Songs of Billy Yank and Johnny Reb is an unusual Civil War album in that Jimmie Driftwood wrote all of the material himself, although some of the songs were based on snatches of other songs or stories from Civil War days. The songs represent a wide range of perspectives, from the black slave whose bride is taken away to the German-Americans in "Oh Florie." A few songs contain martial drumbeats and "hup-two-three-four" choruses, as you would expect from the author of "The Ballad of New Orleans." Purists may object to the production values, which are understandably pop-oriented given the participation of Chet Atkins, John D. Loudermilk, and Anita Kerr. On the other hand, enthusiasts of Johnny Horton's so-called historical folk music will find nothing to complain about.
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AllMusic Review by Greg Adams