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Soldiersad

A Soldier's Sad Story: Vietnam Through The Eyes Of Black America 1966-73 is a compilation album released on the Kent label in the UK in 2003. As the title indicates, the collection explores the experience of the Vietnam war on the black population of the USA across 24 tracks of mostly soul songs. The tracks on the release address issues resulting from the conflict from the point of view of men serving in Vietnam, those they left behind at home and the often troubled post-war experiences of veterans.

In 2005 Kent issued a follow-up collection, 'Does Anybody Know I'm Here?' [1]

Reception By Peel

"An extraordinarily timely release... 24 tracks on there and almost all of them just stormers." (04 November 2003)

As the above quote suggests, Peel was hugely enthusiastic about the compilation.

Beginning with track one, he played the first sixteen tracks on the CD in order, airing one per night for five consecutive weeks with one final selection being played on 09 December 2003. Having inadvertently begun playing the O'Jays track instead of the intended Mel & Tim song that night, Peel announced that he would include the former in the following evening's show, where Underworld were his guests at Maida Vale. This didn't happen, and he did not play any more tracks from the album at all on his Radio 1 programme.

Peel repeatedly read out the catalogue number of the CD to encourage people to order a copy, on numerous occasions expressing the opinion that it would make an essential Christmas present [1]. As he admitted, his enthusiasm for the CD raised an eyebrow at home:

"This afternoon the Pig was slightly alarmed when she heard me on the phone quoting from memory the catalogue number for the Soldier's Sad Story LP - CDKEND226, I said - and she was quite impressed by that, but alarmed as I say, because I have no idea for example what my own mobile phone number is." (11 November 2003)

The subject matter of the compilation inevitably led him to draw comparisons to the conflict then raging in Iraq.

"I wonder whether in another thirty-five years time they'll be a comparable compilation LP about the Iraq war. I suspect probably not. I've not actually heard any records at all that were critical of it, although there must have been some somewhere." (04 December 2003 (Radio Eins))

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Footnotes
  1. For example, on 05 November 2003: "An LP which frankly you ought to get somebody to get you for Christmas, I think. Or possibly buy it yourself, distribute it amongst your friends.".