On this 14-track CD of authentic Mekong Delta Blues, Sarge Lintecum tells it like it is. Vietnam Blues takes you on a fiercely emotional and poetic ride through the geography of nowhere, and back across the water to a place called home.
Sarge's wit and humor, combined with his vocal, harmonica, and songwriting talents, shine all the way through. On "This Shirt Of Mine" he tells of the significance of his badges and medals, and sings:
"Some people think I'm a hippie / some think I'm insane
Some people think it's Halloween/ when I wear this shirt of mine"
There are some instrumental numbers included on the CD, such as "Blue Monsoon" - a duet with Sarge on harp and Mother Nature on rainstorm. There are also a couple of poems read to music. In the song "Combat Fatigue" he sings of some of the less-apparent injuries incurred by Vietnam vets:
Oh we all fought for peace but there ain't none / for the vets of the Vietnam War
"Reunion At The Wall" is a haunting blues song reminiscent of "St. James Infirmary". It's dedicated to all the GIs whose names are on the Wall. Sarge also explains why the government doesn't need to treat vets right in the song "Saturday Morning Cartoons" and asks:
Before you know these kids today / won't be children anymore
Will they march to the beat of a different drum / or go marching off to war?
Vietnam Blues is a great-sounding recording with spirited and solid performances by all involved. Joining Sarge on this recording of many styles of blues, jazz and one "cactus jazz" number are former Howlin' Wolf drummer Chico Chism, outstanding upright and electric bassist Jim Simmons, Glen Campbell guitarist Kenny Skaggs and "Bullet" Bill Tarsha of the Rocket 88s on harmonica. Not to mention the harmonica quintet on "Five Down" and many other musicians.
All in all, Vietnam Blues is a well-produced CD that makes use of a few
special audio effects without ever compromising the music and the message.
"Some can't talk about it / some can't stop." Here's hoping Sarge never stops
coming up with these terrific songs.
Lisa Boucher and Matt Stewart are musicians who perform a variety of musical styles in the Champaign-Urbana area.
The Veteran Fall 1997 - Volume 27, #2
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