This was a popular song of the American Civil War that expressed people's longing for the return of their friends and relatives who were fighting in the war. It was published in 1863, noting the origin of the tune to be the Civil War drinking song “Johnny Fill Up the Bowl”, although there are references to older and similar traditional tunes dating back to the 1600s. The lyrics as we commonly know them were written by Patrick Gilmore and published under the pseudonym of Louis Lambert (1863). As a note to the old and traditional origins of this tunes, a similar song,”Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye”, was published in England in 1867, and may have been a reference to England's involvement in the Kandyan Wars in the late eithteenth and early nineteenth centuries.
In this arrangement, the melody line starts in the lower voices, and is passed around so that each part has its own solo. In certain sections, the rhythms in the lower voices create a percussive line.
Arranged by Bill Holcombe, Jr.