Early 70s Country Joe released a winning body of solo work: Thinking of Woody Guthrie, Tonight I'm Singing Just For You, Hold On It's Coming, Paris Sessions, conceptual each in their different ways. From this period, War War War coheres around Country Joe compositions based on poems of Robert "bard of the Yukon" W. Service (1874 - 1958). Service saw war as World War I red cross ambulance crew member; his poetry celebrates duty to country in war, and though often dwelling on personal sacrifice of the common soldier, is not out and out "anti-war" writing:
Yet may it not be, crime and war
But efforts misdirected are.
And if there's good in war and crime
There may be in my bits of rhyme,
My songs from out the slaughter mill:
So take or leave them as you will.
Room for ambiguity, focus on the human cost and it's not hard to see Service's appeal to Country Joe, whose commitment to supporting Vietnam veterans is unwavering. CJ: "Blaming soldiers for war is like blaming firefighters for fire."
So you'll live, you'll live, Young Fellow My Lad,
In the gleam of the evening star,
In the wood-note wild and the laugh of the child,
In all sweet things that are.
And you'll never die, my wonderful boy
While life is noble and true:
For all our beauty and hope and joy
We will owe to our lads like you.
All lyric poetry and much more at Country Joe's Place.
Dedicated to war-mongering lunkheads everywhere.
Oddi wrth y brawd
[Bonus Joe in Comments]