Personnel: Joe McDonald (vocals, guitar); Peter Walsh (guitar); Gene Stuart (reeds); Barry Flast (keyboards, vocals); David Cohen (keyboards); David Hayes (bass, vocals); Mike Herbick (drums).
Additional personnel includes: Ian Carr (trumpet, flugelhorn); Bob Bertles (flute); Paul Buckmaster (cello); Neil Ardley (synthesizers).
A thematic record revolving around 12 anti-Vietnam War songs recorded by McDonald through the years and accompanied by a fleet of musicians. The blues figure in heavily: "Foreign Policy Blues" and "Mourning Blues" are standard-issue traditional form, but the latter is breathtaking in its emotional delivery. A re-recorded version of "I-Feel-Like-I'm Fixin'-To-Die Rag" takes a great song and makes it even better; "Kiss My Ass" is a bitter indictment disguised by a rollicking melody. McDonald's myopic tack has not served him commercially, but his remembrance of the pain of war for those who served and those at home has been an estimable, artistic raison d'etre for three decades (though the 27-minute instrumental "Vietnam Requiem Part I" might be an argument for overkill). ~ Denise Sullivan