Joe Jencks

Let The Band Play Dixie  4:32

When I was a kid, my Uncle Bob and Aunt Beryl gave me a copy of Bob Gibson's album Uptown Saturday Night. Uncle Bob said if I was going to be a serious songwriter I should study the masters, and that Bob Gibson was definitely among them. I wore holes in that record playing it over and over again, while lying on the floor with one stereo speaker on either side of my head. Bob's songwriting had a huge influence on me, and none of his songs more so than this one. With masterful writing, storytelling, lessons in history and humanity, that record was "Life 101" on vinyl.

The news was brung from Richmond
In that fading April sun
Lee had handed Grant his sword
And the war was finally won
Into the streets he people spilled
Feeling the excitement build
And the crown around the White House milled
Asking is it true it's finally done

Inside the White House Lincoln heard them
Calling out his name
He sat there wondering what to say
To ease their years of pain
Someone yelled come out the door
And tell us what you've got in store
For the rebels who have lost the war
So out onto the porch, Abe Lincoln came

He said we are gathered not in anger
But in celebration
Let's be thankful we are
Once again a single nation
Let's stand together reassured
Now that peace has been secured
Our nation's illness can be cured
May I suggest the overture for this occasion

He said let the band play Dixie
Play that tune that holds it head up high and proud
And let our nation once divided, bloody but unbowed
Take the swords of war and beat them back into a plough
On the day that Lee surrendered Mr. Lincoln told the crowd
Let the band play Dixie

A tired Union soldier
Hobbled on his only limb
Filled with bitter memories
The war had left with him
He dragged his wooden leg and cane
His face was set and creased with pain
As he stumbled fell and rose again
And he wondered what the future held for him

He spied a black child kneeling near
In humble gratitude
He knelt down right beside her
To share her thankful mood
Grateful words were raised in prayer
God in your sweet loving care
Our broken lives no please repair
And let our wounded nation be renewed
© 1984 Bob Gibson, Hogeye Records