Mural at the entry of The Beatles Story, Liverpool
Wide angle reviews, interviews and opinion on music, travel and the arts by writer Graham Reid
Jan Berry: The Universal Coward (1965)
Graham Reid | | 1 min read
Jan Berry was half of the surf pop
group Jan and Dean, and he co-wrote this song with Jill Gibson as an
answer to Buffy Sainte-Marie's Universal Soldier of the same
year which had been covered by Donovan and Glen Campbell.
Dean Torrance – who had done an Army Reserve stint – wanted
nothing to do with it.
It's blunt! A real Cold War classic in a way.
Protestors are just cowards.
The coward runs from a giant, a
human and . . .an elf?
They were clearly struggling for the rhyme with "himself".
Hilarious, if it wasn't so reductive and poisonous.
Patriotism is the last refuge for the scoundrel. Right?
This comes from a remarkable box set -- Next Stop is Vietnam; The War on Record 1961-2008 -- which Elsewhere has drawn from previously (see 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).
If you want to hear my 35 minute radio interview in which I play a number of Vietnam-era songs and speak about travel there and so on it is here.
For more oddities, one-offs or songs with an interesting backstory check the massive back-catalogue at From the Vaults.
The electronica duo of Mike Hodgson and Paddy Free who are Pitch Black were in the vanguard of New Zealand sound and vision performances in the 90s, so much so that you'd love to see them release a... > Read more
By any measure, 1990 was a pretty good year in rock and pop: Sinead O'Connor announced herself with the single Nothing Compares 2 U and the album I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got; George Michael's... > Read more