Eugene Chadbourne

I Support the Troops and I Want My Money Back

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George W. Bush's policies after 9/11 have considerably inspired Eugene Chadbourne, but this sixth release in his series of post-9/11 protest albums runs thin on new material. There are only two fresh songs, "I Support the Troops and I Want My Money Back" (one of his best, lyric-wise) and "Dictator's Gazelle." They bookend a recently salvaged live set recorded at Links Hall, Chicago, in May 1990. One of the Doctor's aims with this series has been to illustrate that in U.S. politics, the more things change, the more they stay the same. This live solo set, replete with political apartes, could almost be from 2003 -- except that Jesse Helms has slipped away from the public eye. The sound quality is slightly weak and the recording occasionally breaks up, but the performance is first-rate Chadbourne. The set includes material from 69th Sinfunny and Chad-Born Again, plus several heartfelt country ballads and rewritten rock covers. Highlights include the ever-entertaining "KKKremlin," "10 Most Wanted List," and "Fried Chicken for Richard Speck," plus personal takes on Country Joe MacDonald's "I Feel Like I'm Fixin' to Die" (a song Chadbourne regularly updated, according to the war of the day) and Louis Armstrong's "Hello Dolly," rechristened "Hello Caecescu." Chadbourne is singing with approximate passion; he is witty, satirical, and quick to respond to the enthusiastic audience. These are all key elements to an exemplary solo concert by the Doctor. The House of Chadula catalog contains several performances of this kind and level, including Kill Eugene and Normalized. So I Support the Troops is not an essential item, but it makes a very good pick.