Monday, January 15, 2007


When one thinks of the music of Hawaiian lounge legend Don Ho, one thinks of tikis, cocktails..and Army boot camp. I know I do. So does the U.S. Army Airborne.

A marching cadence is the chant that the drill sergeant calls out when his troops are marching in formation. It's one of the last surviving examples of the work song, a type of folk music that typically featured a lead singer/chanter calling out the verses, with all the workers responding. It served the dual purpose of keeping workers locked into a rhythm (useful when breaking rocks, pounding railroad ties, hauling rope, etc.), and keeping everyone's mind off the drudgery.

Alas, sea-chanteys and the like have been rendered obsolete in this age of portable mass-media. And manual labor jobs are often done by machine nowadays. The military, however, does not allow iPods during boot camp marching. Consequently, there are whole albums of this stuff, and I like a surprising amount of it - it's got a nice shouty, heavy beat sound that works well alongside '80s Run-DMC or Beastie Boys.

U.S. Army Airborne: "Tiny Bubbles"

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