Entry 6: The Civil War’s Feminist Anthem

http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/media/loc.natlib.ihas.200001829/001.tif/1574

“We’ll Go Down Ourselves.” Words and music by Henry Clay Work.

Release Date: December 13, 1862.

Available: audio (fast forward to 33:35) and as sheet music.

I’ll admit that this gem from Henry Clay Work slipped under my radar until I was asked to make some remarks about it for a Civil War music concert at the Newberry Library. My previous research largely focused on the war’s most popular songs and there isn’t much evidence that “We’ll Go Down Ourselves” enjoyed much popularity, then or now, but it’s a fascinating piece for a number of reasons. Read More

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Entry 5: Henry Clay Work, Abolitionist Minstrel

150dpi JPEG image of: Wake Nicodemus

“Wake Nicodemus.” Words and Music by Henry Clay Work.

Release Date: November 23, 1864.

Available: As sung by Burl Ives & as sheet music.

As the end of the Civil War sesquicentennial approaches, so too does the end of one of its most successful elements, the New York Times Disunion Blog. Clay Risen has done a great job curating and editing this collection of thoughtful short essays and I’ve been fortunate enough to be included among its authors. My final contribution will appear in a couple of weeks and discuss the history and resonances of “Marching through Georgia.” I grew to admire the song’s author, Henry Clay Work, while researching my book,  so I’ve decided to devote a couple of entries to some of Work’s lesser-known pieces in anticipation of my Disunion article. Today, I’ll focus on one of his most abolitionist Civil War tunes, “Wake Nicodemus.” Read More