Aurty Inman — Ballad of Two Brothers (1968)
from Troubled Troubadours (Omni, 2010)
This week I picked up something special for Country Sunday — the terrific Omni compilation Troubled Troubadours — “27 tales from the dark and/or strange side of the tracks (1965-1973).”
There’s a convict’s play-by-play from the electric chair, Dolly Parton plunges off a bridge with her unborn child, a post-apocalyptic kid asks “Daddy, What’s A Tree?” and Lester Flatt can’t tell the boys from the girls (they all wear long hair and bouncy curls).
This number here is Autry Inman’s biggest hit, an apologist ballad for the Vietnam War that reached #14 on the country charts. It’s a twisted tale of two brothers, and musically, a bizarre mix of military drums and rock’n’roll.
Brother soldier writes a letter from Vietnam, where he’s just marched 20 miles through the muddy jungle. Brother peacenik writes a letter from state college, where he’s just marched 20 blocks in a protest march. He tells Dad to look for him on the front page of the paper — “course you may have a little trouble recognizing me with my groovy beard.”
Here’s a few of my other favorites: