In 1855 Unitarian minister John Sullivan Dwight created an English version of the carol which has been immensely popular in America ever since.  In 1906 the carol was the second piece of music to be broadcast on radio.


Published in: on December 11, 2021 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on O Holy Night  
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The Girls Would Cry Shame and They’d Volunteer


Something for the weekend.  The immortal Tennessee Ernie Ford singing The Why and the Wherefore, a popular marching song for Union troops during the Civil War: (more…)

Published in: on February 8, 2020 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on The Girls Would Cry Shame and They’d Volunteer  
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Nearer, My God, To Thee


Something for the weekend.  Nearer, My God, to Thee, sung by Mahalia Jackson.  Written in 1841 by Sarah Fuller Flower Adams, it retells the story of Jacob’s Dream.  A hymn of surpassing power in time of grief and loss, it was played by Confederate bands after Pickett’s Charge, and was sounded while the Rough Riders buried their dead.  Its title was the last words said by a dying President McKinley and the band on the Titanic ended their heroic service by playing the hymn as the ship sank beneath the waves. (more…)

Published in: on May 20, 2017 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Nearer, My God, To Thee  
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Virginia’s Bloody Soil

Something for the weekend.  Virginia’s Bloody Soil sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  One hundred and fifty years ago the Battle of the Wilderness was to be fought in two days, the opening act in Grant’s Overland Campaign which would see 55,000 Union casualties and 33,000 Confederate casualties in under two months.  By the end of the campaign there were cries of “Grant the Butcher” throughout the North, the price of gold had doubled and Lincoln seemed destined for defeat in the fall.  However, Petersburg, the rail nexus that supplied Richmond from the south, was under siege by the Army of the Potomac, and Grant could fully replace his casualties while Lee could not.  A very grim war was about to get a lot grimmer a century and a half ago as it remorselessly ground towards its conclusion. (more…)

I Can Whip the Scoundrel

Something for the weekend.  I Can Whip the Scoundrel sung by the immortal Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Some Civil War songs are more obscure than others, and I had to research a bit to find any background on this song.  Baldwin referred to at the beginning of the song is Baldwin, Florida which represented the high water mark of attempts by Union forces in 1864 to take control of Florida.  The song is told from the perspective of a Confederate POW.  Go here to view the lyrics of the song.  I think that if Tennessee Ernie Ford hadn’t included the song in Civil War Songs of the South in 1961, it would be completely forgotten today.

Published in: on July 13, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments (4)  
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Stonewall Jackson’s Way

“And Thou knowest O Lord, when Thou didst decide that the Confederacy should not succeed, Thou hadst first to remove thy servant, Stonewall Jackson.”

Father D. Hubert, Chaplain, Hay’s Louisiana Brigade, upon the dedication of the statue of Stonewall Jackson on May 10, 1881 in New Orleans

Something for the weekend.  After the 150th anniversary of Chancellorsville only Stonewall Jackson’s Way, sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, seems appropriate.  The song is a fitting evocation of the man, who, if he had not been mortally wounded at Chancellorsville, might well have with Lee brought about a war ending victory for the Confederacy at Gettysburg.  I fully agree with Father Hubert that the death of General Jackson was probably a necessary factor in the defeat of the Confederacy.  As a military team he and Lee were able to accomplish military miracles and with his death the Confederacy could still rely upon the endless courage of their ragged warriors and the brilliance of Lee, but the age of military miracles in the Civil War ended with the passing of Jackson.

The song was taken from a poem found on the body of a dead Confederate sergeant after the First Battle of Winchester, May 25, 1862: (more…)

Onward Christian Soldiers

Something for the weekend.  Onward Christian Soldiers sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  The music was composed by Arthur Sullivan of Gilbert and Sullivan fame in 1871, with the words having been written in 1865 by Sabine-Baring-Gould.  It was popularized by the Salvation Army in America, being virtually their theme song.  When I have heard it, I have thought of this poem by Vachel Lindsay of Springfield, Illinois on the founder of the Salvation Army: (more…)

Marching Song of the First Arkansas

Something for the weekend.  Tennessee Ernie Ford gives a stirring rendition of the Marching Song of the First Arkansas Colored Regiment, one of the more famous endless variants of The Battle Hymn of the Republic. (more…)

Published in: on February 23, 2013 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on Marching Song of the First Arkansas  
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O God Our Help in Ages Past

Something for the weekend.  After the election results this week, I suspect that O God Our Help in Ages Past, sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford, will be of consolation to many of us.  Written by Isaac Watts in 1719 it is a magnificent hymn based on Psalm 89. (Psalm 90 in Protestant Bibles.)  The hymn is sung to the tune of Saint Anne written in 1708 by William Croft.  Here is the text of Psalm 89 which reminds us of the omnipotence of God in spite of the transitory events of this life that preoccupy us: (more…)

Published in: on November 10, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments Off on O God Our Help in Ages Past  
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North Dixie

A Union version of Dixie sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford.  Here is the regular version also sung by Tennessee Ernie Ford: (more…)

Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 5:30 am  Comments (2)  
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