White Mansions

Jun 4, 2010, 5:38 PM |

In 1978 english singer/songwritter Paul Kennerley along with record producer Glyn Johns, went into the A&M studios to record Kennerley's concept album, White Mansions: A tale of the American Civil War 1861 - 1865. They gathered a number of notable artist to work on the project.  Country music legend Waylon Jennings & his wife Jessi Colter, and John Dillon & Steve Cash from the Ozark Mountain Daredevils were to play the roles of the four characters in the tale. The musicians included: Waylon Jennings, Steve Cash, John Dillon, Bernie Leadon (of the Eagles), and the legendary Eric Clapton along with others.

 The Story

A tale from the American Civil War 1861-1865. White Mansions is a portrayal of life in the Confederate States of America 1861-1865. The high hopes and deep sorrows of the Southern People are reflected in the experiences of the four characters whose combined words tell the tale of the American Civil War.

The Characters

 MATTHEW J. FULLER, played by John Dillon, is the 23 year old son of a wealthy Georgian cotton planter and is typical of the young aristocracy of the South. Brought up on a large plantation worked by four hundred slaves, he attended both college and military academy and is dedicated to preserving the grand lifestyle of Old Dixie. At the outbreak of the Civil War, he joins a Georgia infantry regiment of the Confederate States Army as a captain.

 POLLY ANN STAFFORD, played by Jessi Colter, is Matthew's beautiful sweetheart and lives an equally opulent life as the daughter of a neighboring land owner and diplomat. Shortly after the start of the war, she serves the cause by working in a disease-ridden hospital attending to the many wounded and dying soldiers.

 CALEB STONE, played by Steve Cash, epitomizes "white trash", a class of poor southern whites who have no profession, land or property. He finds work whenever he can as an overseer keeping order among the Negro field hands. Caleb resents the power and status of the plantation owners whose wealth emphasizes his own poverty, but in spite of this, he feels a deep loyalty to the South. He joins the fight even if it is just to preserve his only heritage, his superiority over the blacks.

 THE DRIFTER, played by Waylon Jennings, acts as the narrator of this story. Descended from good southern stock, he has been unable to settle since being wounded fighting for Texas in the Mexican war. He now leads a lonely life roaming from town to town. Not involved in the actual fighting, the Drifter views both sides clearly and says his piece with gentle strength and worldly wisdom.

 THE SLAVES have very little to say in this tell of the war, as indeed they did in reality. Much was talked of them and in the main, the war was fought because of them. But, despite the fact that they represented over a third of the population of the South, their voice was seldom heard.

A Story To Tell - Polly  (Jessi Colter)

Dixie, Hold On - The Drifter (Waylon Jennings)

Join Around The Flag - Matthew (John Dillon of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils)

White Trash - Caleb (Steve Cash of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils)

The Last Dance & The Kentucky Race Horse - Matthew (John Dillon) & Polly (Jessi Colter)

Southern Boys - Caleb (Steve Cash)

The Union Mare & The Confederate Gray - The Drifter (Waylon Jennings) & Polly (Jessi Colter)

No One Would Believe A Summer Could Be So Cold - Matthew (John Dillon)

The Southlands Bleeding - The Drifter (Waylon Jennings)

They Laid Waste To Our Land - Caleb (Steve), Matthew (John) & The Drifter (Waylon)

Praise The Lord- The Slaves (Rodena Preston's "Voices of Deliverance")

The King Has Called Me Home - Caleb (Steve Cash)

Bad Man - Matthew (John Dillon)

Dixie, Now Your Done - The Drifter (Waylon Jennings)

 For more info about the artists, album & lyrics, here are a few links.