The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #58068   Message #1103739
Posted By: Joe Offer
28-Jan-04 - 04:19 PM
Thread Name: Lyr Add: Utah Phillips songs
Subject: ADD: Trooper's Lament (Utah Phillips)
This message from Mark Ross inspired me to transcribe the song. the tune sounds familiar, but I can't name it. It's from one of those songs with oaks and ashes in it, I think. On the other hand, maybe it's closer to Flyring Cloud, the tune used for Steve Goodman's Penny Evans. I'll gladly send a RealPlayer file to anybody who wants to listen and see if they can identify it.
-Joe Offer-

Trooper's Lament
(Bruce "Utah" Phillips)

I sailed from Seattle, far away from friends and home
Across the blue Pacific to the Land of Morning Calm
Here's a helmet and a rifle and your prophylactics, too
And as sure as I'm your captain, we will make a man of you.

The 105's were pounding, and their thunder shook the night;
I asked my bold commander, "Who am I here to fight?"
"It's the Slopes and the Slants, it's the Gooks and Chinks," said he,
And I wondered if their captain ever said the same of me.

I'd seen the mountain winter, where the air is cold and still;
But, oh, that frozen Chosun, it was a living hell
With the fever and the jaundice and a hundred kinds of mold,
We were slaughtered in our mummy bags by bayonets and cold.

And everywhere I traveled from the Gap at Kumari(?)
The Yong-San Reservation to the camps at Moonsanee (?)
From the golden plains of Inchon, my boots rotting on my feet,
All I heard were crying babies while their mothers walked the street.

We bought watches, we bought cameras, we bought whores, and we bought booze;
With the little barefoot beggars bending down to shine our shoes
We gave them back our candy, and to answer our desire,
Oh, we gave them round-eyed babies who died outside the wire.

I got off in Seattle, and I climbed on board a train,
I rode it through the mountains with a fever in my brain.
I could find no reason to remain here any more,
Oh, there was no sign around me of the life I'd lived before.

Then what's the pride in country if it robs a man of will?
What's the pride in manhood if a man will rape and kill?
And what's the pride in killing if the dead will rise gain?
Ah, but there's a pride in knowing that the enemy's within.

So, listen all you troopers, here's a lesson you should know,
From an older brownshoe soldier, who marched off long ago;
They will use your pride and passion for to settle all their fights.
Keep your pride in your trousers, and your captain in your sights.

Transcribed from the 1991 U.Utah Phillips I've Got to Know CD.
I still need help with the name of the tune, and with some of those Korean place names.