Monday, October 17, 2022

VA - Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1962-1974 [2003 - 2021] (3 x CD's)



VA - A Soldier's Sad Story, Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1966-73 [2003] + VA - Does Anybody Know I'm Here, Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1962-1972 [2005] + VA - Stop the War, Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1965-1974 [2021] (3 x CD's)

VA - A Soldier's Sad Story, Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1966-73 [2003]     Some Kent releases come together in a relatively short period of time, while others require a longer gestation period. This month, we're proud to bring you one that falls firmly into the latter category. It's been a fortnight short of two years since we first began work on a project that would attempt to tell a story-in-song of Black American participation in the Vietnam war, a project that has been in the works for the whole of that time.

The original annotation plans fell through not once, but twice, both times at the last minute. Just as we thought everything was running smoothly, we had to revise our originally perceived track listing. (One of the tracks we'd licensed had suddenly become worth three times as much in its licensor's eyes as had already been agreed, due to the fact that "war sells records" - a new one on us, we must admit.) It often felt like this project was the place where catastrophe and calamity meet - but, finally, 100 weeks after it was first discussed, A SOLDIER'S SAD STORY is ready. As compiler and part-annotator, I could hardly be more pleased with the end result.

The CD attempts to present the chronological scenario of a young black individual's odyssey through the Vietnam war. It is not always a particularly happy scenario, but then war itself is never particularly happy for most of those that fight it, regardless of colour. However, it is generally accepted that black Americans got a much rawer deal over 'Nam than did their Caucasian counterparts. The Vietnam war was especially well-documented in soul circles. Indeed, apart from country music, no other genre of music can offer anywhere near as much social commentary on the subject. It is no coincidence that the overwhelming majority of enlisted personnel came from either poor white or poor black America, where Country and Soul ruled their respective musical roosts.

VA - Does Anybody Know I'm Here, Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1962-1972 [2005]     As much a penetrating and painful lesson in American history as it is a fantastic set of vintage obscure soul, Does Anybody Know I'm Here? Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 62-72 -- the follow-up to Kent's superb A Soldier's Sad Story -- documents a very different dimension of antiwar protest music: Edwin Starr's classic "War" aside, the mainstream antiwar canon comprises songs written and performed almost entirely by white folkies (Bob Dylan, Phil Ochs, et al.), but the African-American response was just as potent and provocative, with an underlying sense of hopelessness and disenfranchisement that speaks volumes about the mindset of the black counterculture as war raged not only in Southeast Asia but also in places like Detroit and Watts. Ranging from the mournful soul of Marvin Gaye's opening "Soldier's Plea" to the blistering funk of Funkadelic's closing "March to the Witch's Castle," the set spans not only musical styles but also varying shades of polemical intensity -- some cuts are confrontational and direct, others elegiac and allegorical, but all burn with the emotional honesty and complexity that are the hallmarks of soul music at its finest. Other highlights include the Dells' title cut, Archie Bell & the Drells' "A Soldier's Prayer," and the Impressions' "Don't Cry My Love." (AllMusic review by Jason Ankeny) Mostly @ 192 Kbps

VA - Stop the War, Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1965-1974 [2021]     The final instalment in our trilogy spotlighting black America’s involvement in the Vietnam War.  “When are you going to do another volume of Vietnam soul tunes?” has long been one of the most frequently asked questions posed to us here at Ace. Almost 16 years have passed since we issued the previous volume, and that’s considerably longer than the Vietnam War itself lasted, but we feel “Stop the War” is every bit the equal of the two collections that preceded it.  Presented in loosely chronological sequence, the set contains many important musical statements on various aspects of the conflict, from shipping out to coming home. Even though it has been over for almost half a century, it’s still possible, through these songs, to sense the frustration, anger and sadness that many Americans felt towards a war that lasted far too long and claimed far too many lives on both sides. The vast majority of these tracks have not previously appeared on Kent, and several make their CD debut here. Annotated and illustrated as copiously you would expect a prestige Kent project to be, “Stop the War” is a fitting and forthright finale to a trilogy on which it has been extremely gratifying to work. Across three CDs, we have now brought you 74 significant musical comments on what is probably the most remembered and reviled conflict outside of the two World Wars. We are confident that demand and acclaim for this new volume will be as strong as it was for the previous two. (Ace)



Track lists

VA - A Soldier's Sad Story, Vietnam Through The Eyes Of Black America 1966-73 [2003]

01 Monitors Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam) 3:03

02 Players He'll Be Back 2:47

03 William Bell Marching Off To War 3:18

04 Eddy G Giles & The Jive Five While I'm Away (Baby Keep The Faith) 2:30

05 Big Amos Going To Vietnam 2:58

06 Mike Williams Lonely Soldier 2:56

07 Joe Tex I Believe I'm Gonna Make It 3:00

08 Johnny And Jon Christmas In Vietnam 3:05

09 Jimmy Holiday I'm Gonna Help Hurry My Brothers Home 3:00

10 James Carr Let's Face Facts 2:25

11 Zerben R.hicks & Dynamics Lights Out 2:53

12 Richard Barbary When Johnny Comes Marching Home 2:46

13 Tiny Watkins A Soldier's Sad Story 3:04

14 Emanuel Laskey A Letter From Vietnam 2:53

15 Gloria Edwards Something You Couldn't Write About 2:39

16 Mel & Tim Mail Call Time 3:16

17 O'jays There's Someone (Waiting Back Home) 2:30

18 Freda Payne Bring The Boys Home 3:31

19 Edwin Starr Stop The War Now 3:37

20 Whispers P.O.W. - M.I.A. 4:25

21 Carla Whitney War 2:51

22 Bill Withers I Can't Write Left Handed 6:34

23 Curtis Mayfield Back To The World 5:07

24 Swamp Dogg Sam Stone 4:01

VA - Does Anybody Know I'm Here, Vietnam Through the Eyes of Black America 1962-1972 [2005] (Mostly @ 192 Kbps)

01 Marvin Gaye Soldier's Plea 2:45

02 Brothers Of Soul Wait For Me 3:03

03 Velvelettes Your Heart Belongs To Me 2:55

04 William Bell Soldier's Goodbye 3:03

05 King Solomon Please Mr President 3:28

06 Charmels Please Uncle Sam (Send Back My Man) 2:33

07 Archie Bell & The Drells A Soldier's Prayer 1967 3:07

08 Tony Mason Take Good Care 2:38

09 J W Alexander Keep A Light In The Window Until I Come Home 2:54

10 Impressions Don't Cry My Love 3:03

11 Masters Of Soul Please Wait For Me (My Darling) 2:57

12 Thelma Houston Don't Cry My Soldier Boy 3:00

13 Temptations War 3:13

14 Sweet Inspirations Am I Ever Gonna See My Baby Again? 2:55

15 Watson And The Sherlocks Standing On The Corner 2:24

16 Dells Does Anybody Know I'm Here? 3:17

17 Melverine Thomas A Letter From My Son 5:03

18 Joe Tex I Can't See You No More 2:48

19 Inez & Charlie Foxx Medley: Vaya Con Dios / Fello 7:01

20 Roy C Open Letter To The President 3:11

21 Martha Reeves & The Vandellas I Should Be Proud 2:57

22 Bill Moss & The Celestials Welcome The Boys Back Home 3:23

23 Funkadelic March To The Witch's Castle 6:01

VA - Stop The War, Vietnam Through The Eyes Of Black America 1965-1974 [2021]

01 Allen Orange V.C. Blues 2:00

02 Artie Golden I'll Be Home 2:37

03 Chairmen Of The Board Men Are Getting Scarce 5:20

04 Charles Smith & Jeff Cooper Glad To Be Home 3:00

05 Dionne Warwick Say A Little Prayer [Alternate Mix] 3:04

06 Donald Jenkins Fighting For My Baby 3:12

07 Dr. William Truly, Jr. (The Two Wars Of) Old Black Joe 4:22

08 Jimmy Hughes Uncle Sam 2:29

09 Joe Medwick Letter To A Buddie 3:42

10 King Hannibal Johnny 3:10

11 Marvin Gaye I Want To Come Home For Christmas [Extended Version] 4:44

12 Michael Lizzmore Promise That You'll Wait 2:48

13 R.b. Greaves Home To Stay 2:55

14 Stu Gardner Leave Him Alone 2:53

15 Emotions Going On Strike 2:39

16 Fawns Wish You Were Here With Me 3:02

17 Impressions Stop The War 6:25

18 Mighty Hannibal Hymn No. 5 3:23

19 Pace Setters My Ship Is Coming In (Tomorrow) 2:30

20 Sensational Saints The War Is Over (My Brother) 3:17

21 Shirelles (Mama) My Soldier Boy Is Coming Home 2:37

22 Staple Singers John Brown 5:28

23 William Bell Lonely Solidier 3:59




  1. Replies
    1. Hi doors97426.
      Always good to keep them together.

  2. Excellent - Politic art at its best


    1. Thanks, Stephen.
      Great music can move everyone.

  3. It`s a shame that disc 2 is in such a low quality. Kindly re-rip it in 320 kbps if possible. Thanks in advance. - And thanks for sharing ...

    1. Hi Maren,
      You're welcome.
      I am sorry, that is all I have at the moment.
      I will definitely upgrade it If I get the chance.

  4. thank you B.B love all this mate

  5. What a great set of songs . Thank you for this. I am blown away most all of the time with the sheer quality of music you are filling my life with. i thought i knew a bit, but you shame me. Long may you continue.

    1. Thank you, andymann.
      I am happy to hear that you are enjoying what you find here.

  6. Just amazing, BB. As I said before, your site is just a remarkable history lesson.