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"Your CD definitely nailed the experience. I have listened to it numerous times and for me some of the lyrics made me focus quite a bit ... i.e., "always out in the bush", "Chu Lai", "Que Son", "Claymore's", and, as you know "Medic". The fire on the opening of "Ambush" made me flinch and I was ready to hit the ground. Nobody Cared also hit home ... "came home a little bit broken'. For whatever reason my favorite was Monsoon Rain. I hope many will listen including family members of Vietnam combat vets and wish you the very best."

Rudy Cardin
Vietnam, 1968

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"I just listened to some of your music and found it very powerful, and like nothing I've ever heard before."

Ed Gray
Documentary Filmmaker

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"We have listened to the album and it's fantastic.We really like it! Would it be possible to schedule the interview sometime in September?"

Peter Kreten
Program Director
St. Xavier University

"While you guys went through all this, I was going to college and bowling every weekend. The war was something far away. I am truly sorry for not appreciating what you guys went through for us back here, just like you said in "Why Us." When I listened to the song about losing your childhood, I was tearing up because I was sad you had to go through that. Wow, what a difference in the lives we have led. Listening to your CD was something I will never forget … it was so very inspiring and eye-opening … even 40 years after it happened. I am so looking forward to listening again on my next driving trip alone, when I can really get into the songs. Again, thank you for all you guys did for us. I hope you can find some peace through your writing of this CD."

Mike P.
High-school friend

1. Reflections

2. Jody

3. Incoming

4. Why Us

5. Livin' in Fear

6. Pissin' 'n' Moanin'

7. Hill 352

8. Monsoon Rain

9. Shammers

10. Night Patrol

11. Ambush

12. Nobody Cared

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acknowledgement

The songs were recorded in Nashville by our friend Jon Statham, who so skillfully brought our songs to life. Jim Hendrick and Gary Shaw (from Appleton, WI) provided instrumentation and co-produced the CD. We’re indebted to both of them for their enthusiasm, dedication and professionalism.

I know I speak for Al in thanking Ricki for her contributions. Al and I told Ricki what it was like to live in Vietnam in the rainy monsoon season, then she retreated and wrote the lyrics to the enchanting Monsoon Rain. Ricki’s contributions are evident in every song.

Thanks to combat vets Dave Suehring and Terry Wetzel for help in keeping the lyrics real, and to Jim Hendrick and my sister Colleen Miller for the cover design. Thanks to Dave Collaton and Vietnam vet Rick Robinson from Ft. Myers Beach, FL who sang lead vocals on Ambush, Pissin' N' Moanin' and Jody.

Lastly, I want to thank Al for helping me tell our stories. Every word is the truth.

This CD was a long time coming 43 years in fact.

It came about because a fellow Vietnam vet, Al Matschi, asked me if I ever planned to revisit the days I spent in '68 as a combat medic. I hadn’t seriously considered going there, because I was concerned about what I may find. I planted the seed in the parking area of my brain and left it there for six months.

After a lot of thought, I concluded the only way to approach my military experiences was through music. I approached Al Torsiello — the first guy I met in Vietnam, getting off of a chopper in February, 1968 about co-writing some songs about our experiences there. He quickly agreed.

I discovered from Vietnam musicologist Hugo Keesing that to his knowledge, two army guys, serving side by side, in the same platoon, had never written about their experiences musically – in any war. I knew what we were about to do was very unique.

In November 2011, we began writing. The songs that had been hidden in our psyches for 43 years came pouring out. In short order it became very clear that we needed someone to polish our lyrics, so I turned to my songwriting partner Ricki E. Bellos, who quickly became engaged in the process.

Another motivation for producing this CD is to give back through veterans' organizations. Our first partnership is with Guitars for Vets, to whom we will be donating 10% of our proceeds.

If you would like to participate in our efforts, we encourage you to give any amount you can by clicking on the Donate button.

Thank you for helping our veterans!
(donations are tax-deductible)

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newsalert

Filmmaker Bill Dumas has produced a documentary about the 8,000 homeless veterans on the streets of LA called Duty, Honor, Country: Betrayal. A track from the Vietnam: There and Back CD, Nobody Cared, has been chosen for the soundtrack.

The backstory: Homeless advocates filed a class action suit against the VA, who are the caretakers of a 350-acre land parcel has outbuildings on the premises that could be used to house homeless vets, but is located near the very wealthy Brentwood neighborhood and other upscale commercial districts. The local residents have used their wealth, power and influence to stop improvements being made to the outbuilding because they don't want these veterans in their back yard.

In addition, five songs from two of Ricki and Jim's other albums, AECOS and SECOS (available here), have been chosen for the documentary's soundtrack.

Country Joe McDonald

countryjoe.com

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