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Vietnam: There and Back / Bio

A Memoir In Music By Two Who Were There

This CD was a long time coming — 43 years in fact.

It came about because a fellow Vietnam vet, Al Matschi, asked me if I ever planned to revisit the days I spent in '68 as a combat medic. I hadn’t seriously considered going there, because I was concerned about what I may find. I planted the seed in the parking area of my brain and left it there for six months.

After a lot of thought, I concluded the only way to approach my military experiences was through music. I approached Al Torsiello — the first guy I met in Vietnam, getting off of a chopper in February, 1968 — about co-writing some songs about our experiences there. He quickly agreed.

I discovered from Vietnam musicologist Hugo Keesing that to his knowledge, two army guys, serving side by side, in the same platoon, had never written about their experiences musically – in any war. I knew what we were about to do was very unique.

In November 2011, we began writing. The songs that had been hidden in our psyches for 43 years came pouring out. In short order it became very clear that we needed someone to polish our lyrics, so I turned to my songwriting partner Ricki E. Bellos, who quickly became engaged in the process.

Another motivation for producing this CD is to give back through veterans' organizations. Our first partnership is with Guitars for Vets, to whom we will be donating 10% of our proceeds.

You can download the digital CD or singles here on ReverbNation or on our website, at http://vietnamthereandback.com.

NEWS ALERT: Filmmaker Bill Dumas has produced a documentary about the 8,000 homeless veterans on the streets of LA called Duty, Honor, Country:  Betrayal. The backstory: Homeless advocates filed a class action suit against the VA, who are the caretakers of a 350-acre land parcel has outbuildings on the premises that could be used to house homeless vets, but is located near the very wealthy Brentwood neighborhood and other upscale commercial districts. The local residents have used their wealth, power and influence to stop improvements being made to the outbuilding because they don't want these veterans in their back yard.

Nobody Cared has been picked up for the documentary soundtrack, as have five songs from two of Ricki and Jim's other albums, AECOS and SECOS (available at stoneybeachmusic.com).

General Info

Band Members
Songwriters Jim Purtell, Al Torsiello & Ricki E. Bellos
Artist Name
Vietnam: There and Back
Home Page
Folk / Singer/Songwriter / Acoustic

Contact Info

Oshkosh, WI

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