Tennessee Ernie Ford, baritone, with instrumentalists. chorus, and orchestra conducted by Jack Fascinato; Capitol T-1539 and T-1540. or ST-1539 and ST-1540 (stereo)
As must be obvious to everyone now, the Civil War, or War Between the States, depending on where you live, is going to be fought over again for the next three years, in sound, as well as in print and picture. Everyone seems to be delighted with this gory tragedy, in retrospect. On records, there are already two cantatas by Richard Bales, played by him for Columbia, with the National Gallery Orchestra. Forthcoming is a series of LPs by Frederick Fennell and the Eastman-Rochester Symphonic Winds. I have heard the tapes, and 7he Star-Spangled Banner has certainly changed in the century between Lincoln and Lucy Monroe. The first 1861 records of 1961 have been produced by Tennessee Ernie, and I think they are marvels. Ford and the chorus sing, and they are accompanied by such instruments as the banjo and the lap harp, as I fancy the troopers accompanied themselves. You can almost smell the smoke. Moreover, Ford dug up some songs that I had never heard sung before. like the March of the First Arkansas Negro Regiment, the New York Volunteer, and the Flight of Doodles. Capitol’s sound furnishes Mr. Ford an almost supernatural stereophonic presence, but I cannot think of anyone I would rather have in my living room.