RVN Era Music and other tunes

It was the '60s and music was MORE important in Vietnam than "back in the USA", at least that's what I thought.  For most guys (and gals) in country, music came from the radio, Armed Forces radio.  I have no memory of listening to the radio, but probably did.

When passing through Okinawa to Chu Lai, I had seen an open-reel portable Akai recorder, the X-V.  After a short while in country, I asked Bob Fraser, a pilot going to Okinawa, to pick one up for me and it was shipped and received probably in July, 1969.  I still have it.

Most guys in the squadron had open-reel recorders because tape copies were made available through Special Services/PX.  There was a great office at MCAS Futema with a list of hundreds of albums that would be copied for you - bring in a blank tape and pay a small amount - $1 per tape or album, I can't remember.  When we moved from the Southeast Asia "hootches" to the air-conditioned Quonset huts, the tape collection started more seriously.   I focused on popular rock and my roommate, George Proudfoot, added some classical tapes.  My buddy from TBS, Jim Scott, had completed his RVN tour and sent me some tapes from San Diego.  All great!  And I still have all of the tapes!

We had live music in Chu Lai when touring (USO?) bands came to the officer's club.  I made audio tapes of two of these shows and have many photos of the performances.  Highlight of every show was a closing number - this is the original:

We Gotta Get Out of This Place

I'll listen to the "Clusters" audio tape and get part of it on this website. There is also a "Hello America" report on a Phantom in distress, narrated by George Proudfoot and Frank Hunsaker, to be posted eventually.

Hello America!

I cannot remember how or why it started, but on August 2, 1968, when a Phantom from VMFA-323 was reported to be circling the airstrip with a stuck landing gear, George Proudfoot, Frank Hunsaker and I headed towards the field with the Akai recorder and the ersatz "Hello America" radio show started.  This audio has been digitized and I can send a copy on request.

Hello America - George Proudfoot and Frank Hunsaker reporting live!

Flash forward 41 years.  When I saw Frank in December, 2009 (see below), I learned that he has a weekly jazz radio program in Portland and has been doing it for 10+ years!  Tune in KMHD Jazz Radio on Fridays, 6 to 10 am, and listen to "Isaac".  That's Frank!  Or call him on the station hotline, 503-445-1899.

Route 66 Music

In September 2009, squadron pilot Joe Garzik made his long-planned drive of the entire, old Route 66.  He invited me, Bob Schmitt, to join the tour and navigate the route.  We had one version of "Route 66" on my GPS and that is the classic by Nat King Cole.  While en route, a friend sent me another version by Asleep At The Wheel.  I later found these:



YouTube Video

Bobby Troup - the original!

Route 66

Route 66

Nat King Cole - the classic live! Route 66 Route 66
Nat King Cole - an album Route 66
Manhattan Transfer - 1981, live!

Route 66

Route 66

Chuck Berry - album Route 66 Route 66
Rolling Stones - album

Route 66

Route 66

Asleep At The Wheel - Equiblues France 2004 Route 66 Route 66

George Proudfoot's Memorial - A Re-mix

Traditional music was played during the memorial for George Proudfoot on December 12, 2009 at the Unity Church of the Triangle, Raleigh, NC.  Thoughtful and somber.  But George was not much like that most of the time I knew him:

It wasn't until I saw a documentary that included the last battle scene of Gunga Din and was inspired by regimental pipers playing "Will Ye No Come Back Again", a Scottish tune that suggests this is one great tune for George.  "Proudfoot", the name, is Scottish, not Native American! Here are three versions:

Gunga Din - the pipers lead into the final battle

Sarena Paton - Live performance with Massed Military Bands & Bag Pipes

Kevin Tyler - great acoustic version

Last Update: December 27, 2009