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wonders never cease Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 11th, 2009 play list of the week: for the vets

[caption id="attachment_1906" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="click to listen"]click to listen[/caption]We were tempted to run with the numerical repetition in today’s date as a theme, but figure we’ll hold out for 2011 for that one. Yesterday’s 40th birthday bash for Sesame Street was also hard to resist. However, we decided that failing to thank our veterans on the day set aside to honor them would be disrespectful. They are called upon to go off and do the hardest job humans can be asked to do, and they deserve our thanks. Without further ado, here are 11 songs to honor those like our fathers who have served:

1. “Soldier” – Anna Nalick Beautiful and sweet, this is a song about hope, young love, and coping with the travels and troubles that come with serving in the armed forces. Just one of the many songs on which Nalick shows wisdom and insight that belie her youth on her terrific debut album, Wreck of the Day.

2. “In The Army” – Yellowman King Yellowman puts a reggae twist on the age-old, army-recruiter’s-least-favorite song, listing complaints like “They say that in the army, the food is very fine. A dumpling fell off the table and killed a friend of mine.”

3. “The Faithful Soldier” – The Doc Watson Family Written by William Walker and John Leland, legendary guitar picker Doc Watson cuts his teeth on an American traditional accompanied by a large and musical extended family. On this one, he takes a back seat to his father-in-law, the fiddle and banjo playing Gaither Carlton.

4. “Combat Rock” – Sleater-Kinney Rocking riot-grrrls from the Northwest remind us that exercising dissent is at the core of being American, and that citizens have an obligation to the soldiers to stand up for what they believe in as a nation.

5. “The Unknown Soldier” – The Doors Controversial at its release and deemed unpatriotic, it’s more an unbridled attack on the media and their presentation of the Vietnam War than on the war itself. Morrison himself portrayed the Unknown Soldier in the video for the song and in live shows. The cheers, bells, and laughing at the end of the song are meant to celebrate the war’s end.

6. “Old Forgotten Soldier” – The Walkmen The DC natives cover Harry Nilsson’s Pussy Cats song-by-song and sound like they had as much fun as Nilsson and John Lennon had on the original. But we hope they didn’t try to relive the part where Nilsson ruptured a vocal chord but kept it to himself and pushed on through with the recording. That doesn’t sound nearly as fun as the songs do.

7. “And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda” – The Pogues Shane MacGowen gives a solemn rendition of the Aussie classic about an old veteran reflecting on his losses at Gallipoli while watching a Veterans Day parade.

8. “Ballad of Ira Hayes” – Johnny Cash A song written by Peter LaFarge, but it’s the Man in Black’s storytelling style that immortalized the tragic story: the heroic paratrooper who helped to raise the flag on Iwo Jima died drunk in a ditch in the ruined Arizona lands of his ancestors.

9. “My Kind of Soldier” – Guided By Voices One of more than 1000 songs written and recorded by GBV’s Robert Pollard, this is a spirited homage to those who serve, with a chorus that includes “My kind of soldier, you can ride on my shoulders when you’ve won.”

10. “Just Another Soldier” – The Minutemen West Coast punk pioneers “jamming econo” on this track from their final album, 3-Way Tie (For Last) released right before the tragic death of founder and guitarist D. Boon.

11. “Talkin’ World War III Blues” – Bob Dylan Admittedly not a song about soldiers, but more a song that paints a picture of what the soldiers protect us from. But, since Dylan is in town tonight, and since this song still makes us think about why we’re thankful for those who served in the previous World Wars, we wrap up our list with this tune we love. And we wish we were heading off to see the man. Will he sing, as only he can, "Well, I seen me a Cadillac window uptown and there was nobody around, I got into the driver's seat and I drove 42nd Street. In my Cadillac. Good car to drive after a war.”?

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