Abraham Lincoln Election Songs hit Itunes

American Pioneer Music's first release hit itunes this week. For many years, folk singers, civil war buffs, and even mainstream artists have recorded songs from the 1800s. A review of the Lincoln albums on itunes consist mainly of versions of similar 19th century songs. Most albums will contain "Dixie's Land," "The Battle Cry of Freedom," "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" and "When Johnny Comes Marching Home." Generally the Abraham Lincoln name is used as a label to build interest in these songs. Unfortunately, they often do not have a direct connection to the 16th president.
There are rare instances that a Lincoln album contains a campaign song. Usually, we find it is the song "Lincoln and Liberty," which was written during his 1860 run for office. This song is recorded often for a couple of reasons. First, the tune is an old Irish folk song called "Rosin the Beau"-- a very catchy melody that modern listeners find enjoyable. Secondly, the Weavers recorded the song many years ago, which makes it more well known among folk singers. The problem is that the song becomes more popular for modern audiences than during the year 1860.
The new album "Abraham Lincoln and the 1864 Election" is different in that it offers songs that have not been recorded previously, with the exception of "Rally Round the Cause Boys" (Oscar Brand recorded an edited version in 1960). Moreover, six of the songs are against the now popular president. Since this album is dedicated to the 1864 campaign, McClellan is given an equal amount of songs in the compilation. It is rare that 19th Century music albums have songs that are critical of Lincoln. Without the right balance, history students assume that only one point of view existed. History and politics is always much more complicated. Music cannot make the learning experience easier; however, history buffs can have a glimpse into how people living in 1864 perceived the candidates and the language that was used to "sell" a candidate.

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