Eli Radish

I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier

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I Didn't Raise My Boy to Be a Soldier probably seemed like a good idea at the time. It is a kind of concept album, ten songs dealing with war and the public's reaction to it, dating from the Civil War up through Vietnam, cut rock style and, more specifically, country-rock style. The selection ranges from "When Johnny Comes Marching Home," from the Civil War, to "The Ballad of the Green Berets" by Sgt. Barry Sadler and Robin Moore, representing Vietnam. In between, there are guitar-dominated versions of "Over There," "The White Cliffs of Dover," "When the Lights Go on Again (All Over the World)," "Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition," "Johnny Doughboy," and the title track, an anti-war anthem from World War I, all done loud but without a lot of finesse. Eli Radish, whoever they were (beyond Danny Sheridan), cut this record at the end of the '60s, at the height of the unrest over the Vietnam War. Roger Karshner chose to produce it, and Capitol released it, so somebody presumably had faith in it. The problem is that none of these guys are particularly good singers, based on the evidence presented here; they try very hard to sound like the Band, but they aren't a third as interesting as individual players or as an ensemble, and the material just doesn't function as a cohesive body of work, although some of the songs are good to hear, even in these unusual interpretations.

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