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We are just beginning to get “Until You Come Home” out to press and reviewers. We will feature articles and reviews here as they become available. The first review comes from our friend Bartcop.

Until You Come Home

Until You Come Home: Songs for Veterans and Their Kin is a compilation of songs from various CDs, including Hail To The Thieves, reviewed here a while back. In the meantime, we lost Julius Margolin. George Mann continues the effort, fighting for the common man… and the soldier in the ranks.

Truth in reviewing: One of the reasons I can’t identify with the label “liberal” is because of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s Universal Soldier. Okay: If no one wanted to be a soldier, we wouldn’t have wars. I get it. You get it. Unfortunately, The Bad Guys don’t get it. You can convince us peace-loving Americans not to fight, but that leaves the Nazis/Viet Cong/al Queda/Hamas who want to kill us. Many of The Bad Guys would come here and massacre us in our sleep shouting “Death to America” convinced that they will be rewarded in the next life. Having a strong army necessary to a strong defense. Buffy was just wrong, and I had a visceral reaction against that aspect of the peace movement.

Yet one of the reasons I can’t identify with the label “conservative” is in the use of said army. The best way to keep the peace is to be prepared to win a war if it comes. Pre-emptive wars need a damn good justification, and wars of aggression are unAmerican. That puts the onus of avoiding wars on politicians and the burden of fighting unavoidable wars on soldiers… and sends the responsibility back to the political arena to end deadly conflicts. I have an equally visceral reaction against the gung-ho pseudo-American types who think that every political disagreement can and should be settled by force of arms. The height of this disgusting stupidity was Bush’s refusal to honor our fallen soldiers by showing their flag-draped caskets when they returned home. Thankfully, Obama has reversed that decision.

But I digress.

Until You Come Home is not anti-war; it is pro-soldier. By itself, a tremendous achievement. We don’t need songs to say that wars kill soldiers; we get it. We need reminding of the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers; sacrifices of blood, of identity, of family back home.

Even if you survive physically intact, the experience will change you in ways that are intensely personal and yet affect everyone you know.

The Casualty of War is not just the WWII vet, but his family: “They’d haunt his dreams, we’d wake to screams to know the horrors that he saw”. Holly Near sees how war causes “the burden in my family and the sorrow in my town” and says I Am Willing to see change: “May the children see more clearly and may the elders be more wise, may the winds of change caress us even though they burn our eyes.” Tom Paxton sings for the voiceless of The Unknown, as in The Unknown Soldier, watching people watching him be buried in Arlington. “Time to quit your grieving for your only loving son. Momma, I’m okay.”

George Mann gets the first and last songs. Streams of Gold. about the how all soldiers share their hopes in battle, “I will walk this trail beside you till you’re home.” In Welcome Home, an old soldier at least has the peace of dying in a hospital accompanied by loved ones: “What a life you have led, what a story you’ve told. Welcome home.”

You can preview the songs on Until You Come Home on CDBaby, but they deserve a full listen.

Until You Come Home: Songs for Veterans and Their Kin is from old lefties, but the the viewpoint is the soldiers. Highly recommended for anyone, regardless of politics, who appreciates our warriors or who has had their life changed by someone else’s battle experience.