1 Jan 2011

Country Joe McDonald

It's been more than 35 years since the war in Vietnam finally came to an end with the fall of Saigon in 1975. The German reissue label Bear Family has just released a whopping 13 disc box set featuring hundreds on recordings inspired by the war from well-known protest singers like Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger to right wing supporters like Sgt. Barry Sadler and Pat Boone to a stockpile of previously unheard music recorded by some of the soldiers who fought the war. It's a truly impressive package augmented by archival radio broadcasts, political speeches, photos and essays. One of the primary forces behind the project was Country Joe McDonald, who, along with his band The Fish, led the Woodstock Nation to a version of Joe's Fixin' To Die Rag in 1969. McDonald, a military vet himself, has personally collected many of the tracks recorded by fellow servicemen. But, as Marty Duda discovered, even Country Joe McDonald was surprised by the scope of this box set.