It seemed weird that I wanted to bring a record for Show and Tell. I can only guess that they played it during the class, and it must have been a regular thing people did, brought in a record (a record!).
Anyway, I just loved the song, by Bo Donaldson and the Heywoods. I still remember "Deeper and Deeper" was on the B-side (B-side!) and I didn't like that nearly so much.
As revealed yesterday with "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves," I looooved story songs. Still do. And "Billy" is a great one for a young kid to love. It's romantic and dramatic and sad all in one. She begs him not to go to war, and if he does, to stay out of the line of fire! And he says he would, but he LIES! He volunteers, full of vim and vigor and youthful bravery, for a dangerous mission, and blam, so much for that.
"I heard his fiancee got a letter / that told how Billy died that day / the letter said that he was a hero / she should be proud he died that way / I hear she threw the letter away." DAMN THAT'S SONGWRITING.
Here's what I just learned now: The song was about the CIVIL War. "The soldier blues" were the Union Army. WHAT WHAT WHAT? It was 1974, of course I (and pretty much everyone else, as is noted in Wikipedia) thought it was about the Vietnam War. Well, it was to us anyway, no matter what Bo D and the HWs had in mind. I actually had to relisten to the whole thing just now to make sure it matched up with an older war -- not only is there no mention of tanks or planes or anything, but the only real verb that could fit a time or place is "I need a volunteer to RIDE out." Which...I guess could mean horses, though at the time I guess I thought he was riding in a Jeep, or something.
Anyway. Loved this song. Love the whistle part. Love the sadness. Still love it. Don't necessarily love the band's matching clown suits, though.
What do you think? Ever bring a song for Show and Tell? Did you play 45s? What's the best war song?