Under the Radar

Telling Soldier Stories



Bay-area folk and bluegrass performers are joining together for Soldier Stories: A Benefit Concert for Veterans on Veterans Day, November 11 at the Freight & Salvage Coffeehouse in Berkeley, CA.

Organized by performer Nell Robinson and featuring Jim Nunally, Keith Little, Joe Craven and Andrew Little, the concert is "benefit show to honor the service and sacrifice of veterans, and to raise funds and friends for veteran healthcare projects."

To promote the show, Nell has made a video for her recording of Bert Layne's "Forgotten Soldier Boy," a song closely associated with 1932's Bonus March on Washington. Organized by World War I veterans who believed they were being denied the benefits they'd been promised after the war, a group of 40,000 ended up camped on the Mall for almost six weeks before President Hoover ordered the Army to clear out the encampment. Chaos ensued, veterans were killed and massive press coverage probably contributed to Hoover's defeat in that fall's election.

Though the incident is almost completely forgotten today, memories of the Bonus Army were still pretty fresh when Congress passed the G.I. Bill at the end of World War II.

The song "Forgotten Solider" is almost as obscure today as the Bonus Army. Although Bill Monroe recorded an excellent version early in his career, somehow the activist folksingers of the 1960s forgot to include it in their Vietnam repertoire. Points to Nell for reviving the song. You can get a free song download of this recording on her site.

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