View Full Version : Good Song for Confederate Memorial Day? Ballad arrangment of "Dixie"?

03-22-2009, 10:50 PM
I've been asked to sing at a local Confederate Memorial service, but I have no idea what to sing. Any suggestions? I'd prefer it be something slower and more serious. I'd actually love to find a ballad arrangement of "Dixie" if anyone knows of any.

Thanks for your help!

03-22-2009, 11:53 PM
One of the problematic things about choosing a slow, dignified arrangement of Dixie is that there is always some yahoo on the place who gets to hooting and hollaring and clapping to a much fast beat than the one you have chosen as appropriate to the occassion.

Much more appropriate to the occassion would be a song like Vacant Chair
Especially if you take the verses and use a male quartet on the chorus.

"The Vacant Chair"or "We Shall Meet But We Shall Miss Him" (1861)(Thanksgiving, 1861)
Words by Henry S. WashburnMusic by George Frederick Root

1.We shall meet, but we shall miss him
There will be one vacant chair;
We shall linger to caress him
While we breathe our evening prayer.

When a year ago we gathered,
Joy was in his mild blue eye,
But a golden cord is severed,
And our hopes in ruin lie.

We shall meet, but we shall miss him,
There will be one vacant chair;
We shall linger to caress him
When we breathe our evening prayer.

2.At our fireside, sad and lonely,
Often will the bosom swell
At remembrance of the story
How our noble Willie fell;
How he strove to bear the banner
Thro' the thickest of the fight,
And uphold our country's honor,
In the strength of manhood's might.

3.True they tell us wreaths of glory
Evermore will deck his brow,
But this soothes the anguish only,
Sweeping o'er our heartstrings now.
Sleep to[-]day, O early fallen,
In thy green and narrow bed,
Dirges from the pine and cypress
Mingle with the tears we shed. (CHORUS)

"Mother Is the Battle Over?" (circa 1861-1865)
by Benedict E. Roeffs

Mother is the battle over?Mother is the battle over?
Thousands, thousands have been kill'd they say;
Is my Father coming? tell me,Have our soldiers gain'd the fay?
Is he well or is he wounded?Mother do you think he's slain?
If you know, I pray you tell me,Will my father come again, will father come again?

Mother dear you're always sighing
Since you last the paper read...Tell me why you now are crying
Why that cap is on youy head?Why that cap is on your head?
Ah! I see you can tell me not,Father's one among the slain;
Altho' he lov'd us very dearly,He will never come again!He will never come again.

03-23-2009, 08:24 AM
Albert Pike wrote his own version of Dixie because there was nothing dignified about the original version. Many southerners did not care for it at all. Perhaps God Save the South would be a better choice.

Richmond Dispatch, 5/11/1861, p. 1

National Anthems. – A friend writes to express his pleasure at the ingenuity displayed by a fair correspondent of the Dispatch, on a recent occasion, in endeavoring to prove that the song of “Dixie Land” of right should become the National refrain of the Southern Confederacy. He says she is error when she asserts that the melody is of Northern manufacture. It is purely Southern, and just as purely negro – being a stevadore’s song, or chaunt, which for many years past has been bellowed on the wharves and levees of Southern cities, quite as common as the “unwritten music” of “Shinbone Alley,” “Ho, boys, you ‘most done,” and “Down Below.” It is one of those melodies whose parentage cannot be traced, and whose spontaneous birth defies the researches of the historian. Like many others of the same stamp, it has been caught up by the composers for the “burnt cork opera,” and so burnished up and remodeled as to deceive the modern connoisseur, though older ones can detect its nativity. He adds: “I make no objections to the tune – it is bold and even pleasing; yet it smells too strongly of the ******* to assume the dignified rank of National song. And the words, notwithstanding the prophetic virtue given them by your lady correspondent, what are they? Mere doggerel stuff, from the brain of some natural poet, away down in Dixie – ‘that undiscovered country from whose bourne no traveler returns,’ because no one as yet has ever reached it.”

We have no really national airs. “Yankee Doodle” is an unmeaning melody of foreign origin. As our correspondent says, it was played in derision of the Americans, by the British fifers during the Revolutionary war. – Its true origin is from an unsuccessful oratorio, entitled “Ulysses,” composed by William Smith. “Hail Columbia,” originally the old “President’s March,” was composed by the German leader of the band at Trenton, after the battle. The “Star Spangled Banner is the old Irish tune of Bibo. The more modern song, so popular with the Unionists, “Columbia, the Gem of the Ocean,” claims its origins from John Bull. Its transatlantic title was “Brittania, thou Gem of the Ocean.” “Our Flag is There,” another song tending towards nationality, is said to have been composed in South America.

Our National melodies should possess a distinct character of their own; but, if we are to depend on any people for their caste, let it not be the untutored son of Africa – the distorter of old Scotch and Irish tunes given to the world in the palmy days of the bards and harpers. If the Confederate States require a National anthem, let them adopt one of pure origin – one that will not be ashamed of its parentage.

Will Chappell

03-23-2009, 09:39 AM
I think this would fit pretty good for a CS Memorial

Into the ward of the clean whitewashed halls,
where the dead sleep and the dying lay;
Wounded by bayonets, sabers, and balls,
Somebody's darling was borne one day.
Somebody's darling so young and so brave,
wearing still on his sweet yet pale face,
soon to be hid in the dust of the grave,
the lingering light of his boyhood grace.

Somebody's darling, somebody's pride
Who'll tell his mother, where her boy died

Matted and damp are his tresses of gold,
Kissing the snow of that fair young brow;
Pale are the lips of most delicate mould
Somebody's darling is dying now.
Back from his beautiful purple veined brow
Brush off the wandering waves of gold,
Cross his white hands on his broad bosom now
Somebody's darling is still and cold

Give him a kiss but for somebody's sake
murmur a prayer for him soft and low
One little curl from his golden mates take,
Somebody's they were once, you know.
Somebody's warm hand has oft rested there
Was it a mothers so soft and white,
or have the lips of a sister so fair
ever been bathed in their waves of light

Somebody's watching and waiting for him,
yearning to hold him again, to her breast;
Yet there he lies with his blue eyes so dim
and purple child-like lips half apart.
Tenderly bury the fair unknown dead,
pausing to drop on his grave a tear;
Carve on the wooden slab over his head,
"Somebody's Darling is slumbering here."

03-23-2009, 02:02 PM
Albert Pike wrote his own version of Dixie because there was nothing dignified about the original version. Many southerners did not care for it at all. Perhaps God Save the South would be a better choice...Will Chappell

Or "Southern Soldier Boy". Great words and cadence. Of course if not sung as the woman you have to use the (common tense). Common period practice for songs at that time. And it goes without saying you can substitite Bob's Name with that of your soldier.

Southern Soldier Boy

Bob Roebuck is my sweetheart's (our true lads) name,
He's off to the wars and gone;
He's fighting for his Nanny dear,
His sword is buckled on,
He's fighting for his own true love;
His foes he does defy;
He is the darling of my heart (our hearts),
My (Our) Southern soldier boy.

Oh, if in battle he were slain,
I know that I (we) would die,
But I am sure he'll come again
To cheer my (our) weeping eye.
But should he fall in this our glorious cause,
He still would be my (our) joy,
For many a sweetheart (family) mourns the loss
Of her (their) Southern soldier boy.

I hope for the best, and so do all
Whose hopes are in the field;
I know that we shall win the day
For Southrons never yield.
And when we think of those who are away,
We look above for joy,
And I'm mighty glad that my (our)Bobby is
A Southern soldier boy.

03-23-2009, 10:28 PM
Thanks for everyone's help! I'm looking into all of these. Please let me know if you have any other suggestions.

Pvt. Sweetey
04-07-2009, 02:07 PM
This is a good song for a CS memorial, "Tenting On the Old camp ground"

We're tenting tonight on the old camp ground,
Give us a song to cheer
Our weary hearts, a song of home,
And friends we love so dear.

Many are the hearts that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts that are looking for the right
To see the dawn of peace.
Tenting tonight, tenting tonight, tenting on the old camp ground

We've been tenting tonight on the old camp ground,
Thinking of days gone by,
Of the loved ones at home that gave us the hand
And the tear that said "Goodbye!"

We are tired of war on the old camp ground,
Many are dead and gone,
Of the brave and true who've left their homes,
Others been wounded long.

We've been fighting today on the old camp ground,
Many are lying near;
Some are dead and some are dying,
Many are in tears.

Many are the heart that are weary tonight,
Wishing for the war to cease;
Many are the hearts that are looking for the right
To see the dawn of peace

Pvt. Sweetey
04-07-2009, 02:09 PM
P.S. you can listen to the song sung by the Knickerboxer Quartet


It was sung over 100 years ago so the audio wont exactly be crystal clear ;)

5 th Alabama Infantry
04-12-2009, 03:43 PM
How about "God Save the South"