Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Spring of '61

The 150th anniversary of the firing on Ft. Sumter seems an appropriate enough time to end the recent, unplanned hiatus of this blog. I have been thinking of focusing more on Civil War-related subjects in the midst of national commemoration.

Commemoration is often confused with celebration. While I would like to avoid using the occasion of the "Sesquicentennial" to perpetuate the mythologization of the Civil War into some Homeric epic, I also feel compelled to admit the obvious. It is beyond my capacity to truly comprehend the magnitude of the losses the people of this country experienced in the period of 1861-1865 and the years that followed. I cannot speak for the dead, nor can I venture to say I know the best way to honor them. There was a time when I at least believed that their sacrifices were necessary. I don't know what to believe anymore. Platitudes and generalizations help fit the Civil War into a tight little narrative to comfort and inspire the living. But the dead flit in and out of our peripheral, whispering inaudibly in the dark spaces or resting in eternal light or tucked into a dusty library shelf or shimmering in our hearts and minds or nothing nowhere at all.

I humbly submit this blog neither as a place to analyze military tactics and political strategies nor to anthologize the most important minds and bravest heroes, but as a mere dance in the dark. I am most interested in candlelight flickers, faces in the smoke, stories, songs, poems, images of the common and uncommon, heroes, deserters, civilians alike, their colloquial sounds, their pleasures and pains, their ghosts and reincarnations.

After a number of suggestions from various directions, I've changed the Civil War mixtape a little bit. Thanks to all those who provided feedback and criticism. Thanks also to the Irate Pirate and Gadaya, whose phenomenal blogs contributed several of the songs here. And of course, thank you to anyone who actually reads my ramblings.

Download: Spring of '61

1) French Carpenter - "Camp Chase"
2) J.D. Cornett - "Spring of '65"
3) Walt Whitman - Excerpt from "America"
4) Thomas Alexander (37th NC veteran) - Rebel Yell
5) Glen Faulkner - "Short-Cycle Blues Pattern)
6) Camptown Shakers - "Ol' Dan Tucker"
7) Clifton Hicks - "Going Across the Mountain"
8) Doc Watson and Gaither Carlton - "And Am I Born to Die (Idumea)"
9) Len Spencer and Company - Excerpt from Uncle Tom's Cabin
10) Hobart Smith - "Cuckoo Bird"
11) Tommy Jarrell & Fred Cockerham - "John Brown's Dream"
12) Frank C. Stanley - "Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep"
13) Rutherford, Burnett And Moore - "Cumberland Gap"
14) Bascom Lamar Lunsford - "The Mermaid Song"
15) Bob Flesher - "Jim Along Josie"
16) Seán Ó Riada & Le Celtóirí Chualan With Darach Ó Catháin - "Ag Scaipeadh Na gCleití"
17) Carolina Chocolate Drops - "Dixie"
18) Texas Gladden - "Two Brothers"
19) Wayne Erbsen - "Southern Soldier Boy"
20) 16 Horsepower - "Wayfaring Stranger"
21) Seneca Indians - Funeral Chant
22) Dillard Chandler - "The Soldier Traveling From the North"
23) Buell Kazee - "The Dying Soldier (Brother Green)"
24) Eck Robertson - "Run Boy Run"
25) Frank Kittrell - "Want to Go to Meeting"
26) Woody Guthrie - "Buffalo Gals"
27) John McCormack - "Kathleen Mavourneen"

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