Ballads From The Nam
Stand to Your Glasses
During my first tour in Nam (Aug. 67 - Aug. 68), open reel tape recorders/players were "the" thing. And they were cheap at the PX/BX s. Several tapes started circulating that were collections of songs recorded in various clubs throughout the Southeast Asia theater. These included bases in Vietnam, Thailand and Guam, among others. The tapes were basically the same, but different versions. Somebody would get a copy of the tape and add a song or two. And this "new" tape would move along, morphing as it went. My good friend, Gary "Doc" Heffner and I made copies of the one going around Co. "C" 5th SFG(A) in DaNang. Unfortunately, my copy was lost to time. Ever since I started re-connecting with old comrades, I’ve been asking about a copy of the tape. I finally was able to obtain copies of all the ones I had back then. (Recently, I obtained new, virtually pristine, copies of these ballads.)
However, the audio was very degraded. I used home sound engineering software to remove terrible hiss and further enhance the sound. I then made them into the music videos I’ve posted here.
This song, which has many versions and is known by many different titles is based upon a poem written by Francis Thompson (1808-42), a youthful junior official stationed in India. He published it in Calcutta in 1935, with the name "Indian Revelry." There is much folklore regarding the origins and adaptations of his poem. It has been sung to many melodies over the years. This version is significantly different than the original poem which repeats the phrase "stand to your glasses" many times.
I hope you enjoy these voices from the past.