Various Artists

...Next Stop Is Vietnam: The War on Record 1961-2008

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AllMusic Review by

Bear Family is no stranger to ambitious box sets, but they’ve never attempted anything as monumental as ...Next Stop Is Vietnam: The War on Record 1961-2008, a staggering 13-disc aural history of the U.S. entanglement in 'Nam. The size of the set is suitably weighty for the topic, and the leisurely length allows explorations of plenty of curious detours -- left turns that wind up telling more about how the war cut into the fabric of American society than the well-known anthems that anchor this set. Many of the usual suspects surface -- Dylan setting the stage with “Masters of War,” SSgt. Barry Sadler celebrating “The Ballad of the Green Berets,” Phil Ochs refusing to march and the Fugs killing for peace, Country Joe & the Fish protesting with “I-Feel-Like-I’m Fixin-to-Die Rag” and John Lennon following suit with “Give Peace a Chance," Merle Haggard firing back with “Okie from Muskogee” and “The Fightin' Side of Me,” Marvin Gaye wondering “What’s Goin’ On” -- but their appearances almost feel like the historical context for what surrounds them, much like how the speeches and news reports scattered throughout the box explain the situation. What’s really interesting about the set is what exists in the margins, the answer records to these anthems, along with their parodies and rip-offs, the reactionary country singles from the late ‘60s, songs recorded by soldiers in the field, the many reflections on the war written in the ‘80s and ‘90s, the sticky sentimental recitations by children from the pre-protest ‘60s, folk laments to POWs sitting alongside an ode to “Johnny Rambo,” Bob Seger’s “The Ballad of the Yellow Berets,” even Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Don’t Give Us a Reason,” where he taunts Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm, all as a payback for 'Nam. Much of this is not well known and much of it isn’t exactly compelling outside of the context of this set -- and it has to be said that a handful of the 300-plus tracks aren’t interesting within this context either, particularly the odd inclusion of three 2001 cuts from Paul Revere & the Raiders -- but the whole point of ...Next Stop Is Vietnam is context, how by housing all these conflicting voices in one very heavy box, Bear Family winds up with a testament to how the war deeply affected Americans for generations. Not exactly easy listening -- nothing of this size is -- but it is a monument, capturing the entire, messy, divisive legacy of Vietnam in a way no book, documentary, or movie ever has.

Track Listing - Disc 1

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:24
2 02:43
3 02:45
4 03:43
5 02:10
6
03:30
7 02:28
8
00:26
9 04:34
10 02:55
11
00:45
12 02:34
13
01:30
14 01:47
15 03:23
16 03:38
17 02:18
18 02:15
19
Dee
02:31
20 02:40
21 02:20
22 03:06
23 03:35
24 03:28
25 03:00
26 03:06
27 02:05
28 03:12

Track Listing - Disc 2

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:19
2 02:27
3 02:26
4 03:10
5 02:10
6 03:27
7 02:14
8 02:05
9 02:31
10
02:35
11 02:21
12 02:09
13 02:09
14 02:33
15 03:07
16
02:24
17 02:42
18 03:08
19 02:14
20 03:34
21 02:43
22
00:16
23 02:56
24 03:18
25 02:06
26 07:30
27 02:58
28 01:17
29 02:38
30
00:19
31 02:48

Track Listing - Disc 3

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 04:10
2
02:08
3 03:22
4 02:42
5 02:41
6
00:28
7 02:53
8 04:25
9 02:32
10 02:59
11 02:12
12 02:27
13 03:05
14 02:40
15 02:40
16
00:42
17 03:20
18
00:31
19 03:14
20
00:32
21 04:10
22 02:57
23 02:55
24 02:41
25 03:09
26 03:03
27 02:40
28 02:46
29 02:00
30 03:16

Track Listing - Disc 4

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:34
2 03:27
3 03:43
4 02:11
5 03:47
6 03:15
7 02:57
8
00:37
9 03:13
10
00:42
11 03:55
12
00:24
13 01:46
14
00:57
15 03:50
16 03:33
17
01:01
18 02:30
19
00:53
20
01:26
21 03:03
22 03:46
23
00:20
24
00:46
25 03:57
26 03:25
27 03:32
28 02:58
29 05:12

Track Listing - Disc 5

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:29
2 02:38
3 02:57
4 03:02
5 01:53
6 02:20
7 02:59
8 02:26
9 05:47
10 02:31
11 02:16
12
00:15
13 02:37
14 04:39
15 04:47
16 02:58
17 02:14
18 02:11
19
01:01
20 02:44
21 02:45
22
00:56
23 02:20
24 02:55
25 02:37
26 03:45
27
01:15
28 03:50
29 03:51
30
00:39
31 03:15
32 02:34

Track Listing - Disc 6

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:25
2 03:22
3
00:30
4
03:45
5 02:36
6 02:46
7 03:29
8 03:06
9
00:37
10 03:14
11 03:11
12 03:18
13 03:12
14 03:06
15 02:58
16 02:52
17 03:37
18 03:16
19 02:24
20
00:53
21 03:13
22 03:00
23 02:43
24 04:53
25
00:57
26 02:35
27 03:11
28 02:56

Track Listing - Disc 7

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 02:26
2 04:30
3 02:31
4 02:34
5 03:01
6
04:24
7
03:26
8
00:27
9 00:50
10 01:44
11 02:53
12 02:05
13 02:25
14 03:27
15 02:58
16 01:57
17 02:10
18 04:13
19 03:13
20
02:52
21
00:21
22 04:08
23 03:24
24
00:38
25 03:29
26 02:59
27 03:44
28 01:57
29
03:32
30 03:12

Track Listing - Disc 8

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 04:23
2 04:53
3 03:47
4 05:06
5 04:12
6 01:06
7 02:40
8 02:44
9
03:03
10 04:50
11 02:38
12 03:58
13 03:35
14 04:02
15
00:58
16 03:18
17 03:56
18 02:18
19
00:19
20 02:49
21
00:35
22 02:16
23
00:42
24 03:20
25 02:28

Track Listing - Disc 9

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 03:16
2 03:05
3 03:25
4 04:19
5 03:59
6 02:50
7 04:24
8
01:18
9 03:01
10 04:17
11
01:55
12 02:55
13
02:59
14 02:47
15 04:23
16 04:54
17 02:57
18
00:22
19 02:57
20 02:28
21 03:43
22 04:10
23 03:09
24 03:53

Track Listing - Disc 14

Title/Composer Performer Time
1
blue highlight denotes track pick