Merle Haggard, Neil Young: Soldiering On | LikeTheDew.com
In a rather interesting analysis of the music of Merle Haggard and Neil Young, one finds many similar themes and odd juxtapositions. Maybe not so surprisingly, both Haggard's and Young's work reflect socio-political commentary for the ordinary people caught up in the machinery of the elite.
From Merle Haggard, Neil Young: Soldiering On | LikeTheDew.com by Jeff Cochran:
Neil Young, like Merle Haggard, has included social and political concerns in his songs in the four-plus decades of his recording career.
Both artists have taken on their concerns in subtle and direct ways.
In January 1970, Haggard released his love- it -or- leave- it anthem, “The Fightin’ Side of Me,” a bristly follow-up of sorts to his “Okie From Muskogee.” [It was] Haggard’s take on protesting the war, pacifism and draft-dodging.I hear people talkin’ bad
About the way we have to live here in this country
Harpin’ about the wars we fight
And gripin’ about the ways things oughta be
Four months later Neil Young wrote “Ohio,” a response to the killing of four students at Kent State University during a mass protest against the United States’ invasion of Cambodia which grew out of the Vietnam War. Young’s anger and sorrow over Kent State was as sure as the faith in the nation’s leadership that Haggard voiced in “The Fightin’ Side of Me.” For people who listened to both artists, the two songs indicated what a toll the fighting thousands of miles away was exacting on America.
As the article continues, Cochran brings in Neil Young's “Flags Of Freedom,” from the Living With War album and it's homage to Bob Dylan’s classic, “Chimes of Freedom”:
With this song, Neil Young isn’t running the country down as Haggard accused war protesters of doing in “The Fightin’ Side of Me.”
He’s reporting on what ‘s happening to people in the country; his observations are focused and they’re prayerful. He seems to care more for the people of the country than a young man, who during the Vietnam War cleverly managed to avoid the draft. That young man, Dick Cheney, commented on it some twenty years later, saying, “I had other priorities in the ’60s than military service.” The soldier marching off to war in “Flags of Freedom,” perhaps not thinking of the politics behind his service, had priorities as well: fulfill his obligation and come home alive.
And we're still living with war...
Complete blog Merle Haggard, Neil Young: Soldiering On | LikeTheDew.com by Jeff Cochran.