OH MY – look at this – Jessica Simpson and the 4Troops. This is just so typical, lots of “I support the troops” but when push comes to shove, who gets cut??? Could there be one less jiggle number from Blondie?
I was asked to review a book about a military musical group, 4Troops. It comes with a Bonus CD with two songs. The group is made up of 4 former soldiers, all OIF veterans. Biographies of the singers lead off the book, with most of the focus on military service and family. The young former Captain Melcher, is the daughter of a now retired General, and her sister – a West Point graduate, so she’s got that “family business” perspective and the elder statesman of the group, SSG Henry, retired from the Army after over 20 years. Sgt Jens was in for over 5 years, seems to have carried a guitar absolutely everywhere (the picture of him with the guitar over his back near the Hands of Victory in Baghdad is a standout) Sgt. Clemo is another Army brat and seems to have overcome some problems by joining up himself. He joined up – September 6, 2001. Timing!
The chapter on past entertainment was fascinating, including the army camp shows of the past, and one of my personal favorites, Irving Berlin’s This is the Army.
The book did hold a few surprises, especially when discussing how they chose the music for their CD. Did you know, they actually rewrote portions of Courtesy of the Red White and Blue to pasteurize them (with Toby Keith’s agreement). That takes guts. But it does point to something that I found by listening to the CD. The music is pleasant, trying very hard to be spiritual and comforting, while telling the story of soldiers and families, but I found it a little bland. Here’s to the Heroes is a real flagwaver, but painfully earnest. Since I only have these two songs to go by, I cannot say how they interpret some of their other songs. I particularly would love to hear their version of that great Jimmy Webb song, “Galveston”. Glen Campbell is a tough act to follow! Capt. Melcher, the female singer, has a lovely voice and I’d like to hear her version of Angel and SSG Henry – I think letting him let that big voice loose – that would be special.
The CD showed me pleasant voices, with some strength, and they do harmonize well, but I would love to hear something with more oomph to it, the selections were alright, but didn’t have any meat to them. I wish the book had a CD with a better selection! The book – a nice fan type book, with the little fillip of history on troop entertainment previously mentioned and the history of making their special and CD had some good “behind the scenes” information.