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Sunday, February 01, 2009
BALLADS OF THE GREEN BERETS
by SSgt Barry Sadler Arranged and Conducted by Sid Bass
RCA VICTOR LPM-3547 1966 MONO
SSgt Barry Sadler, U. S. Army Special Forces Arranged and Conducted by Sid Bass Produced by Andy Wiswell
Songs of Our Fighting Men--"The Green Berets"
Songs of wars and of the men who fight them have long been a part of our national heritage. Yankee Doodle belongs to the Revolutionary War; the Civil War gave birth to such stirring pieces as When Johnny Comes Marching Home and The Battle Hymn of the Republic. When the American fighting forces were called upon to do battle on foreign shores during the First World War, the event was recorded by George M. Cohan in Over There.
This album pf plaintive Vietnam war songs is the creation of Staff Sergeant Barry Sadler (who, incidentally, is the young trooper pictured on the cover of the AVON paperback best seller, "The Green Berets"), a combat veteran of the Vietnam War.
Sergeant Sadler is a non-commissioned officer with the "Green Berets" of the U.S. Army Special Forces. The "Green Berets" are a skilled and highly trained fighting force similar to the celebrated American Rangers and the British Commandos of the Second World War. This special group within the Army carries out exacting missions beyond the scope of regular troops.
Here are the songs of men in action, sung against impending death, loneliness, despair and hardship, performed by a survivor of those experiences. Fighting men have sung their songs from the dawn of civilization; songs written on shields, battlements, helmets. Sergeant Sadler's compositions are part of a great tradition that binds brave men together through history. The Ballad of the Green Berets is a tribute to his buddies. There are the songs of courage (Badge of Courage and Salute to the Nurses) and of irony (Garet Trooper, the familiar figure in every army who's long on spit and polish and very short on combat exposure); of home (Letter from Vietnam) and of family (Lullaby), and even of lighthearted moments (Bamiba). He writes and sings in the tradition of the country songs of the American West, reflecting his own personality and background; yet we're sure that many years from now these songs of Sergeant Barry Sadler will be recalled as a true expression of the Vietnam combat soldier's feelings during the time of that fierce encounter.
Barry Sadler is alive today only because of his rigorous training and his indomitable spirit to live. Late last spring, while leading a small combat patrol, he fell into a mantrap, and a pungi stake (a poisoned spear made of sharpened bamboo) plunged into his leg. The Sergeant, a trained medic, operated on himself, cleaning the wound between fainting spells, and was eventually discovered and brought to safety. When he returned to the United States to complete his recuperation, he had already finished a sheaf of songs that make up the selections heard here.
At the time this album was released, Sergeant Sadler was on duty at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, as Medical N.C.O. for the "Green Berets."
ARNOLD FALLEDER, Contributor, Saturday Review
The Ballad of the Green Berets (2:26) I'm a Lucky One (2:52) Letter from Vietnam (2:29) Badge of Courage (2:30) Saigon (2:27) Salute to the Nurses (2:20)
Public performance clearance--ASCAP Recorded in RCA Victor's Studio A, New York Recording Engineer: Mickey Crofford.
1966, Radio Corporation of America - Printed in U.S.A.
Editor's note: the life and death of Barry Sadler is as intriguing as any. So was his meteoric rise and fall in the music business which pushed him towards the place of his demise. Look it up, you'll be interested. Listen to the ballads while you do that, m'kay?
PS...now I'll forever be burdened with locating records by Jimmy Bishop and the Sensation Saints, Herschel Gober and Brig. Gen Telford Taylor thanks to the news clippings below! Not to mention that DOA covered one of his songs! I'm sure there's a bootleg going around somehwhere with it on there.
I came across this record on a few blogs and managed to track down some audio from WFMU's site. I would love to hear more from this honky-tonkin' caterwaulin' queen. Listen to the tracks below and I think you will too!