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The words was the hardest thing to get and make 'em stick. Sometimes you'd sit down at night and write two or three songs, but they had the same tune to mostly all. All the blues pretty near sound alike unless you got a rare voice and put turns and trills in it - Thomas A. "Georgia Tom" Dorsey interviewed by Jim O'Neal and Amy van Singel, The Voice Of The Blues

Author Topic: Anti-War Blues  (Read 9551 times)

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Offline Pan

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #15 on: April 02, 2008, 06:42:25 AM »
The "Mississippi Blues, Library of Congress recordings 1940-1942", (Travelin' Man, TM CD 07) has Leroy Williams, accompanied by William Brown, doing a song called "Uncle Sam Done Called", recorded by Alan and Elizabeth Lomax in August 1941 (apparently Brown did his version of ?Make Me A Pallet On The Floor? during the same session).

On the same CD, a 27-year old Honeboy Edwards is doing a song called "Army Blues", recorded by A. Lomax in July 1942.

And also on the same CD, Willie Blackwell, accompanied by William Brown, is doing a song called "Junior's A Jap Girl's Christmas For His Santa Claus (sic)", recording date not given.

I haven't figured the lyrics on any of the above, so I really don't know how anti- or pro-(?) war they might be.

How about the old spiritual: "I'm going to lay down my sword and shield, down by the riverside, I ain't going to study war no more"?

Offline Bunker Hill

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #16 on: April 02, 2008, 09:52:37 AM »
there's a whole 1996 CD album by the title of "Uncle Sam Blues" (don't know if they're all 'anti'-war ;-) on the Blues Encore label (Blues Encore CD 52043). More info on my J.B. Lenoir discography - it's # 67
Stefan
Duh! How could I have overlooked that in my previous post, I scanned the front and back of the booklet for you. Just goes to show how often I play it.

Online Johnm

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #17 on: April 02, 2008, 04:49:48 PM »
Hi all,
Here's one that is not technically a blues, but it's a very strong anti-war statement and a great song and performance.  The song is "Forgotten Soldier Boy", and I have it performed by the Lilly Brothers, Everett and Bea on mandolin, guitar and vocals from their old Folkways record, "The Lilly Brothers with Don Stover", one side of which is brother duets and the other side of which is outstanding Bluegrass.  I believe this song was originally recorded by the Monroe Brothers; one of you might know.

   I'm just a poor ex-soldier, that's broken down and blue
   I fought out in the great World War for the old Red, White and Blue
   I left my parents and my girl, I looked to France, did go
   And I fought out on the battlefield, through the hunger, sleet and snow

   I saw my buddy dying, and some shell-shocked and torn
   Although we never faltered in the Battle of the Marne (morn?)
   Then we were called when we left home to be heroes of the land
   Though we came back and found no one would lend a helping hand

   They promised gold and silver, they bid us all adieu
   They said they'd welcome us back home when the terrible war was through
   We fought until the war was over, they said we'd won the fight
   But we have no job or money, nor place to sleep at night

   They call us wandering poor bums, asking for shelter and bread
   Although we fought in No Man's Land, and a-many poor boy is dead
   So listen to my story and lend a helping hand
   To the poor forgotten soldier boys who helped to save our land

All best,
Johnm
   

   

   

mississippijohnhurt1928

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2008, 06:48:08 PM »
The Robert Lockwood/Big Boy Crudup song "I'm Gonna Dig Myself A Hole" has some anti-war references.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2008, 07:46:21 PM »
In the 'Questionnaire Blues' family is Fred McDowell's 'Will Me Your Gold Watch And Chain'

Offline RB

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2008, 05:06:03 AM »
I remember when I first heard the E. House song, This War will Last you for Years,' during the Vietnam War, when I was a college student, and how odd that song sounded in the context of House's other playing and recording.  I'm sure I'd already attended a concert or two at which he played his blues and gospel numbers but nothing like this.  I do recall that I--and a few friends--were 'hip enough' to like the song immediately and that it had some relevance due to the then current war. 

I can't recall what vinyl LP it came out on--though I probably have it.  I do recall that there was some discussion of it in S. Charter's then most recently published Oak Publications book, and some or all of the lyrics were reprinted there.

Does anyone here know anything about the genesis or other baqckground of this song and its recording?  Thanks.

Offline TX_Songster

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2008, 05:36:44 AM »
In the 'not quite blues' catagory... the old gospel song, "Ain't Gonna Study War No More"

Online Johnm

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2008, 07:31:43 AM »
Hi RB,
I believe the Son House was first re-issued on the Folkways album, "Son House and J. D. Short", put together, recorded (in the case of the Short tracks) and annotated by Samuel Charters.  I don't know anything more about the provenance of the Son House song.  It sounds like it was probably his own.
All best,
Johnm

Offline uncle bud

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2008, 07:41:00 AM »
"This War Will Last You for Years" was recorded by Son House in the 1941 Library of Congress recordings as "American Defense".

Offline Richard

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2008, 07:52:26 AM »
Training Camp Blues by Champion Jack Dupree and there's also a Lonnie Johnson one too but I can't think what the hell it's called which is not lot of help!!
(That's enough of that. Ed)

Offline banjochris

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2008, 04:06:08 PM »
Hi all,
Here's one that is not technically a blues, but it's a very strong anti-war statement and a great song and performance.  The song is "Forgotten Soldier Boy", and I have it performed by the Lilly Brothers, Everett and Bea on mandolin, guitar and vocals from their old Folkways record, "The Lilly Brothers with Don Stover", one side of which is brother duets and the other side of which is outstanding Bluegrass.  I believe this song was originally recorded by the Monroe Brothers; one of you might know.
 

Indeed it was done by Bill and Charlie, and it's been reissued (apart from Bear Family and JSP sets) on the Rounder album "Fifty Years from Now: American Country Songs of Protest," which is probably out of print now but used to be available on cassette (and CD too, probably). Very interesting album -- Harry McClintock's "Fifty Years from Now" is anti-war in an economic sense, which is unusual, and quite funny, too. (P.S. Battle of the Marne is right in those lyrics, John.)

Chris

Offline Bricktown Bob

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #26 on: April 30, 2008, 05:16:12 AM »
Here's one that is not technically a blues, but it's a very strong anti-war statement and a great song and performance.  The song is "Forgotten Soldier Boy"

Yes, great song.  But to me it's not a strong anti-war statement as much as it is an embittered protest of the shabby treatment of veterans after the war.  And that, too, is needed.  The treatment of veterans is shameful now, though it was worse 80 years ago.  Maybe we need another Veterans' March on Washington.  Will they find another Douglas MacArthur to put it down?  Probably.  Will we celebrate him like we did the first?  Sadly, probably.

Offline Rivers

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #27 on: December 18, 2008, 06:19:19 PM »
Thought I'd revive this thread. Merle Travis played Re-Enlistment Blues in the movie From Here To Eternity, once again not technically anti-war but a humorously sad story about re-entry into civilian life with decommission money in your pocket. Merle's playing is salutary and the arrangement of what could have been a simple 12 bar blues is very strong. Highlights are an unusual turnaround which ends on the I instead of the usual V, and a walking bass behind Travis's canny chord progressions and melody licks. It's a lot of fun to try and figure out, play and sing.

Online Johnm

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #28 on: December 18, 2008, 09:03:03 PM »
Hi all,
Henry Johnson's "Join The Army" is, if not exactly anti-war, certainly anti-military life.
All best,
Johnm

Offline Mike Brosnan

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Re: Anti-War Blues
« Reply #29 on: December 18, 2008, 10:00:06 PM »
Well, we discussed "Everybody Help The Boys Come Home" in a lyrics thread a while ago, but it seems appropriate here as well.  Bunker Hill pointed out that William and Versey Smith's version influenced BWJ's "When The War Was On". 
I already posted my vid of Jerron Paxton's PT performance in the other thread, but... Well... Seems worth a repost:

If multiple postings of the same vid ain't cool I can just post a link to the other thread. 
Apologies for the shaky camera in the beginning... It gets a lil' better, but it kinda felt like the whole building was feelin' the rhythm 'til the very last note.

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