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Top 30 Soldier Songs: #23 – “Still In Saigon (Live)” by The Charlie Daniels Band

November 12, 2008

Charlie Daniels Band - The Live Record

Charlie Daniels has always been considered one of the music industries most devoted Americans. In the 1980s his career with his band skyrocketed after the success of “Devil Went Down To Georgia”. He scored several pop hits including a tribute to Vietnamese veterans that hit #22 on the pop charts and was circulated as a country crossover hit without any chart success at all.

“Still In Saigon” took a controversial look at post-traumatic stress disorder faced by a veteran of the Vietnam War as he tries to recover from the things he has done and seen. Although the original single version, containing a more classical and youthful rendition from Charlie, is haunting in itself, it pails in comparison to Charlie’s live performance of the song on his live album. As the song begins he opens with an explanation of the negative treatment the veterans had coming home and dedicates the song to those who literally suffered for their suffering.

The character portrayed in the song is a former American soldier who recollects on his entry into America’s most controversial war and his unwelcome return home. He remembers how he was drafted willingly and sent to Saigon. When he returned home finally, he explains how he was greeted with mixed criticisms from even his own family for his service. These same people helped him realize how he was changing and as he returns to his presentstate he reveals that even today he is still drawn back to Saigon in his mind and the jungles of Vietnam through even the simplest of similarities he finds at home.

Charlie Daniels, a true American, took it upon himself to make sure the Vietnam veterans were spoken for in this war anthem. His live version is a true credit to his dedication to this country and the respect we should have for everyone who is willing to pay the price for us. Most important it draws upon post-traumatic stress and the struggle it can and has caused for war veterans. He shows that these people aren’t crazy, their poisoned with grief and anger for doing what they thought was right and in the end having nothing to show for it.

One Comment leave one →
  1. john barthold permalink
    November 22, 2008 11:44 pm

    lyrics ring true for my generation of vets….talked recently with partner about our reception to the world…this song speaks to that…

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