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Talking Vietnam Potluck Blues

Words and Music by Tom Paxton

When I landed in Vietnam,
I hardly got to see Saigon.
They shaped us up and called the roll,
And off we went on a long patrol.
Swattin' flies, swappin' lies,
Firing the odd shot here and there.

The captain called a halt that night
And we had chow by the pale moonlight.
A lovely dinner they planned for us
With a taste like a seat on a crosstown bus.
Some of the veterans left theirs in the cans
For the Viet Cong to find. . .
Deadlier than a land mine.

Well naturally somebody told a joke
And a couple of fellas began to smoke.
I took a whiff as a cloud rolled by
And my nose went up like an infield fly.
The captain, this blonde fella from Yale, said
"What's the matter with you, baby?"

Well, I may be crazy, but I think not.
I'd swear to God that I smell pot.
But who'd have pot in Vietnam?
He said, "What do you think you're sittin' on?"
These funny little plants, thousands of them.
Good God Almighty... Pastures of Plenty!

We all lit up and by and by
The whole platoon was flying high.
With a beautiful smile on the captain's face
He smelled like midnight on St. Mark's Place.
Cleaning his weapon, chanting the Hare Krishna.

The moment came as it comes to all,
When I had to answer nature's call.
I was stumbling around in a beautiful haze
When I met a little cat in black P.J.'s,
Rifle, ammo-belt, B.F. Goodrich sandals.
He looked up at me and said,
"Whatsa' matta wit-choo, baby?"

He said, "We're campin' down the pass
And smelled you people blowin' grass,
And since by the smell you're smokin' trash
I brought you a taste of a special stash
Straight from Uncle Ho's victory garden.
We call it Hanoi gold."

So his squad and my squad settled down
And passed some lovely stuff around.
All too soon it was time to go.
The captain got on the radio. . .
"Hello, headquarters. We have met the enemy
And they have been smashed!"

*** Note. Tom has recorded this several times and the exact lyrics have changed slightly each time. The version above is (except for the word "funny" in verse 4) from the music book "Tom Paxton Anthology" published in 1971.

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