Music reviewed

        A small volume of music is available from specialist dealers in the UK but hundreds of titles are available in the USA, again from specialist dealers. In an attempt to help you to choose we, John Raynor and myself haves reviewed some of those available. As these are our personnel taste we cannot be held liable if you do not like them. JR means reviewed by John Raynor, the remainder are by myself.
Wayne Erbsen. 'Southern Mountain Classics' (JR)
Although not strictly Civil War music a lot of the tunes would have been popular the civilian population. This is a collection of old time tunes that are not likely to go out of style tomorrow or even the day after that. These melodies have been prized as long as there have been fiddlers to rub a chunk of rosin on a bow, square dancers to lace up their shoes, or banjo players to pick out a song on an old banjo. These tunes have remained classics because they were great the moment they were written and, if anything have only improved with age.
Various Artists. 'Songs of the Civil War (JR)
If you have seen the Ken Burns epic II hour  made for television documentary then you will recognise most of the songs on this CD. The actual music throughout the series was all instrumental but because of the popularity of the series it was decided to bring this CD out to compliment the Video tapes of the epic. The very first song is 'Ashokan Farewell' which is a modern song composed in 1982 by Jay Ungar which became very popular because of the series. It is even reputed to have been the instigator of a whole new revival in Civil War music.
8th Regimental Band, Georgia Volunteer Infantry. 'Best of the 8th Regiment Band' (JR)
This is the counterpart of the Band of the 8th Regiment, Georgia Volunteer Infantry, whose men gallantly served their homeland from 1st Manassas in 1861 to Appomattox in 1865. They chose to recreate this particular band when research revealed that it was perhaps the largest Georgia Band and the first to go to the Army in Virginia. Original band scores and authentically styled arrangements from the period piano scones are combined with original mid 19th century instruments and loving care to produce the band's program.
Various Artists 'White Mansions' (JR)
The Southern Skirmish Association was involved in the production of the booklet which accompanies the album and their is a photograph of SOSKAN members on the notes with the CD. I am told that these photos etc were shot at Dodington House. White Mansions is a portrayal of life in the Confederate States of America 1861-1865. The high hopes and deep sorrow of the Southern people are reflected in the experiences of the four characters whose combined words tell the tale of the American Civil War. All the songs and original idea was written and composed by Paul Kennerly except 'White Trash' by Leadon & Kennerly.
The Americus Brass Band
'Music of the Civil War' (JR)
If you like brass band music, especially played on instruments from the period then this is the album for you. The band is the world's foremost Civil War replica band which performs on authentic period instruments. They have appeared in the ABC television mini-series The North and the South, the CBS television movie Once Upon a Texas Train and the IMAX movie Alamo: The Price of Freedom. The group has also performed sound tracks for the NBC television mini-series Son of the Morning Star and the Tri-Star Picture, Oscar winning movie, Glory.
Jim Taylor 'The Civil War Collection' (JR)  
This is a collection of instrumental dance music that was current around the time of the American Civil War. Fiddle players, dulcimer players, guitarists, and other musicians, civilians and soldiers alike, performed these enduring tunes for square dances, hoe­downs, minstrel shows and just plain common fun. Although this music is known by only a relative handful today, it was the popular instrumental music of the 1850s and 60s.
Jim Taylor 'Stone Grey Day' (JR)
This is a must for any collection all Songs about the Confederacy. The songs in this collection were written in recent years by Patrick Lee Hammond except Girl In Her 'Homespun Dress' & 'The Fields of Shiloh' which were written by Patrick Lee Hammond Clark Williams. Each of the songs have a story and the book that is the insert contains all the words to the songs plus a potted history of the Civil War.
Charleston Symphony Orchestra 'Portraits of the Blue & Gray' (JR)
For those of you that collect Civil War music this is a must for your collection. The main track s a 20˝ minute medley of well known Civil War songs and is excellent and I must admit different. Its great to hear the songs played by a large orchestra. The rest of the tracks are equally as good and comprise various songs and medolies from the Civil War era. There are also several tracks performed by the 'Brotherhood' which is an a cappella male gospel group at the Long Point Missionary Baptist Church, in Mount Pleasant. Through the years they have shared their distincly southern gospel music and songs with audiences throughout the Southeast and Europe.
97th Regimental String Band. 'Songs of the Civil War' (JR)
The String Band consists of  Mark 'Mad Dog' Luce and Ricck Moock with occasional collaboration from Various musicians. Mark and Rick started as re-enactors wlith a musical bent and gradually developed an extensive repertoire of music. They discovered that these tunes are still crowd pleasers, just as they have been for over 100 years. The band now performs all over the United States, bringing traditional American popular music back to life for modern audiences.
David Kincaid 'The Irish Volunteer'
David is a Civil War re-enactor  with Coy I, 116th Pennsylvania Infantry. The Album is really well produced and the sound quality very good, and is the only album dedicated to the Irish Union Soldier. (JR) (I found the album excellent. A couple of songs are modern. Gazkhan).