Mudcat Café message #2064174 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #31329   Message #2064174
Posted By: Rog Peek
30-May-07 - 01:23 PM
Thread Name: Vietnam era protest songs
Subject: RE: Vietnam era protest songs
Phil Ochs was uncompromising in his opposition to war, and in particular the Vietnam War and he wrote many songs which reinforced this opposition. One of my favourites is "White Boots Marching in a Yellow Land".

    E             C#m          A             E
The pilots playing poker in the cockpit of the plane
                C#m             A               F#m
The casualties are rising like the dropping of the rain
       E             C#m         A             B
And a mountain of machinery will fall before a man
               E    G#m A             B      E
When you're white boots marching in a yellow land

It's written in the ashes of the village towns we burn
It's written in the empty beds of fathers unreturned
And the chocolate in the childrens eyes will never understand
When you're white boots marching in a yellow land

C#m      
Red blow the bugles of the dawn
    B         
The morning has arrived you must be gone
       A                      B
And the lost patrol chase their chartered souls
    E                            D   
Like old whores following tired armies

Train them well, the men who will be fighting by your side
And never turn your back if the battle turns the tide
For the colours of a civil war are louder than command
When you're white boots marching in a yellow land

Blow them from the forest and burn them from your sight
Tie their hands behind their back and question through the night
But when the firing squad is ready they'll be spitting where they stand
At the white boots marching in a yellow land

Red blow the bugles of the dawn
The morning has arrived you must be gone
And the lost patrol chase their chartered souls
Like old whores following tired armies

The comic and the beauty queen are dancing on the stage
Raw recruits are lining up like coffins in a cage
Oh we're fighting in a war we lost before the war began
We're the white boots marching in a yellow land

And the lost patrol chase their chartered souls
like old whores following tired armies.

That's the version which can be found on "Tape from California"
(1968)and later included in "The War is Over - The Best of Phil Ochs" (1988).

I have a recording of Phil on wbai nyc 1965, singing an earlier version with no chorus:

The swamps are turning red along the fevered jungle days
Their casualties are counted in so many different ways
For the killing of a soldier is the murder of a man
When you're white boots marching in a yellow land

It's written in the ashes of the village towns we burn
It's written in the empty chairs of fathers unreturned
And the hatred in the children's eyes is clear to understand
When you're white boots marching in a yellow land

Flush them from the forest 'til you're sure they all are gone
Tie their hands behind their backs and question them 'til dawn
But when the firing squad is ready they'll be spitting where they stand
At the white boots marching in a yellow land

Helicopters hound the skies and circle in the night
And lead the boys to victory in a thousand little fights
But every battle won is just another grain of sand
When you're white boots marching in a yellow land

Oh the brave bombs of the wealthy will shatter as they shine
But the bloodiest of course can only buy a little time
And history is waiting for the very best of plans
By the white boots marching in a yellow land

Centuries of colonies of slavery and worse
Now lead us to a future of their past all in reverse
Yes we're fighting in a war we lost before that war began
For we're white boots marching in a yellow land.

Lyrics to most if not all Phils songs can be found here:
http://web.cecs.pdx.edu/~trent/ochs/lyrics.html