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Historic America Photography

What a Wonderful World

Statue of Louis Armstrong (1901-1971) by artist Ivan Schwartz on American Way in National Harbor, Maryland. Louis Armstrong was an accomplished jazz trumpeter from New Orleans.

Categories
Musings

Interview with Singer-Songwriter Bobbie Jean Ashley

Bobbie Jean Ashley is the seventh daughter of eight girls of Bud and Opal Ashley. She graduated in 1991 from Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois with a degree in Radio/Television communications. She has been singing since the age of four and writing songs since her teens. From 2000 to 2002, she sang with a band called Southtown and opened for Kentucky Headhunters at the Effingham County Fairgrounds. Boofuhluh is her first album.

How long have you been interested in singing/songwriting, and what inspired you to create this album at this time?

I’ve been writing songs since the age of 14/15 and have written close to 300 songs so far. Most I will never share with another person because they just aren’t ready for another’s ears but maybe one day I can rework some of them so that they are ready. The inspiration for this album came after a prayer I made to God and asked him why my life has been spared so many times at deaths door.

I’ve nearly died over 9 times. I was walking when I said that prayer and I looked down and saw a piece of string on the floor and I took that as a sign that I need to do my music. I wanted this album to be filled with inspiration, love, and beauty because of that sign and I dedicated this album in part to God.

Do you have a favorite song on the album, and why?

My favorite is “The Hope and the Love” which is the song I wrote for God. I’ve had several people tell me that this song was just what they needed during this time of COVID.

Categories
Musings

“Oh Lady” by Bobbie Jean Ashley

I haven’t posted about music in a while, but my friend Bobbie Ashley just recorded her first album and I think it’s really great. Bobbie hosts a morning show on WIKK 103.5 The Eagle in Newton, Illinois. She’s an author too!

Her new album is called Boofuhluh and it’s available on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, and more. It has nine tracks, including “Dream on Baby”, “Speak Up”, and “Oh Lady”. “Oh Lady” is among my favorites and you can listen to it above.

She describes her sound as folk Americana, and her strong voice reminds me of Joni Mitchell. I’m planning on having an interview with her up on my blog on Monday.

Categories
Historic America

Civil War Ballads: I’m Going to Fight Mit Sigel

This tongue-in-cheek song was written by John F. Poole (1833-1893) to the tune of “The girl I left behind me.” The 97th Regimental String Band recorded a version, “I Goes To Fight Mit Sigel,” for their 1999 album Songs of the Civil War, Vol. 7: Brass Mounted Army. The song is an unflattering portrayal of German-American soldiers in the Union army, written in a mock-German accent from the perspective of a German volunteer. The title is a reference to Union Major General Franz Sigel.

I’ve come shust now to tells you how
I goes mit regimentals;
To schlauch dem voes of Liberty
Like dem old Continentals;
Vot fights mit England long ago
To save de Yankee Eagle,
Un now I gets mine sojer clothes,
I’m going to fight mit Sigel.

Ven I comes from de Deutsche Countree,
I vorks some dimes at baking,
Den I keeps a lager bier saloon,
Un den I goes shoe-making;
But now I was a sojer been
To save de Yankee Eagle;
To schlauch dem tam Secession volks,
I’m going to fight mit Sigel.

I gets ein tam big rifle guns,
Un puts him to mine shoulder,
Den march so bold. like big jack horse,
Un may been someding bolder;
I goes off mit de volunteers,
To save de Yankee Eagle,
To give dem rebel vellers fits,
I’m going to fight mit Sigel.

Categories
Historic America

Civil War Ballads: Hood’s Old Brigade

Hood’s Old Brigade“, or “On the March”, was written by Mollie E. Moore (1844–1909), a Southern poet who’s family was originally from Alabama. She moved to Texas in 1855, then to New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband after the war. Folksinger Bobby Horton put this poem to music for his album Homespun Songs of the C​.​S​.​A​.​, Volume 5 (1996). Horton’s accent and rapid cadence made it difficult to transcribe, but I was able to reconcile some of the more indiscernible lyrics with the original poem.

Twas midnight when we built our fires
We marched at half past three
We know not when our march shall end
Nor care–we follow Lee.
The starlight gleams on many a crest
And many a well-trod blade
This handful marching on our left
This lin’ is our brigade.

Our lin’ is short because its veins
So lavishly have bled
The missing search the countless planes
For battles it has led
There are those Georgians on the right
Their ranks are thinin’ too
How in one company they say
They now can count but two

There’s not much talkin’ down the lines
Nor shoutin’ down the gloam [twilight]
For when the night is ’round us
Then we’re thinkin’ most of home

I saw a young soldier startled
When we passed an open glade
Where the low starlight, leaf, and bough
A fairy picture made
Nor has he uttered a word since then
My heart can whisper why
‘Twas like the spot in Texas
Where he bade his love goodbye

Categories
Historic America

Civil War Ballads: Savannah

“Savannah” was written by the heavy metal band Civil War for their album The Last Full Measure (2016), named after Jeff Shaara’s historical novel. Guitarists Oskar Montelius and Rikard Sundén, drummer Daniel Mullback, and keyboardist Daniel Mÿhr left the band Sabaton to form Civil War in 2012. Like the traditional song “Marching through Georgia,” “Savannah” recounts Major General William T. Sherman’s “March to the Sea.”

Come along now boys we’ve got so many miles to go
It has been so many fights and now it’s time to show
What a boy is really made of
What a man’s prepared to die for
Be a killer angel in the army under God

Mississippi soldiers, Army of the Tennessee
If you talk the talk you’d better walk the walk with me
It is time to play with fire, being judge without a trial
Army of Georgia set the devil in you free

We’re rolling like thunder, we burn and we plunder
The Principle of the scorched earth
Civilians are dying the children are crying
But this is the way of the world

Categories
Historic America

Civil War Ballads: Yankee Bayonet (I Will Be Home Then)

Indie rock band The Decemberists wrote and recorded “Yankee Bayonet” for their fourth album, The Crane Wife (2006). It’s a classic tale of lost love during wartime.

Heart-carved tree trunk, Yankee bayonet
A sweetheart left behind
Far from the hills of the sea-swelled Carolinas
That’s where my true love lies

Look for me when the sun-bright swallow
Sings upon the birch bough high
But you are in the ground with the voles and the weevils
All a’chew upon your bones so dry

But when the sun breaks
To no more bullets in Battle Creek
Then will you make a grave
For I will be home then
I will be home then
I will be home then
I will be home then
Then

When I was a girl how the hills of Oconee
Made a seam to hem me in
There at the fair when our eyes caught, careless
Got my heart right pierced by a pin