“The Sweet Sunny South (I)”


A young Southerner, armed and ready, bids farewell to family and sweetheart. He sets off for the war, hoping to return when the Yankees are driven off


Laws, obviously, considers this piece to be of American origin. Cazden et al, however, note that the versions hardly REQUIRE a setting in the American Civil War, and that one southern version refers to a FOREIGN war. In addition, the song has been found primarily in the North. On this basis Cazden argues for an Irish rather than southern American origin.

Gardner and Chickering's text has an interesting last few stanzas which wish that "from Union and Yankee our land shall be free." This sounds rather like a particularization from perhaps Kentucky or Missouri. - RBW

Not to be confused with the sentimental song of the same name [in the Index as "Sweet Sunny South II - RBW], wherein the singer returns to his childhood home to find everyone dead and gone. The characteristic first lines of that song are "Take me back to the place where I first saw the light/To the sweet sunny south take me home." - PJS


  1. Laws A23, "The Sweet Sunny South"
  2. FSCatskills 18, "The Bright Sunny South" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Gardner/Chickering 97, "The Sweet Sunny Souoth" (1 text, 1 tune)
  4. JHCox 76, "The Rebel Soldier" (2 texts, but only the first belongs here; the second is The Rebel Soldier)
  5. Creighton/Senior, pp. 272-273, "Sweet Sunny South" (2 texts, 1 tune)
  6. Mackenzie 49, "The Sunny South" (1 text)
  7. DY 698, SUNNYSTH
  8. Roud #800
  9. BI, LA23


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1918 (Cox)
Keywords: war farewell
Found in: US(MA,MW,NE) Canada(Mar)