The Cumberland Three
's second and third albums combined on one CD, and reissued in the wake of Ken Burns
' Civil War series. Songs of the Civil War
are spirited performances, based on arrangements by Oscar Brand
or the group members, with only one original ("Bessie") by John Stewart
, that fits in perfectly with the period material. The original order of release put the North's volume first, but the CD puts the South's songs first among the 23 tracks. The material holds up remarkably -- some of the more familiar songs include "The Yellow Rose of Texas," "Hold Our Glasses Steady," "Story of the Lamb" (aka "Rally Round the Flag Boys"), "Bring the Good Old Bugle" (aka "Marching Through Georgia"), "Back to Home," and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." The singing and playing are of a very high caliber, with "Gonna Get You" being perhaps the best sung song here, followed closely by "Shipmates Come Gather," stunningly moving performances of "The Boys Are Home" (aka "When Johnny Comes Marching Home"), and "Battle Hymn of the Republic." And "Bring the Good Old Bugle" offers Stewart
's best banjo work.