Cold War Countdown: Country Music Goes To War (1952-1972). 

Label: Omni Record Corpration

On the ’25th’ June 1950, North Korea invaded South Korea, and the Korean War lasted three years, one month and two days. The US Army arrived in early July 1950 and were involved right up until the end of the Korean War on the ’27th’ July 1953. Americans hoped that was the last war their troops would be involved in.

Sadly, that wasn’t the case and on the ‘1st’ November 1955, the Vietnam War began. This time around, America were on the side of South Vietnam in a bloody and brutal war would last nineteen years, five months, four  weeks and one day, and ended on the ’30th’ April 1975. 

By the end of the Vietnam War, the US Army had been at war for nearly twenty-three of the past twenty-five years. The two wars America had been involved in divided the nation, with those in favour of military intervention seeing themselves as patriots, while those in the peace corps were often labeled “pinkos,” “commies” and “traitors” by their critics. Often, families were divided, with generations disagreeing on America’s involvement in the two wars, especially during late-sixties when the peace movement was thriving.

The peace movement’s numbers grew as the casualties in Vietnam increased, and young American soldiers died fighting for their country in what was a brutal war, that deep down, many officers within the US knew that they couldn’t win. So did many back home, who joined the peace corps on a daily basis. They regularly clashed with those who were  pro war, and the two sides provided inspiration for authors, poets, songwriters and musicians during the fifties, sixties and seventies.

So many songs were written about war, that there’s been several compilations released, including Cold War Countdown: Country Music Goes To War (1952-1972) by the Omni Record Corporation for Record Store Day 2019. Cold War Countdown: Country Music Goes To War features sixteen tracks and there’s eight on side one which is entitled War, while side two is entitled Peace and also features eight tracks. These tracks to some extent, document the views of the American nation during a twenty year period.

Opening side one, War, is Moore and Napier’s God Please Protect America,  which gives way to Grandpa Jones’ defiant rendition of I’m No Communist. It’s joined by Art and Glenda Davis’ anti-Castro song The Bearded Bandit Of Cuba and American country and rockabilly musician Autry Inman’s Ballad Of Two Brothers. Closing side one is Red Castle’s Fall Out, which brings this War to a close.

Wanda Jackson and The Party Timers open side two Peace, with Little Boy Soldier, which is followed by Stringbean and His 5 String Banjo 1966 single Crazy Viet Nam War. It’s full of disbelief and even despair at what was happening in Vietnam. A familiar song is Ruby, Don’t Take Your Son to Town sung by Mel Tillis. Arlene Harden’s  released Congratulations (You Sure Made A Man Out Of Him) in 1971, while Marie Roberson’s The Patriot makes its debut on Cold War Countdown: Country Music Goes To War (1952-1972). Both tracks are anti-war, and so are the Jefferson County Bluegrass Boys’ The Craziest War Of The Universe and The Wilburn Brothers’ album closer The War Keeps Draggin’ They’re full of social comment and sung with passion, despair and sadness and are a thought-provoking way to end Cold War Countdown: Country Music Goes To War (1952-1972).

For anyone who is a fan of country music, then Cold War Countdown: Country Music Goes To War (1952-1972) will be of interest to them. This lovingly curated compilation was released for Record Store Day 2019, and is a limited edition of 500. There’s 250 pressed on black vinyl, and the other 250 were pressed on yellow vinyl. However, there’s not many copies still available. That is no surprise.

Cold War Countdown: Country Music Goes To War (1952-1972) eschews the familiar and finds the compilers digging deeper for hidden gems that have passed previous crate diggers and curators by. Having said that, there’s still songs by familiar faces and tracks that many country music fans will know. However, Cold War Countdown: Country Music Goes To War (1952-1972) which is a mixture of the new, familiar and  hidden gems, and is a compilation that will appeal to more than fans of country music, as it documents an important period in American history that divided a nation.

Cold War Countdown: Country Music Goes To War (1952-1972).

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