Graham Reid | | 1 min read
War always produces songs from all sides of the trenches and Vietnam was no different: a slew of patriotic and tally-ho songs in the early days then more cynical, anti-war sentiments coming through as the body count rises.
Here Ernest Tubb and His Texas Troubadours deliver one from those early days of US military involvement when some saw the issue very simply: there was a line drawn to halt the spread of communism and it was in Vietnam. Fighting there was fighting for the freedoms that the US enjoys.
The writer of this was Dave McEnery who had made a habit of penning songs with a topical bent: in '37 he penned Amelia Earhart's Last Flight and he also wrote Keep That Star Spangled Banner Waving Somewhere during the Vietnam war era. Later he would write about Apollo 11, the Manson family, Patti Hearst and Three Mile Island.
Inevitably in a song like this one however, the issue isn't complex: homesick soldier but toughing it out for God, country, Mom and his sweetheart. It doesn't shy away from death -- but the dying buddy is also doing it for the same patriotic reasons.
This song is included in the remarkable box set; Next Stop is Vietnam; The War on Record 1961-2008. (Mentioned previously at From the Vaults here)
This massive, 13 CD set of songs, radio spots and recordings made in-country by soldiers brings together all the most well known songs about the war in Vietnam alongside many dozens of schmaltzy, obscure, seldom-heard and strange records which had the war/soldiers/patriotism/dissent as their theme.
With an accompanying book (not a booklet) of photos, potted history and notes on the songs and artists this is one magnificent album-sized monster of a history lesson pulled together by Bear Family Records out of Germany (here).
It is an exceptional collection of music -- from all sides of the trenches.
For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory use the RSS feed for daily updates, and check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.