Mudcat Café message #230845 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #9359   Message #230845
Posted By: NH Dave
19-May-00 - 10:41 PM
Thread Name: Songs about Vietnam War
Subject: RE: Songs about Vietnam War
I object to the use of the term "parody" applied to the various Viet Nam War songs that are sung to an older tune. A parody, to me, is something sung to a familiar tune that derides or makes fun of the old tune, or the older words to the tune. Most of us in Viet Nam were not accomplished musicians or composers, just folks who had something to say, and managed to fit it into the scanscion of a familiar tune, mainly because that was a tune they and those around them knew and sang. This is an ancient folks tradition, or the abbreviation "TTA" would not have so much use here in our database. It is frequently said that people like Woodie Guthrie and Robert Burns put all their lyrics to a very limited number of tunes. "Come all ye Tramps and Hawkers", "Paddy West", and another song about a lover on the shores of Lake Ponchitrane [sp] all use similar, if not identical, tunes, yet none is considered a parody of any of the others.

Additionally, many military songs of one generation, say WWII, got updated once for Korea and then again for Viet Nam, and probably were sung with newer words in Kuwait, Somalia, or Kosovo. One such song, sung TTA The Wabash Cannonball, started out about a civilian airfield in Teeterboro NJ, got updated to "Itazuke Tower" during Korea, and in Viet Nam became "Ubon Tower". No parody here, just a song changing to meet a newer need.

We were lucky to have folks like those on the "In Country" CD who were able to craft new words to old tunes, and even write new tunes occasionally, to let us know how this war was really sung.


This thread is getting to be a bit long, so a civic-minded Mudcatter created an extension.
You will find it listed as: Songs About Vietnam Part II

Please don't post any more message here.
-Joe Offer-