Last year Aussie hiphop band The Herd did a cover of Red Gum's 'I was Only 19" for Triple J'ssegement Like A Version. It warmed to me after a few listens. Even though i had not heard the original for years i could always quotes the lines
'And can you tell me, doctor, why I still can't get to sleep?
And why the Channel Seven chopper chills me to my feet?
And what's this rash that comes and goes, can you tell me what it means?
God help me, I was only nineteen'
Not that i have a clue about war but those lyrics conjour up alot of empathy and feelings. Thats the key to good song writing i guess, in very few words get your audience to feel for a situation or emotion that may be foreign to them.
I do like the original a little bit more, but i'm more a bush ballard gal than a hiphop one. Its gotten very popular and its great that John Schumann, who wrote it, is completely behind their version, (he sings towards the end of the video)
Last week on Hack (triple j's current affair slot), they did a story on the making of the video. Interviewing the band, the writer, Vietnam vets and children of those vets.
The shame that they were made to feel upon returning boggles the mind. I don't know anyone who went. My Dad, a fit young bushman volunteered twice but never went, which for his sake and ours i'm so very grateful for.
The video is pretty good, plays on the emotions but thats ok.